This CD anthologizes the 'classic' lineup of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen: Commander Cody (aka George Frayne (piano/vocals)), and His Lost Planet Airmen (aka Billy C. Farlow (vocals/guitar/trumpet/harmonica), Bill Kirchen (guitar/vocals), Bruce Barlow (bass/guitar/vocals), John Tichy (guitar/vocals), Lance Dickerson (drums), Andy Stein (fiddle/sax/trombone), and Stan Davis (pedal steel guitar)). The 22 tracks are taken from the combo's first four long-players Lost in the Ozone (1971), Hot Licks, Cold Steel & Truckers' Favorites (1972), Country Casanova (1973), and the concert platter Live From Deep in the Heart of Texas (1974). Their sound is a blend of traditional C&W music, Western swing, and the concurrently popular country-rock. Along with the New Riders of the Purple Sage and Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, Commander Cody and company carved out a niche as a hard-livin' outfit that was just as comfortable covering Merle Travis' up-tempo "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)" as they were with their own gritty R&B drive and outlaw attitude on the slinky "Watch My .38." "Everybody's Doin' It" is a sly update on the Modern Mountaineers "Everybody's Truckin'." It replaces the racist subject matter heard on the original ("see the darkies everywhere they go") and applies it to the flourishing counterculture ("Down in Berkeley, on the street"), in and among the other, and perhaps more perverse, observations. All of the anticipated tunes are here, such as "Mama Hated Diesels," "Truck Drivin' Man," "Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar," "Lost in the Ozone," and their subversive (wink, wink) signature "(Down To) Seeds and Stems (Again)." While this import CD may be more difficult to locate, it includes some significant additions to its' 15-song North American counterpart Too Much Fun: Best of Commander Cody (1990) which, incidentally, comprises the same era. Until each of the aforementioned long-players are issued on compact disc, Very Best of Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen (1991) suffices nicely.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer