Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Relix’s Best of Commander Cody

Kurt Wolff

By Kurt Wolff

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Relix's Best of Commander Cody

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

The Lost Planet Airmen were a loose, lively, fun-loving bunch, a pioneering country-rock act during the early '70s. Centered around pianist Cody (aka George Frayne) and featuring hot pickers like Bill Kirchen, John Tichy and the West Virginia Creeper (Don Bolton), they wowed hippies from California to Texas with an untamed repertoire of honky-tonk, western swing, rock & roll and boogie-woogie standards. Mixed in were novelties like "Hot Rod Lincoln" (their only radio hit) and that droopy-eyed stoner chestnut, "Seeds and Stems Blues." Their rollicking attitude is all over this album, which gathers songs from their three Relix releases — live recordings from 1973 (in Austin) and '75 (a New York radio appearance), and less-vital but still fun late-'80s studio material like the Cold War rocker "Joint Chiefs of Staff." It's not just a random mish-mash — it moves well and feels cohesive, in the process covering some excellent material like "Lincoln," "Seeds and Stems" and "What Made Milwaukee Famous," most of them played by classic Airmen lineups. Every track exhales hazy, humid good times from these masters of the cosmic cowboy way.