I was thrilled when I heard Commander Cody and his band had been signed to Blind Pig Records and would be recording a new album. After all, I have been a Cody fan for many a year. The new album is quite good, although I do harbor a few minor complaints, such as the unfortunate title Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers, which strikes me as a bit negative and really doesn’t fit with the really cool “home cooking” art work” on the cover.
Most all these songs are retoolings of classic Lost Planet Airmen songs, which is okay, but I always felt like you should only rework your old songs of you think you can make them better. In my opinion, the original tunes, most of which were sung by Billy C. Farlow, are a bit watered down with George “Commander Cody” Frayne singing, and he sings them all except for two tunes.
Now that I have bitched about it, allow me to say that there are some really good songs here too, like the rocking “Lone Ranger” and “Stealin’ at the Seven Eleven,” which features some guitar licks from Mark Emerick reminiscent of Duane Allman. In fact, another of the better remakes, “Semi Truck,” finds Emerick on lead vocal and sounding strong.
“They Kicked Me Out of The Band” has always been a Frayne tune, and sounds good as ever here. It was interesting that Cody chose to cover Hoyt Axton’s “No No Song,” which I always loved hearing Axton do. Heck, I liked Ringo’s version too, and while Cody does an okay job, I would have preferred to hear some new songs, ya know?
The biggest problem here is what was done with one of the band’s biggest hits.”Down To Seeds and Stems” was a great Farlow song, and Cody himself does a very admirable job of it live, but for some reason they chose to turn the vocal over to some unknown twenty-something girl. What? She has a nice enough voice, but it’s obvious she is not feeling the lyrics. How could she? They really should have let Cody sing that one.
So there were a few bad decisions, but overall, I really enjoyed the record. Maybe next time they will write some new material, or at least commission Farlow to write some. I’d love to get lost in the ozone once again.
-Michael Buffalo Smith