City Slang: “Rock ‘N Roll Again” revisited

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, for those that aren’t familiar, were an Ann Arbor-based band that formed in ’67 and soon took the Detroit rock ’n’ roll scene, Grande Ballroom and all, by storm thanks to a cool, combination of country, rockabilly and hard rock.

The band split in ’76, but front man George Frayne kept the Commander Cody name and formed the New Commander Cody Band. Rock ‘N Roll Again was that band’s first album, and it’s a beauty.

One thing that gets forgotten about Frayne is just how sinister his voice could be when the song called for it. Take the opening “Midnight Man” and, on side B, “Danny”. – the Commander is practically snarling.

Perhaps that’s why this record is so great. We still get the old school Cody danceable tunes, but Frayne is showing a few other sides too. The best song on the record in the City Slang opinion is “Seven Eleven”, an ode to that most American of institutions.

Commander Cody is still playing and, by all accounts, making some fine music. But if he’s made a better record than this, we haven’t heard it.

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