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Here's some information from noted Rock historian, John Einarson concerning Paul coming to join Poco:
"The band was fortunate to recruit Paul Cotton almost immediately. Cotton had developed an early affinity for country music listening to Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins records as a youngster growing up near Chicago. By his teens he was playing guitar in local bands. As a member of the Illinois Speed Press, Cotton crossed paths with Poco on several occasions after witnessing their Troubadour debut. “I followed their career as close as I could,” notes Cotton. “Then I saw them open for the Who at the Hollywood Palladium, and they were as fresh as the first time I saw them. They were down to a foursome by then. The Speed Press opened for Poco once and I met them all in their dressing room. I was hoping something might click. After that my friend Peter Cetera from Chicago was taking a few steel guitar lessons from Rusty and Rusty mentioned that Jimmy might be leaving Poco, so Peter mentioned my name, knowing what a fan I was of the band and country rock in general. Richie called me in September 1970 and I went on tour with them, not playing but rooming with Jimmy. This was just before Deliverin’ was released. We were on tour in the east along the seaboard and I was hanging with Jimmy and he was teaching me the songs and the guitar licks. It was an odd situation easing another guy into a band. But Jimmy wanted to carry on with other projects.” “Paul would watch me play the show,” states Messina on the unusual arrangement integrated Cotton into the lineup, “and afterward we would take out our guitars and I’d show him the parts, what I was doing and how I approached it.” Notes Cotton, “Jimmy has a very distinctive guitar style. He could play two notes and you knew it was him. He used metal finger picks, which is where that sound he got came from. I could never get used to those picks, having been rockin’ and rollin’ for so long, so I adapted those songs without ‘em, they were wanting my style and tone by then anyway. So it worked out. The guitar lick on “You Better Think Twice” was the hardest thing I’ve ever learned to play. Of course he plays it like he’s falling off a log. I didn’t learn until years later that he used an open tuning on it.”

Paul’s career with Poco is well documented. You should try links to Poco

Following are a few small snippets & brief summation of Paul's career outside of Poco.

Paul appeared on one track (“Callin’ Atlanta”) on the self titled album by Gunhill Road. He played electric guitar. Also noteworthy is that George Grantham played drums on this track.
Paul and CeCe Bullard provide vocals for a demo track recorded by Rusty in Hollywood.
Some time after Poco recorded Inamorata in 1984 & then disbanded, Paul & Rusty moved to Nashville for a song writing stint. Through to 1988 Paul recorded at least 14 demos of his own compositions, mostly with Rusty. Jack Sundrud was also involved in many of these demos and a few compositions by Jack and Rusty were also recorded. He recorded six songs in Austin Texas with Merel Bregant, ex drummer with Loggins & Messina and guitarist extraordinaire John Inman of Jerry Jeff Walker Band along with Kyle Brock bassist with Eric Johnson.
1985 (Sessions involved Paul, Rusty, George & Jack)
At least four demos were recorded in Nashville, one by Paul, two by Jack and one by Rusty. Paul's song has not yet seen the light of day.
1986 (Sessions involved Paul, Rusty, Jack & a drum machine)
At least eight demos were recorded at Rusty's cabin. Two tracks was written by outside writers - Paul handled lead vocals on both of those and they have not been circulated as yet. Paul also contributed two of his own songs, Jack contribued one and Rusty three. One of Paul's songs has not yet been circulated and the other was "High Water" which appeared on "Changing Horses" in 1990 and has also circulated on the "Coast is Clear" boot. One of Rusty's songs was "Across a Painted Sky" which ended up on Paul's Firebird album in 2000.
Paul recorded three demos in Sarasota which are yet to be released or circulated.
Fall 1987
At least four demos of Paul's were recorded at Rusty's cabin. "One Long Last Look" appeared on the "Changing Horses" album. The other three tracks have been circulating among fans.
April 1988
At least four demos of Paul's were recorded in Nashville. All of these have circulated including "Sarasota on the Bay" (written by Earle Bud Lee).
"The more things change", a song written by Richard Feldman/Peter Beckett appears on the soundtrack “Staying together”. Paul provided vocals for this song.
Paul's excellent solo album “Changing Horses” is released. This album was being recorded at the same time as Poco’s Legacy album. Paul used the same drummer on his album as Poco used on Legacy!
September 1990
Paul had a brief reunion with Kal David when Kal was musical director at the China Club in LA. Paul's manager called to organise the debut of a song from his new CD “Changing Horses” at China Club, so Kal’s band learned Paul’s revamped version of "Heart of the Night", which they performed on the night as well as the Righteous Brothers' "My Babe", one that they used to do together in the 60's.

Following are a few of Paul’s solo gigs:

May 1990 , Whettstone, Park, Ohio , performed 10min set of solo material (bootleg tape of this performance by Don Emerick)
July 13 1990 , Ventura Theatre, Ventura,CA, Poco Reunion, came up on stage to sing Heart of the Night & Legend
September 1990 , China Club, Hollywood, CA, w/Kal David (see above)
October 19, 1990 , Ventura Theatre, Ventura,CA, w/ Leo Downey Band (Pauls band included Paul's son Chris Cotton as drummer, Charles Dufrene, guitar, Kim Cuda, sax, Joe Sublett, keyboards, Yale Bedee, Portia Griffin , guest vocals)
October 28, 1990 , Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, CA (was to be on October 18, 1990)
October 1990 , At My Place, Los Angeles,CA
July 20, 1991 , Miramar Theatre, San Clemente,CA

Paul handles lead vocals on the beautiful track “All I want” on the Peter White album “Excusez Moi”. Lyrics for "All I Want" were penned by Peter White & Rosetta Stone.
Paul recorded at least nine demo tracks for the proposed (but as yet unreleased) “When the Coast is Clear” album. Some of these tracks were recorded with Thom Landt at Merel Bregante's house. Most of these songs have circulated among fans. Mike botte, a long time friend of Thom Landts, got Paul & Thom started in his converted garage. Mike played a little bass and synth stuff. He also created the ocean sounds and bells using an emulator. He had just bought his recording gear which was 24 trk and 3 8 trk adats. Theylearned "on the fly" which took some time. Paul made about made 27 trips to san diego and Thom's studio in Escondido before they had all but 3 songs for the demo. Paul went to Merel Bregante's studio in Austin,tx for a month and that's where they did "lanikai", "high water" and "santiva". They used Charley Larkey (Carol King's ex) and Kyle Brock (Eric Johnson) for basses. John Inmon (jerry jeff walker) for lead guitar parts, of which they kept for the final product. Merel played drums and percussion. All those parts were redone in nashville in March except Inmons. They kept all of Thom Landt's parts and some of Paul's original licks & lead vocals were kept too.
March 1996
Assisted an artist by the name of Chris Wall.
October 1997
"Isle of Sirens" recorded for fun - San Juan Beach, Curacacao.
Paul helps friend Ron Marzilli record a demo album of Ron's songs. Ron co-wrote a number of the songs for the "Firebird" album. Records several original demos for a proposed musical.
March 1999
Paul records two new original songs for an Australian Wedding.
April 2000
Paul's first solo CD in 10 years, Firebird, is released
April 2005
"When the Coast is Clear" is finally officially released.
Paul leaves Poco and keeps writing and performing with the Paul Cotton Band.

Further links to Paul's musical history -

History main page--- Beginnings--- Capitols--- Mus-twangs--- Starfires--- Carol Vega & Trio--- Gentrys--- Rovin' Kind--- Rovin' Kind Gig Dates--- Illinois Speed Press--- Illinois Speed Press Gig Dates--- Poco & Beyond--- Joseph Schwantner--- Chuck Edelhofer--- Keith Anderson--- Gerald (Jerry) Urban--- Guy Franchot (Frenchy) Germany--- Walter (Buddy) Riley--- Johnny Jordan--- Johnny Moyer--- Carol Vega--- Johnny Moore--- Verne Johnson--- Frank Bartell (Bortoli)--- Mike Anthony (Harry Baikauskas)--- Fred Page (Pappalardo)--- Rob Lewine--- Bobby Simms--- Barney Pip--- John Uribe--- Kal David--- Jim Jarosz--- Ronnie Laas---

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