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Poker Flatts - 1977 Poker Flatts



ARTIST: Poker Flatts
ALBUM: Poker Flatts
LABEL: Stacked Deck Records
SERIAL: SD 278
YEAR: 1977

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Bill Studzinski - guitars, vocals * Paul Reynolds - guitars, mandolin, vocals * T.K. Wayland - drums, vocals * Tom Durso - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Lake Of Fire * 02 Country Life * 03 Vampire Blues * 04 Arizona * 05 Out Of The Fire * 06 Redneck Daughter * 07 Old Fashion Streak * 08 You Don't Know Me * 09 You Don't Know Me * 10 Heartsick Blues * 11 So Good


Background
Country rock fans get all warm and fuzzy over Poker Flatts eponymous 1977 debut which is apparently quite rare. I found a scratchy copy for fewer than 10 bucks not too long ago although I got lucky it seems and it definitely has an indie look about it with a two colour brown and beige cover. and a back sleeve photo showing three mustachioed long hairs and one serious looking hombre in a rather tight afro. Poker Flatts were from the prairies of Macomb, Illinois situated in the Western part of the state and the album was recorded in that bastion of Midwest rock in the 1970s - Champaign. (Not quite Starcastle huh?.. Ed). The band had an extensive following throughout Illinois and neighboring Iowa although this was their only release and the band split in the early 1980's.


The Songs
In the occasional Country rock mindset I can hear what the fuss is all about, unfortunately those with a liking for Firefall and the later Pure Prairie League albums might gripe a little as this has more of a down-home Country flavour than Rock or AOR but it's not without a few worthy moments. Not thrilled with opener 'Lake Of Fire' which sounds a lot like the tie-dyed Grateful Dead; a group I never cared for or 'got' other than their 'Terrapin Station' record but that's a story for another time and probably another web site! Much more palatable is 'Country Life' which features un-credited harmonica and sweet harmonies reminiscent of The Eagles and even Marshall Tucker Band. 'Out Of The Fire' runs a similar line although side two is awash with a lot of good pickin' but nothing of real substance or even close to what Glory Daze readers would be interested in with the exception of the mid-tempo closing track 'So Good'. Very reminiscent of 'Lost in a Dream'/'This Time We Mean It' era REO Speedwagon; it's Poker Flatts rockiest tune and hands-down winner.


In Summary
With scattered air play throughout the US and Canada as well as Europe; one wonders if Poker Flatts might of done better with a major label although bands of their ilk were a dime a dozen during this period as record buyers were moving away from the style in droves. As it stands Poker Flatts remains a sought after collectible but melodic fans should safely steer clear.


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