The Poor (Randy Meisner, top)
Listen/Download – The Poor – She’s Got the Time (She’s Got the Changes)
I hope the new week finds you well.
The tune I bring you today is one of the happy by-products of walking around with a big juicy brain that sucks up facts like so much pocket lint.
Having spent most of my life as a music-obsessive and voracious reader, and often compelled to drill things down to their factual essence, at some point in the distant past I discovered that Randy Meisner (of the Eagles, Poco and Rick Nelson’s country-rock era) had gotten his start in a band called the Poor.
I’d never heard anything by the group, but I did know they fell well within the 1960s segment of the timeline.
When I was out digging earlier this year, that I had that fact filed away served me well when I found two singles by the Poor at a record show. Neither of them was expensive, so I tossed them on the keeper pile and took them home with me.
When they finally found their way onto the turntable and under a needle, I knew that I’d have to spend the rest of the day pampering my brain for serving me so well (perhaps some nice oily fish or a difficult crossword puzzle??).
I spend a lot of time in this space rattling on about the utter perfection of the mid 60s Sunset Strip vibe, with the jangle, and the granny glasses, and the onrush of psychedelia all wrapped in the brilliant pop hooks (since sunny southern Cal was bursting with talent), and when the old turntable started to release the sounds of ‘She’s Got the Time (She’s Got the Changes)’ I knew that I’d hit a big, fat bullseye.
The Poor were rooted in a few different bands in Meisner’s native Nebraska and Colorado. They relocated to LA in 1966, recording a number of 45s for York, Decca and Loma records.
Now aside from the unspeakable wonderfulness of this record, the really interesting thing for me is the involvement of (Michael) Brewer and (Tom) Shipley in the whole SoCal, folk rock jingle jangle scene.
Know mostly for their 1971 hit ‘One Toke Over the Line’, Brewer and Shipley years before that writing and recording their songs, and having the same songs covered by a number of artists.
I became aware of their songwriting when I discovered that one of my favorite Nitty Gritty Dirt Band tunes, ‘Truly Right’ had been written by Brewer and recorded by the duo on an album I would later track down, ‘Brewer and Shipley: Down In LA’ (which I’ll post some songs from in the not too distant future).
The duo also recorded their own version of ‘She’s Got the Time (She’s Got the Changes)’ (written by Shipley), which though excellent pales in comparison to the cover by the Poor*.
I am 100% serious when I tell you that this 45 (the one I have is a one-sided promo) is absolute Sunset Strip, Technicolor, pop perfection.
Like the best examples of that era, ‘She’s Got the Time (She’s Got the Changes)’ is pop, folk rock, ever so vaguely psychedelic (in lyric and sound) and bears the mark of the kind of forward moving musical innovation that was verily exploding in Los Angeles. Naturally it also includes the bright, high harmonies for which Meisner would become famous.
When the piano solo (sounding like they hung a mike inside a slightly out of tune baby grand) comes in, it tweaks your head and ears just enough to let you know that if the song itself wasn’t about drugs, psychedelics (in varying degrees) were certainly floating in the periphery.
If there’s anything at all wrong with this record, it’s that it’s less than two minutes long. It lasts long enough so that if you close your eyes and fire up your imagination you’re right there, loitering in front of Ben Franks with the band, but you’re pulled from your reverie before you know it.
‘She’s Got the Time (She’s Got the Changes)’ was a regional hit in the band’s native Denver in the spring of 1967.
I hope you dig this tune as much as I do (which is, obviously, a LOT).
*The other incredible Poor 45 I picked up that day is a tune called ‘Feelin’ Down’, written by Michael Brewer