Pure Prairie League
That old cowpoke “Sad Luke” is their mascot and their name comes from an obscure 19th century Temperance Union mentioned in the 1939 film Dodge City. Pure Prairie League is a distinctly American band, founded in Columbus, Ohio in the mid-1960s by a group of friends playing cover songs. The group played around Ohio for a year before earning a record contract with RCA Victor. In its fifth decade, the band continues to lead the way in country rock. As a reviewer wrote, “Pure Prairie League’s sound combines sweet memories with edgy, contemporary muscle. Their vocals are as strong as Kentucky moonshine and the musicianship and performance skills are as sharp as a straight razor.”
Pure Prairie League hit it big with its second album, 1972’s multi-platinum, Bustin’ Out. The Craig Fuller song, “Aime” has become a classic. With songs like “Two Lane Highway,” “Let Me Love You Tonight,” “Falling In and Out of Love,” and “Early Morning Riser,” Pure Prairie League stayed at the top through the 1970s and early 1980s. The group’s third album, Two Lane Highway, featured Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris and Johnny Gimble. They went on to record 10 albums, many reaching the charts.
Today, the band features founding member/pedal-steel innovator John David Call, veteran bassist Mike Reilly, propulsive drummer Scott Thompson and guitarist Donnie Clark. They continue to tour and bring fans the music they love.
“People come to hear the music the way it was played back then,” said Craig Fuller, the band’s founder, who occasionally tours with them. “We may have improved on fidelity, but when we do a song off one of our records, we do it just the way it was recorded.”
Perhaps the words of a reviewer from Country Music Online says it best: “PPL does what it’s always done: they remain true to themselves, creating a sound that doesn’t compromise their vision, yet manages to capture the ears of their adoring faithful ‘prairie dog’ fans, as well as a new legion of listeners. If there is a formula to PPL’s longevity and success that may very well be it.”
Whether you’re a prairie dog or a newcomer, you’ll love the sound of music played the way it used to be.