Commander Cody,
Dopers, Drunks & Everyday Losers
(Blind Pig, 2009)

It seems to me there has never been a time when there wasn't a Commander Cody around. He's as dependable as the sun and the sky, rarely obtrusive, never in the way but always around when he's needed. And just when we're in danger of drowning in the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus and Kellie Pickler, here comes Cody with a new album.

Cody -- who became if not famous, certainly dangerous with his '70s band, Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen, which gave us such musicians as Bill Kirchen and Billy C. Farlow -- has for the past few decades specialized in creating joy and fun with a unique blend of rock, country and blues, all held together by Cody's sledgehammer, honky-tonk, ragtime piano.

So, how is the new album? "Brilliant" is the first word that springs to mind. The current band -- Mark Emerick on guitar, Steve Barnuto on drums, Chris Olson on pedal steel and Randy Bramwell on bass, as well as the commander himself -- is a fabulous aggregation, and the material ranges all over the Cody repertoire. He does updated versions of "Seeds & Stems Again," "Seven-Eleven," "Wine, Do Your Stuff" and a few others. He covers John Hiatt's "Tennessee Plates" and "No No Song" and comes up with a handful of originals that are destined to take their places as future Cody classics.

You can't listen to Dopers, Drunks & Everyday Losers without laughing, wanting to dance and admiring the musicianship. My advice? Don't wait 'til tomorrow, don't wait for the rain to stop, just go out and get it. Now.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

25 April 2009

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