Such bands as the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and Poco and the Eagles get the credit for creating country-rock, but right there on the radio along with them was a guy named George Frayne who cranked out a distinctive and energetic blend of rock, honky tonk and roadhouse blues.
You’ve probably never heard of Frayne, but if you followed music in the early 1970s you know his alias, Commander Cody, and you know his band, the Lost Planet Airmen. Their biggest hit was a 1971 cover of Charlie Ryan’s “Hot Rod Lincoln,” but “Lost in the Ozone,” “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)” and a few other tracks were staples on college radio stations.
Frayne left the Lost Planet Airmen behind back around 1976, but he kept the Commander Cody moniker. He’s been essentially a solo act (thought he usually has a backing band) ever since, and he’s coming to Ace’s Live in Bradenton on Friday.
With the Lost Planet Airmen, Cody was known for frequent touring, mostly consisting of large club dates and festivals, and his shows were energetic and often very long. He’s 72 now, so it’s reasonable to expect that the show may be a little shorter and the energy might turned down below 11. But he no doubt has even better chops than before, and know how to work a crowd better than ever.