Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

Lost in Space

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This 1975 live recording from New York City finds the Commander and company at the peak of both their powers and their popularity. In the early- to mid-'70s, their combination of stoner/hippie image with a fairly traditional sound incorporating Western swing, honky-tonk, and boogie-woogie (not unlike Asleep at the Wheel) endeared them to freaks and hardcore country fans alike. A prime example of the band's cross-cultural appeal is "Seeds & Stems Again Blues," where marijuana meets the Opry.

"It Should Have Been Me" emphasizes the swing/jump-blues side of the band's musical personality, while "Beat Me Daddy (Eight to the Bar) displays their fondness for boogie-woogie and gives the Commander a chance to show off his formidable piano chops. "Honky Tonk Music" shows that, like any country band worth its salt, they know their way around a barroom weeper. The band was at its best live, as shown here by the interaction with the audience and the display of old-school showmanship that extends to such crowd-pleasing oddities as a Gypsy violin interlude. There are several live Commander Cody albums available, but this one is notable for hailing from a golden era in the group's history.

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