Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen - Tales From the Ozone
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Tales From the Ozone (Wounded Bird, 2003)

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen's "Tales from the Ozone" draws almost entirely from a list of covers including pop and swing tunes from Leiber & Stoller and Cab Calloway, country songs from Hank Williams Jr., Billy Joe Shaver and Blackie Ferrell (the latter of whom penned the classic "Mama Hated Diesels").

Hoyt Axton created a flat production, with guitars, drums, fiddle, steel and vocals all competing stage front. Though not as nuanced as " Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen," it does capture a sense of the band's live energy - something captured even more fully on contemporaneous live albums.

This original lineup would last but another album (a live set), before disbanding. But before drifting on to separate fortunes, they waxed a legacy of inventive, highly-lovable albums, with "Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen" being chief among them.

The entire catalog has been spottily reissued on CD, this among the first two legitimate domestic issues of the group's Warner's output. As a mature band, recording for the then-reigning industry conglomerate, this is more polished than the earlier albums and just as inventive and enjoyable. (P.O. Box 48, Guilderland, NY 12084-0048, (518)-869-6449)

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