Long before country acquired an "alt" to distinguish the roots material from the product of Nashville, there was Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen. Long before it became fashionable, they were a bunch of hippies rocking up the honky tonk music. While their audience was mostly the longhair crowd, as evidenced by the pot anthem "Down to Seeds and Stems Again Blues," they could also create some mass appeal, and even scored a hit single with their souped-up version of "Hot Rod Lincoln." Mostly, though, it was about the boogie, whether covering some old jive like "Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar" or their own "Truck Stop Rock." Moreover, they could pick like the best players on the country scene, as they show on "Rock That Boogie," or make the tears flow into the beer, as on a wonderful cover of Lowell George's trucking anthem, "Willin'." Successful as they were -- and they were a major draw live, able to whip up a fever in an audience -- they were ahead of their time. Had they arrived in the '90s as fully formed as they were at the beginning of the '70s, they'd have ruled the alt-country scene. This compilation draws from their most glorious years, 1971-1975, and there's simply not a dud to be found here -- no filler, not a second wasted. If you're at all curious as to what the fuss was about and where the hippies and Buck Owens intersected, start here.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson