Paul Butterfield, Commander Cody Live Albums Dueby Best Classic Bands Staff
Vintage live concerts from three popular artists of the early 1970s—blues great and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Paul Butterfield, retro-rockers the Flamin’ Groovies and the country-rockers Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen—are being released on CD and vinyl on April 7 by Smore Entertainment, with distribution by MVD Entertainment.
The Butterfield set, a double album titled Live New York 1970, dates from December of that year and was recorded at A&R Studios in front of a live audience. The band, in its post-Mike Bloomfield/Elvin Bishop phase, features the singer-harpist accompanied by David Sanborn on alto sax, Gene Dinwiddie on soprano sax, Trevor Lawrence on baritone sax, Steve Madaio on trumpet, Ralph Wash on guitar, Rod Hicks on bass guitar, and Dennis Whitted on drums.
The Flamin’ Groovies release, Live San Francisco 1971, is a recording of the band’s set on June 30 of that year, from the closing week of Bill Graham’s Fillmore West. The band at that time included Roy Loney (lead vocals), Cyril Jordan (guitar, vocals), Tim Lynch (guitar, vocals), James Ferrell (guitar) and George Alexander (bass). The group’s setlist was heavy on classic early rock ’n’ roll and R&B tunes like Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Rock and Roller,” Richard Berry’s “Louie, Louie” and Rufus Thomas’ “Walking the Dog,” a marked contrast to the jam-heavy groups that were dominant during that period of rock. Several originals are also featured.
Related: 10 great “Live at the Fillmore” albums
And finally, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen’s Live from Ebbett’s Field, Denver, Colorado, Aug. 11, 1973, captures that band at the peak of its popularity and musical powers. Like the Groovies, the Cody band leaned more toward the roots than post-psychedelic excess, brilliantly fusing country, rockabilly, R&B and vintage rock ’n’ roll. The band was coming off of a top 10 hit the previous year, a cover of Johnny Bond’s “Hot Rod Lincoln,” sung by pianist/vocalist George Frayne, a.k.a. Commander Cody. The LPA’s personnel at this time was George Frayne, a.k.a. Commander Cody (piano, vocals), Bruce Barlow (bass, vocals), Billy C. Farlow (harmonica, vocals), Bill Kirchen (lead guitar, vocals), Bobby Black (pedal steel guitar, vocals), Andy Stein (violin, saxophone), John Tichy (guitar) and Lance Dickerson (drums, vocals).
Paul Butterfield Live New York 1970 Track Listing
Born Under A Bad Sign
Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
Stuck In the Countryside
Back Together Again
So Far, So Good
Flamin’ Groovies Live San Francisco 1971 Track Listing
Bill Graham Intro
I Can’t Explain
Sweet Little Rock and Roller
Have You Seen My Baby’
Shakin’ All Over
Walkin’ the Dog
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen Live from Ebbett’s Field, Denver, Colorado, Aug. 11, 1973 Track Listing
What’s the Matter Now
Truck Drivin’ Man
Down and Out
Mama Hated Diesels
Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’
All I Have To Offer You
Smoke That Cigarette
Truckin’ and Fuckin’
Daddy’s Drinkin’ Up Our Xmas
Lawdy Miss Clawdy
Watch Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen perform “Hot Rod Lincoln”
Sign up for Best Classic Bands‘ Newsletter; form is on every page.