FAME Review: Commander Cody & His Modern Day Airmen - Live from the Island
Commander Cody & His Modern Day Airmen - Live from the Island

Live from the Island

Commander Cody & His Modern Day Airmen

Woodstock Records - WR41

Available from Woodstock Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

When it comes to prime swing, Tex-Mex, boogie-woogie country rock, the name 'Commander Cody' pops up right beside Asleep at the Wheel and Dan Hicks, and anyone who titles his albums Hot Licks, Cold Steel & Truckers Favorites; Sleazy Roadside Stories; and Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers, well, he's giving you a pretty good idea of what's in store. The Commander has never been shy to extol the workaday virtues or kick up a party atmosphere, and, with Live from the Island, very little has changed, if anything. Oh yeah, the name's new - the 'Modern Day Airmen' instead of the 'Lost Planet Airmen'—but, other than that, this is the same George Frayne (his real name) who put out all those righteous LPs and CDs over the last four decades.

Cody's the only remaining founding member in the group nowadays (though Bill Kirchen dropped in for a guitar solo here on the opening cut), but the new crew's on the mark, oft reminiscent of Little Feat, dropping into the rhythm groove and keeping it kicking from start to finish. New axehandler Mark Emerick wields a fiery six-strings (sings too) and gets the crowd going on the solos, Professor Louie totes him a 'cordine and organ, and the Commander still plays the piano with gusto while singing with the usual country backroads grit and humor. Quite a few old favorites and standards crop up (see the list below), and of course the band's anthem, Lost in the Ozone Again finishes the set out.

You may not or may know that Frayne's a car aficionado and painter as well, combining the two in pieces that, for instance, adorn the cover of this disc, but were you aware he's also a cinematographer? Yep, and his Two Triple Cheese Side Order Fries is now in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent video archive. Not bad for a rockin' rollin' shitkickin' boy from Boise, now is it? He and the Airman are a few years separated from the old marathon concert days, and modern jam bands may wish to note that the Lost Planet crew could jump into a good meaty middle eight as well as anyone, but there's nary an inch between the quality and vigor then and now. Always a great rave-up get-down ensemble, one could choose to dance up a storm or drain a fifth, but, either way, a grand ol' time has always been guaranteed for all.

Track List:

  • Too Much Fun (Farlow / Kirchen / Frayne)
  • Riot in Cell Block #9 (Lieber / Stoller)
  • Oh Momma Momma (Frayne / Tichy)
  • Thanx A Lot Lone Rangers (George Frayne)
  • River City (Billy C. Farlow)
  • House Of Blue Lights (traditional)
  • Lightnin' Bar Blues (Hoyt Axton)
  • Rock That Boogie (Frayne / Farlow)
  • Hot Rod Lincoln (Ryan / Stevenson)
  • Beat Me Daddy, 8 to the Bar (traditional)
  • Lost In The Ozone Again (Farlow / Frayne)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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