This week on SWING ON THIS, we’ll remember George Frayne IV, aka Commander Cody, with a trio of his tunes.
I first saw Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen in 1973 with my friend Tim Fletcher at the Fox Theater in Long Beach, California. We were there because we were in the Navy and our ship, the USS NEW ORLEANS, was in dry dock at the Long Beach shipyards.
It was a great show, not hugely attended, with Cody and the boys the middle act between a British band called Tranquility (whose every member seemed to have been cloned from Alvin Lee) and headliner Linda Ronstadt, still in her barefoot pig-girl mode (see the cover of 1970’s SILK PURSE) and about 18 months away from her huge breakthrough.
I recall Cody himself saying to the crowd, “There ain’t many of us here, so we might as well get it on,” and then launching into a wonderful set of rock ’n’ roll, swing, and boogie woogie. It was a good time to see the guys, who were still on their way up and obviously having a swell time.
In addition to honoring the Commander, who passed away on September 26, we’ll celebrate the beginning of the World Series with the Hoosier Hot Shots and lift our glasses to Johnny Tyler and the Riders of the Rio Grande.
1. “Red Hot Gal of Mine,” Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
2. “Bound to Look Like A Monkey,” Tom Morrell and His Time-Warp Tophand
3. “It Ain’t Far to the Bar,” Johnny Tyler and His Riders of the Rio Grande
(for BETTYE & GARY and the GLASS LIFTERS)
4. “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette),” Commander Cody and His
Lost Planet Airmen
5. “A Pair of Broken Hearts,” Spade Cooley
(for RICK PAYNE)
6. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Hoosier Hot Shots
(for WAYNE MCCOMBS)
7. “Memory No. 1,” Billy Parker and Webb Pierce
(for HAMILL TIME)
8. “Mood Indigo,” Michael H. Price and His Western Swingmasters
(for CAROLE & JACK BENDER)
9. “What, Where & When,” Leon McAuliffe
(for RAY BINGHAM)
10. “Hot Rod Lincoln,” Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
(for CHAD HINES)
11. “San Antonio Rose,” Top Hand Band
(for AP MCQUIDDY)
12. “Hang Your Head in Shame,” Red Foley
13. “Minnie the Moocher,” Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
(for MARK & JACKIE DARRAH)
14. “Mary Lou,” Roy Newman and His Boys