Best songs of country-rock artists: Eagles, Poco, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Loggins & Messina, Marshall Tucker Band, Jimmy Buffett, John Denver

What is country rock? It might be the laidback feel, steel pedal guitar, other “traditional” instruments, rockabilly or bluegrass rhythm, or vocal inflection.

I like the country rock vibe, though I’m not a big bluegrass, rockabilly or roots fan. I enjoy the early Eagles brand of country rock, but not so much Poco’s early countrified sound. It’s my ears that pick out what floats by boat, or my yacht. Songs like “Amie,” The Devil Went Down to Georgia” or “Wildfire” are great examples of fine country rock.

Country rock is a broad genre, and I’m stretching it a bit to fit the artists that I am highlighting. I did not include the later Byrds, The Stone Canyon Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The First National Band or Riders of the Purple Sage because I couldn’t name 10 of their songs. Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton-John, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and other solo performers delved into country but you’ll have to wait for a later blog. I also drew a line and kept out most Southern Rock bands because they really didn’t a country component, they were more blues and boogie, fused with hard rock.

Country rock is what you tend to hear on the country charts today. Traditional country is more a sub-genre of country music. The artists below could be included in one or more other genre like yacht rock or Gulf and Western. In the 1970’s, these artists were on fire, charting hits and influencing younger bands.

I’m picking 10 songs from each band, not all hits, but showing the diversity from rock to pop to country flavor of each.

Eagles

The first band you think of when the term country rock is tossed out. The Eagles though, quickly adapted their sound toward more commercial vibes. The country rock was more image than sound.

One of These Nights

I Can’t Tell You Why

Take It Easy

Try and Love Again

Life in the Last Lane

Already Gone

Tequila Sunrise

Victim of Love

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Most of Us Are Sad

Poco

Maybe the most influential country rock band, though not nearly as successful as the Eagles. Poco never lost their roots, but found commercial success with a harder rock groove.

Friends in the Distance

Faith in the Family

Magnolia

Heart of the Night

Indian Summer

Let Me Turn Back to You

The Last Goodbye

Barbados

When it All Began

A Good Feeling to Know

Ozark Mountain Daredevils

From Missouri, this collection of country, rock, folk and bluegrass influences rolled together into a musical spliff. They did not downplay their rollicking country edge, at first. They had a few hits and then were instructed to tone it down and adapt to a more conventional pop-rock sound.

Jackie Blue

If You Want to Get to Heaven

You Made it Right

Country Girl

Spaceship Orion

If I Only Knew

You Know Like I Know

Following the Way That I Feel

Jump at the Chance

Oh Darlin’

Loggins & Messina

Laidback soft rock is the label usually thrust onto this duo. They used a country vibe, but didn’t depend on it. Yacht rock is another term used for their sound. They could kick it up, or lay it down. At times, they rocked hard, and ventured into longer, progressive songs. They used mandolin, violin, steel pedal, flute and horn instruments. Their sound could vary broadly depending on the tune.

Your Mama Don’t Dance

Watching the River Run

Danny’s Song

Movin’ On

Brighter Days

Time to Space

Angry Eyes

Thinking of You

Growin’

My Music

Marshall Tucker Band

Part Southern rock, part jazz rock, part country rock. A very eclectic band. How many country rock bands use a flute?

Fire On the Mountain

Heard it in a Love Song

Can’t You See

This Ol’ Cowboy

Searchin’ For a Rainbow

Take the Highway (instrumental)

In My Way

Now She’s Gone

24 Hours at a Time

Jimmy Buffett

Buffett started as a solo artist, who told stories, painted faraway places, looked at absurdities of life, and did so with a smooth and soothing vocal delivery. Down-home was further south, the Keys.

Pencil Thin Mustache

Come Monday

Margaritaville

A Pirate Looks at Forty

Livingston Saturday Night

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Son of a Son of a Sailor

Fins

Growing Older but Not Up

John Denver

John Denver was constantly reinventing himself; he was hard to categorize. Folk? Country? Pop? He did it all, though he will always be remembered as a country boy.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Annie’s Song

Take Me Hime, Country Roads

Rocky Mountain High

Thank God I’m a Country Boy

Sunshine On My Shoulders

You Fill Up My Senses

Fly Away

Calypso

The Eagle and the Hawk


One thought on “Best songs of country-rock artists: Eagles, Poco, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Loggins & Messina, Marshall Tucker Band, Jimmy Buffett, John Denver

  1. Nice picks, Mike. Some I definitely know better than others. I wouldn’t have thought of John Denver as country rock but more traditional country, folk and pop. But at the end of the day, there are only two genres that matter: Music that speaks to you and music that doesn’t grab you!

    Liked by 1 person

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