Pure Prairie League

Pure Prairie League

Their rich history goes back to 1969 in the Southern Ohio area
where a group of young musicians initially played cover tunes at
local bars. Original member Craig Fuller and early member
George Powell were beginning to stir their song writing abilities
around the time original drummer Tom McGail happened to
catch a late night 1939 Errol Flyn flick called Dodge City. The
movie's Pure Prairie League was the woman's temperance union
attempting to clean up Kansas' most lawless town.
RCA signed Pure Prairie League after seeing them play in
Cleveland, Ohio. The first album was released the following year.
The most memorable thing about it was the Norman Rockwell
cover from a 1927 Saturday Evening Post cover, " recalls Mike

His (Reilly's) first gig with the band was on Labor Day 1972
thanks to member Mike Connor with whom he had worked
previously. PPL's second album, Bustin' Out was finished and
they hit the road to promote the music. In February, 1973,
however, Fuller received Uncle Sam's summons to go to Vietnam
Nam. He applied for conscientious objector status and ended up
doing alternative service in a hospital in Covington, KY. The
band was dropped from RCA soon after. "The band was
struggling at that point and we eventually parted ways", recalls
Fuller. "Even though Craig was the main founder of the three
original members", says Reilly, "Craig saw that we picked up the
torch and continued with it." Incredibly, college stations
continued to play cuts from Bustin' Out until RCA was forced to
seek out the group's whereabouts. Re-signed in 1975, the band
recorded Two Lane Highway. While they were in the studio, RCA
released "Amie" from Bustin' Out as a single which has endured
as a classic, being played constantly still today.
The changing musical times made it difficult for PPL to continue
creating its same sound. As Disco dominated the airwaves, the
band became aware that it too, had to make some alterations.
Someone auditioning for the spot of the departing Gorshorn
brothers brought along a young man named Vince Gill. He hadn't
intended on trying out for the band, but after jamming for the
band, they offered him the job on the spot. "We had seen him
play in 1976 when the band he was playing with opened up for
us in Oklahoma City", remarks Reilly. "We offered him the gig
then, but he said, 'Oh no, I'm playing bluegrass.' Two years later
he came to Los Angeles with Byron Berline and Sundance and
after we jammed again for a few hours, we offered him the job
again and he accepted".

For their final RCA offering n 1978, Can't Hold Back, Gill, along
with the other new member, Patrick Bolin, wrote more rock
influenced country material and they added saxophone to the
tracks instead of pedal steal guitar. Although it seemed to be an
odd pairing, Casablanca signed the group and they enjoyed their
biggest success with Firin' Up's first single "Let Me Love You
Tonight," reaching No. 7 on the Pop Charts and No. 1 on the
Adult Contemporary Charts. Personnel changes at Casablanca
resulted in the loss of their deal once again and Gill departed
after three albums in as many years. Reunited to treat us to
music that sounds as good today as it did when they first
performed, PPL is touring and enjoying every minute of it. PPL
has been playing true to its original form. "People come to hear
the music the way it was played back then," Fuller asserts. "We
may have improved upon the fidelity, but when we do a song off
one of our records, we do it just like it was recorded." PPL in the
new millennium may be a curious prospect to band members,
but the bands longevity is a testament of the timelessness of
the music. As they write for a new project, they've returned to
their roots and it's no surprise that after all these years their
sound is what Country Radio is about, proving good music is
good music no matter when it's made or played--and you can go
home again.



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Pure Prairie League

Sunday, August 4 · Doors 7:00 PM at StageOne