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Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen were equally adept at stripped-down basic rock & roll, R&B, and gritty country-rock. Commander Cody's country-rock rocked harder than the Eagles or Poco -- essentially, the group was a bar band. Much like English pub rock bands like Brinsley Schwarz and Ducks Deluxe, Commander Cody resisted the overblown and bombastic trends of early-'70s rock, preferring a basic no-frills approach. Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen never had the impact of the British pub rockers, yet their straightforward energy gave their records a distinguishing drive; they could play country, Western swing, rockabilly, and R&B, and it all sounded convincing.

The group originally formed in 1967 in Ann Arbor, MI. The original lineup included Commander Cody himself (born George Frayne IV; piano), John Tichy (lead guitar), Steve Schwartz (guitar), Steve Davis (aka the West Virginia Creeper; bass), and Ralph Mallory (drums). When the group relocated to San Francisco the following year, only Frayne, Bolton, and Tichy made the move; the group's membership had been bolstered to include Billy C. Farlow (vocals, harp), Andy Stein (fiddle, saxophone), guitarist Billy Kirchen, bassist "Buffalo" Bruce Barlow, and drummer Lance Dickerson for their 1971 debut album, Lost in the Ozone.

The following year the group scored a fluke Top Ten hit with "Hot Rod Lincoln," taken from their first album, Lost in the Ozone. Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen were never able to capitalize on the single's success, partially because their albums never completely captured their live energy. They continued to release albums until Tichy left the band in 1976. Commander Cody released his first solo album, Midnight Man, in 1977, then he re-formed the group as the Commander Cody Band. The group recorded three albums between 1977 and 1980. In 2009, after a 23-year hiatus, Commander Cody returned to the studio for Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers, a collection of new songs and classics from the Cody catalog. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Comments

II'm sure live at the Armadillo was awesome but I was lucky enough to see them warm up the Jefferson airplane at William & Mary Hall several times and they captured my attention, Down to stems & seeds again blues and Honey Suckle Honey with Commander on that grand piano with his longnecks and big ole ashstray sittin on top of it while he pounded the ivory was killer. Years later I went back to Wiliamsburg and went to see them in a small bar venue;we got there early and I looked over and at the
dkwilkie8
Live at the Armadillo world headquarters a masterpiece! Got the vinyl and a CD.
I was at the Armadillo the night they recorded the LP, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen Live at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin Texas. Why don't I see this in the band's bio? I still have a copy of the original LP which I purchased soon after its release.
I don't need no diamond ring
I don't need no Cadillac car,
I just wanna drink my Lone Star Beer
down at the Lightin' Bar
grouchorules 2 0 1 2
Great song. Who's playing pedal steel?
Went to the slippery noddle in INDLPS 20yrs ago found all the one way streets were going the wrong way had great time with commander glad the wife was DRIVING
Commander Cody, you are the man, man!!!
Met and had my picture taken with Commander Cody at a festival in the poconos .
riphillips3
f**k it good stuff
adding to the bio their great 2nd album Hot Licks Cold Steel and Truckers Favorites, which I personally think was their best, Country Casanova, Live Deep in the Heart of Texas and the fifth album which title escapes me but had a cool Flash Gordon kinda cover Also the Creeper was the steel player buffalo bruce barlow was on the bass Really miss these guys especially for what passes as a country music these days
pamelaconner 3
1972 The Festival Of Hope. Roosevelt Raceway,Long Island NY.
Such a sweet song.
Michigan St Univ 1976 1/2 bottle of Jack, 2 splifs, No shoes, no money. Truck Stop Rock
my fathers place roslyn ny
sgwunder
OMG the memories.... . . .
Boarding House, San Francisco, 1974 Best bar band ever.
milwaukeebas e b a l l
The Commander was my college art professor at UW-Oshkosh! Always playing boogie woogie down the hall in the music room in between classes. He went home to Michigan weekends to play gigs.
Saw the Commander and his Airman with a backup from Destroy all Monsters in 1975 at Dooley's bar (Michigan State ) both bands are native Ann Arboreans. what a show.. I still remember two triple cheese side order..and the cheezy video playing on the screen behind them!
kaan52
brings back such great memories!
Rather spare bio, guys. The man is a national treasure. Go to his web site, check out his art. See a more complete discography. Even there, no mention of his work with the New Riders of the Purple Sage though.
WORD
Oh man...the memories of being on shore duty and partying after any shift...with this music and others like it. dariendeb
@ maryann. was that at skyriver? was there too....
Saw the Commander live at Washougal in 1970? and fell in love!
Me and my friends from Napa California would drive up to the bay area to rock out to the old Commander. Great times. Driving back was always a challenge. My wife and I saw them at the Great American Music hall once and we sat next to Andy Stien at dinner before the show.
mcvootie
saw the commander and the lost planet airmen at like their last show at the port chester capital theatre 1975 $5 late show, bought the cd from the show recently it is like the last recorded show great band I was a senior in high school and loved their tongue in cheek humor
For an update taste, get Bill Kirchen doing the greatest ever version of Hot Rod Lincoln in too many styles to remember. Commander Cody to the Nth!
Blackie Farrell wrote "Mama Hated Diesels", also "Sonora's Death Row", etc. etc....fine, fine, songwriter.. c h e c k him out.
I guess "Mama Hated Diesels" and "Down to Seeds and Stems Again" are in a dead heat for saddest song ever written. The Commander will live forever.
The Commander Rocks...alwa y s
Billy Harreld turned me on to Live at the Armadilla,
idahoinspect o r
love it
hoodoo8us
Just saw the Commander earlier this year. He's still got it. Still doin' his classics. Still a real good time!
jshcgardner
Great band. I remember seeing them in the mid 70's in central park, NYC. At their best when in concert!
like this one used to listen to it a long time ago.
I love this band, but I remember hearing "Hot Rod Lincoln" before the "Lost in the Ozone" Album came out. Either I am crazy or it was out as a single in 1970. Listening to their music just turns the clock back for me, to a simpler time.
I highly recomend this station if ya like good ol a** kickin country
spiderjhn
Yes the did Momma hated diesels but not sure who wrote it. Down to Seeds and stems again and many others i recall. One I cant recall is about a lazy day and on the front porch swing. Have to dig out the old tape.
I have heard that the Hot Rod Lincoln guitar track (lead, rhythm and bass -- all together as one single track) was recorded in one take.
mrshunt1
Jeez, I know they have a bunch of great LPs--where are they!!
jmoon521
commander cody did a spot with the younder mountin string band as well, nothing like a good old crazy blue grass band
richherring
I've seen them open a show in Berkeley and one in Austin. They stole both shows!
seen them open for ZZtop in 74 i think was the secound concert at rhe new mcnicales staduiam in denver that has now been tore down for several years. what a great show.
catjacksun
best seen live !
The Ole Commander Rocks
Great reunion show on Prairie Home Companion archives
mafiahouse1
did this group sing a song back around 1973 smoke smoke smoke that cigarette
fred106
THESE GUYS ROCK!
Two Triple Cheese (side order of fries) , CLASSIC!
ya cant go wrong with the commander... l o v e the nrps too....genui n e music,great beat
Music you can't sit still to. Saw them in Berkeley many times with packed clubs so hot & wild I would sweat through my thick leather belt. Still have the albums in pristine condition. What a blast!
Just Beatiful,Sim p l e , D o w n to Earth Music!
been listening to the commander for long time.... i'm 57 years and still getting older.... looking for a copy of one called aces high... ny one know about it ??
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