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Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen

Although renowned for its high-energy rock, the Detroit/Ann Arbor region also formed the focal point for this entertaining country-rock band. The first of several tempestuous line-ups was formed in 1967, comprised of Commander Cody (b. George Frayne IV, 19 July 1944, Boise City, Idaho, USA; piano), John Tichy (b. St. Louis, Missouri, USA; lead guitar), Steve Schwartz (guitar), Stephen Davis aka the West Virginia Creeper (bass) and Ralph Mallory (drums). Only Frayne, Tichy and Bolton remained with the group on their move to San Francisco the following year. The line-up was completed on the Airmen’s 1971 debut album, Lost In The Ozone, by Billy C. Farlowe (b. Decatur, Alabama, USA; vocals/harp), Andy Stein (b. 31 August 1948, New York, USA; fiddle/saxophone), Bill Kirchen (b. 29 January 1948, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; lead guitar), ‘Buffalo’ Bruce Barlow (b. 3 December 1948, Oxnard, California, USA; bass) and Lance Dickerson (b. 15 October 1948, Livonia, Michigan, USA, d. January 2004; drums). This earthy collection covered a wealth of material, including rockabilly, Western swing, country and jump R&B, a pattern sustained on several subsequent releases.



Despite achieving a US Top 10 single in 1972 with a cover version of the Johnny Bond country hit ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’, the band’s allure began to fade as their albums failed to capture an undoubted in-concert prowess. Although Live From Deep In The Heart Of Texas (1974) and We’ve Got A Live One Here (1976) redressed the balance, what once seemed so natural became increasingly laboured as individual members grew disillusioned, and their move to Warner Brothers Records was an unmitigated disaster (the band’s tribulations were chronicled in great detail in Geoffrey Stokes’ 1976 book Starmaking Machinery). John Tichy’s departure proved crucial and preceded an almost total desertion in 1976. The following year Cody released his first solo album, Midnight Man, before convening the New Commander Cody Band with Barlow and Black and recording two albums for Arista Records. During the 80s Cody periodically teamed up with Bill Kirchen’s Moonlighters and recorded a couple of low-key albums. Several albums of remixed 70s material were subsequently released on the Relix label, alongside sporadic new recordings. Cody continues to lead the Lost Planet Airmen and from time to time has reunited with the original line-up.
full bio

Comments

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Cmon pandora- you gotta add at least the album "Live from Armadillo Stomp"-- which is just some timeless big time fun and some really great tunes, not the crap that was popular on AM radio for a couple of months...
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Hi
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I ain't scared..the brakes are good and the tires fair..
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Foggy Mountain Breakdown.. is good too
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I always Play Johnny Cash....one piece at a time. after this
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Son..your gonna drive me ta drikin' if you don't quit driven that Hot Rod Lincoln..
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What about Hot Licks, Cold Steel, and Trucker's Favorites?
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Hot rod Lincoln. Great. Song
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Great ROCKERS!!!!! !
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had a few hand me down albums my sister gave me from C.C. ... Tales From, Lost In the Ozone among others. One of the albums had a song on it called 'New Mexico Rain'... found a few songs of the same name from similar artists but completely different melodies ... GRRrrrrrrrrr r r * * * * * ! ! !
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tml35
The're a whole lot of things I've never done but I never had too much fun!
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Greatest band to ever spill a 6 pack
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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
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dkwilkie8
Live at the Armadillo world headquarters a masterpiece! Got the vinyl and a CD.
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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.
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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
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grouchorules 2 0 1 2
Great song. Who's playing pedal steel?
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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
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Commander Cody, you are the man, man!!!
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Met and had my picture taken with Commander Cody at a festival in the poconos .
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riphillips3
f**k it good stuff
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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
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pamelaconner 3
1972 The Festival Of Hope. Roosevelt Raceway,Long Island NY.
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Such a sweet song.
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Michigan St Univ 1976 1/2 bottle of Jack, 2 splifs, No shoes, no money. Truck Stop Rock
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my fathers place roslyn ny
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sgwunder
OMG the memories.... . . .
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Boarding House, San Francisco, 1974 Best bar band ever.
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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.
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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!
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kaan52
brings back such great memories!
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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.
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WORD
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Oh man...the memories of being on shore duty and partying after any shift...with this music and others like it. dariendeb
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@ maryann. was that at skyriver? was there too....
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Saw the Commander live at Washougal in 1970? and fell in love!
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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.
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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
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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!
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Blackie Farrell wrote "Mama Hated Diesels", also "Sonora's Death Row", etc. etc....fine, fine, songwriter.. c h e c k him out.
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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.
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The Commander Rocks...alwa y s
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Billy Harreld turned me on to Live at the Armadilla,
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idahoinspect o r
love it
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hoodoo8us
Just saw the Commander earlier this year. He's still got it. Still doin' his classics. Still a real good time!
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jshcgardner
Great band. I remember seeing them in the mid 70's in central park, NYC. At their best when in concert!
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like this one used to listen to it a long time ago.
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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.
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I highly recomend this station if ya like good ol a** kickin country
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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.
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