Lonesome Onry and Mean: New Albums from Webb Wilder and Commander Cody
Sometimes Lonesome, Onry and Mean flat dreads going out to the mailbox. Why? Because there's no telling what musical mediocrity or aural atrocity lies ticking like an Al-Qaeda dirty bomb inside those bubble-packs with faraway foreign addresses like Saginaw, Michigan or Sausalito, California. I haven't had my typing hand blown off yet, but my cranial lump has certainly taken some whacks to the eardrum lately. So it was a pleasant surprise to find albums by two old friends in a recent pack from California's Blind Pig label: More Like Me by the unofficial mayor of the NashVegas underground, Webb Wilder, and Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers by Commander Cody of Lost Planet Airmen fame. Let's face it: Webb Wilder makes Webb Wilder records. If you thought Webb was suddenly going to reinvent what he and R.S. "The Ionizer" Field had invented, get a clue or two. These cats don't sell out - not for money, not for women, not for fame. Personally, I like Webb's sensitive, well written love songs, but what has always drawn me to the Last of the Full-Grown Men, the Idol of Idle Youth, has been his balls-to-the-wall rockers. Accompanied once again by maybe Nashville's best rock drummer, Jimmie "Lord of the Chevron Island" Lester, longtime bass player Tom Comet, Nashville underground mainstay George Bradfute and guitarist Joe McMahan, Wilder blows through rock and roll classics like "Ju Ju Man" and Roky Erickson's manic "Don't Slander Me" with all the aplomb of cat in a bucket of boiling water. If you don't like this one, you're probably having the wrong kind of thoughts about your step-daughter or a couple of sheep you saw in a pasture outside College Station.
I don't know how long it's been since George "Commander Cody" Frayne put out a record, and I feel it my duty to report there's nothing much new here other than an entirely different ensemble from the original Bill Kirchen-led Lost Planet Airmen that were Austin faves in the mid-'70s. Yet in spite of the lack of much fresh material, this record works in the way that the Airmen always worked at Armadillo World Headquarters in my college heyday - as a superior bar band. As the title implies, there are plenty of songs about liquor and weed. There are also women gone wrong for men who were already wrong. Most of the titles are instantly recognizable if you followed the Commander back in the day: "Roll Your Own," "Semi Truck," and the Commander's signature "Seeds and Stems Again" are all delivered with the Commander's got-my-head-in-bottle-of-Lonestar suave. If you're still into that honky-tonkers-on-steroids-and-speed thing that was always the Commander's specialty, you'll probably put Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers in your truck and not take it out until it starts skipping from all the beer you've spilled on it. Mark this one "killer bar band that knows the job."
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