Biography by Richie Unterberger

The Poor [also known as Help The Poor] are one of those bands that keeps coming up in passing mentions in the back channels of 1960s Los Angeles rock history, though relatively few people have heard their records. They’re probably best known for the bigger bands that several members went on to after The Poor broke up, with Randy Meisner joining Poco and then The Eagles, and Allen Kemp and Pat Shanahan turning up in New Riders of the Purple Sage.

The Poor formed from the ashes of the Soul Survivors (no relation to the more famous Philadelphia band of “Expressway to Your Heart” fame), a Colorado group who’d cut a couple of fair garage-pop singles in 1965 and 1966. Kemp and Shanahan had been in the Soul Survivors, and teamed up with Randy Meisner and Randy Naylor in Los Angeles to form The Poor.

They had some big-name connections – they were managed by Charlie Greene and Brian Stone, who also handled Sonny & Cher and The Buffalo Springfield; their first three singles were produced by Barry Friedman, who also worked with the Springfield, Kaleidoscope, Paul Butterfield, and others around that time; and while most of their singles had original material, they also covered early tunes by Tom Shipley and Michael Brewer, of Brewer & Shipley. But none of their singles saw much action, with only Shipley’s “She’s Got the Time (She’s Got the Changes)” (also done by Brewer & Shipley) making the charts, and then only bubbling under at #133 at that. After The Poor split, Meisner, Kemp, and Shanahan all put in time with Rick Nelson‘s backing group, The Stone Canyon Band, before landing in their most famous bands.

Sonic Past Music brings you all of the recordings of The Poor on one disc.