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Pure Prairie League

Despite significant personnel changes, Pure Prairie League maintained itself as a successful country-rock band during the 1970s and early '80s, releasing ten albums and enjoying hits -- including "Amie" and "Let Me Love You Tonight" -- with different configurations of the group.

Pure Prairie League was formed in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969 by singer/songwriter/guitarist Craig Fuller (born July 18, 1949, in Portsmouth, Ohio), singer/guitarist George Powell, bass player Jim Lanham, and drummer Tom McGrail, who gave the band its name, which was the name of a women's temperance group in the 1939 Errol Flynn movie Dodge City. Pure Prairie League built up a following in Ohio, playing around Cincinnati for a year before earning a record contract with RCA Victor. By that time, McGrail had left and been replaced by Jim Caughlin, though Billy Hinds had also drummed with the band for a time. Adding steel guitar player John David Call, the group went into the studio and recorded its self-titled debut album, which was released in March 1972 with a cover depicting a Western character named Luke, an illustration drawn by famed naturalist painter Norman Rockwell that had first appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1927. Luke would turn up on all the band's subsequent album covers, giving them a distinctive visual conception.

Pure Prairie League did not sell well enough to reach the charts, and the group fragmented. Lanham, Caughlin, and Call left, and remaining members Fuller and Powell brought back Hinds, who in turn recruited a friend, keyboard player Michael Connor, to play on the second album, Bustin' Out, and subsequently become a full-fledged bandmember. Among the other session musicians on the album was David Bowie associate Mick Ronson, who played guitar and arranged the strings. Though later considered a landmark in country-rock, Bustin' Out initially suffered disappointing sales upon release in September 1972, and RCA dropped the group. But they added a second friend of Hinds', bassist Michael Reilly, and continued to play around the Midwest. During this period, Fuller encountered legal difficulties over his claim of conscientious objector status to avoid the draft, eventually serving two years in a hospital instead. (He was later pardoned by President Ford.) This forced him to leave the group, and he was replaced by Larry Goshorn. Call also rejoined.

In late 1974, Pure Prairie League's touring began to pay off as radio stations started playing "Amie," a song from Bustin' Out, leading RCA to issue the song as a single, reissue the album, and re-sign the band. Bustin' Out entered the charts in February 1975, nearly two and a half years after its release, and rose into the Top 40, eventually going gold. "Amie" charted in March 1975 and became a Top 40 hit. Of course, the song had been written and sung by Fuller, who was no longer in the band. (He would resurface in 1976 in the band American Flyer.) Instead, the sextet of Call, Connor, Goshorn, Hinds, Powell, and Reilly made Pure Prairie League's third album, Two Lane Highway, joined by the country stars Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris, and Johnny Gimble. It was released in the spring of 1975. The title track became a minor chart entry, and the album reached the Top 40.

Pure Prairie League's fourth album, If the Shoe Fits, was released in early 1976 and was another Top 40 hit, spawning a minor country chart entry in a cover of the Buddy Holly hit "That'll Be the Day." The band's fifth album, Dance, followed in the fall of 1976. It was a disappointing seller, only getting into the Top 100 of the pop charts, though it became Pure Prairie League's first album to reach the country charts. A similar level of success greeted the two-LP concert recording Live!! Takin' the Stage, released in the summer of 1977. After that album was released, Call left the band and was replaced by Goshorn's brother, Tim. Pure Prairie League's seventh album, Just Fly, was released in the spring of 1978 and was another modest seller.

At this point, the band fragmented again. The Goshorn brothers decamped to form their own band, and Powell retired to spend more time with his family, depriving the group of its last original member. The remaining trio of friends Hinds, Connor, and Reilly were left in possession of the band's name but in need of a new frontman. They held extensive auditions that resulted in the hiring of Vince Gill (born April 12, 1957, in Norman, Oklahoma) as lead singer and guitarist, followed by reeds player Patrick Bolin. This quintet released Pure Prairie League's eighth album, Can't Hold Back, in the spring of 1979. Its sales were disappointing, and the group left RCA and signed to Casablanca Records, a label better known for disco than country-rock. In early 1980, Bolin was replaced by Jeff Wilson, a singer and guitarist, and Pure Prairie League recorded its Casablanca debut, Firin' Up. The album was preceded by the single "Let Me Love You Tonight," which became a Top Ten hit, pulling Firin' Up into the Top 40 in the LP charts. A second single, "I'm Almost Ready," made the Top 40, and a third single, "I Can't Stop the Feelin'," also made the charts.

Pure Prairie League returned with its tenth album, Something in the Night, in the spring of 1981, prefaced by the single "Still Right Here in My Heart," which made the Top 40, followed by the chart entry "You're Mine Tonight." The album didn't do as well as its predecessor, but it did chart in the Top 100. Unfortunately, this marked the end of Pure Prairie League's national prominence, as Casablanca went bankrupt and Gill left the band, eventually becoming a successful country solo artist. Songwriter Gary Burr became the lead singer in 1982, remaining until 1985, when Fuller rejoined, remaining until 1987 and then moving on to the re-formed Little Feat, where he replaced the late Lowell George. At that point, Pure Prairie League dissolved.

In 1998, however, Reilly and Fuller launched a new edition of the band. The lineup also included Connor, Rick Schell, Fats Kaplan, and Curtis Wright. This version of the group began work on a new album in 2002, but abandoned the sessions. Connor passed in the fall of 2004 after a long struggle with cancer. With a lineup of Fuller, Reilly, Schell, Wright and Kaplan, Pure Prairie League released a new album, All in Good Time, in the fall of 2005 on the tiny Drifter's Church imprint. The band continued to do shows in various configurations, settling on a lineup, as of 2012, of John David Call, Mike Reilly, Scott Thompson, and Donnie Lee Clark. ~ William Ruhlmann
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: All In Good Time

1. Getting Over You

2. Don't Go Confessing Your Love

3. Walking In My Sleep

4. Nothing Like The Lonely

5. Here Tomorrow, Gone Today

6. Meant To Be

7. That Changes Everything Again

8. One Of Those Things

9. I Sure Do Miss You Now

10. Cajun Girl

11. The Cost Of Doing Business

12. If You Could Say What I'm Thinking

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

1. Tears

2. You're Between Me

3. It's All On Me

4. Woman

5. Falling In And Out Love

6. Amie

7. Jazzman

8. Early Morning Riser

9. Angel #9

10. Boulder Skies

11. Call me, Tell Me

12. Angel

13. She Darked The Sun

14. Just Can't Believe It

15. Two Lane Highway

16. That'll Be The Day

17. Goin' Home

x

Track List: Best Of Pure Prairie League

1. Amie

2. Falling In And Out Of Love

3. That'll Be The Day

4. Two Lane Highway

5. Let Me Love You Tonight

6. I'm Almost Ready

7. I Can't Stop This Feelin'

8. Still Right Here In My Heart

9. You're Mine Tonight

10. I'll Be Damned

11. Don't Keep Me Hangin'

12. Something In The Night

13. Janny Lou

14. Tell Me One More Time

x

Track List: Firin' Up

1. I'm Almost Ready

2. Give It Up

3. Too Many Heartaches In Paradise

4. She's All Mine

5. You're My True Love

6. Let Me Love You Tonight

7. I Can't Stop This Feelin'

8. Lifetime Of Nighttime

9. I'll Be Damned

10. Janny Lou

x

Track List: Bustin' Out

1. Jazzman

2. Angel #9

3. Leave My Heart Alone

4. Early Morning Riser

5. Falling In And Out Of Love

6. Amie

7. Boulder Skies

8. Angel

9. Call Me, Tell Me

Comments

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Nudnik
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❤❤❤❤❤
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paul_dmartin
Oh yeah. Good times around the camp fire. You with me?
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dropper14
Fallin in and out of love with you....Don't know what I'm gonna do...Gotta a few kisses my Freshman year in college with Bustin Out playing on the 8 Track in the car. God I love life!!!
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sandymcleod1 7 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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I was told that Amie was written about Amie Banta from Cincinnati.
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"Amie" has always been one of my favorite songs of all time. Every time I hear it, I just stop whatever I'm doing and listen. Saw them in Houston back in the early 80's. Got to meet some of the band members after the show. Nice bunch of guys!
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They opened for kiss back when i was a young un and Vince Gill got tired of some of the hecklers so he turned, dropped his pants, and said yall can KISS my a**. Lmao
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Brings back lots of GREAT MEMORIES!
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julieandaime e
Named by daughter after this song!
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Amie what a tune in the best times of life
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I can' t stop singing this song when hearing it.......... . . . . WOW!
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All In Good Time is a great album.
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See how people don't no me sure like lies about me see how my family not all treated me don't talk to them no more locals see what stick up for want see even the rich poor i want make all rich
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nwmbtc
GmanC! Comments:
Best kept secret in the entire prairie.
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You're Between Me: OMG. HE WAS SINGING ABOUT SITTING ON THE KINGS RIVER WHICH IS IN THE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY IN CALIFORNIA.. Y O O O . I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley until my teen years, then we moved to Ventura County.
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juparkerme
I think Vince Gill came along after Amie was written-don' t think it's about Amy Grant
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ive died and gone to music heaven !!! im in it for the lawng hawl !!!
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1978 Dallas Texas Goodwill concert two cans of food to get in these guys blew me away with 125,000 people there great time
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dmcgowan6910
Two Lane Highway is one of their best!
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They did make more music, it just didn't chart.
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Love ya girl
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murf.bballre f
wish bands like this had made more music
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Das rasis...
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The old cowboy on all the album covers looks like my Great Grandpa except he was an Italian Organ Grinder with a monkey and not a cowboy
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Pure Prairie League, nice. Another cols Ohio Band.
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Everybody sing, Amie, what you wanna do. Great song.
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Love this song! Maybe cause I'm her...
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t_heath
Great, great song.....met my wife to be when this song was really popular....U n c l e Charlie's, Edinboro, PA
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Cool
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Amie, has got to be their best, to me that is! ☺��
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BUCKEYE BAND. Col. OHIO
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Saw these guys at a goodwill concert n Dallas over 100,000 came not bad for a free concert
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Good song by pure prairie league amie
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J.D. Blackfoot!
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It's about Amy Grant the woman he later married.(lea d singer Vince Gill).
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Should change the name to Dorothy but missing my gog!
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Great song great memories
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what is the background info of this lass Amie?? my name is Amy and i get a kick outta this song . Anyone? i do love this song
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I like this song
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My sisters name
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As a kid who grew up in little ole Chillicothe, these guys were and are famous to us. Thank you for all of the memories and playing such a pivotal role in the launch of County-Rock.
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rraubdds
Trinigurl: I'm sure you can report comments as abusive but it may also be construed as an infringement on free speech. Maybe someday jbryne70 will finally grow up or his comment will come to real life reality on himself when he's in prison with Bubba
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Why doesn't Pandora allow you to report disgusting comments?
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martyl0202
OMG, how about the rhythm guitar on 2 lane hwy. What a powerful song. Thanks Vince!!!
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Every Amie that I ever met was named after this song!
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Seen them at LEGEND VALLEY with Outlaws, Molly Hatchet, and Allman Bros ..in 80 I think.
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They were from Ohio.
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I like the guy to love the mcuie
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Love these guys!
Show more

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