Night Music: Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, “Down to Seeds and Stems Again Blues”

In my high school years, and into college, my band was Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen. They were a country band that played the old style, no wimpy folk music here, and featured the Commander as big personality and boogie king, Bill Kirchen as most excellent rockabilly guitar, Andy Stein on the fiddle (one I touched after a show at Long Island University), the incomparable Bobby Black on pedal steel, and Billy C. Farlow as rockabilly vocal king.

The band’s roots were in Ann Arbor, though they ended up in San Francisco. But this clip is from a concert to support White Panthers leader John Sinclair, who was doing hard time for holding two joints when he wasn’t managing the MC5. The point was that drug laws were being used to muzzle political dissent.

The MC5, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Bob Seger, and Alan Ginsberg, and many others, performed at this show.

I didn’t know this clip until today. For me this band is the exemplar, the ultimate. And this is the perfect weepy country song.

This is the elpee version. Better mixed and performed. Perfect.

5 thoughts on “Night Music: Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, “Down to Seeds and Stems Again Blues”

  1. Interesting.

    The BileTones just added this song to our set list, and we played it last week at our holiday gig at Rooster’s Roadhouse.

    It is Krichen singing, in fact that is the exact copy we have all been practicing against.

    Cody was a fun band, and they actually moved to the Bay Area, as Peter noted, but settled in Berkeley and were familiar to us on the Ave, hanging out at the Med (Mediteraneum CafĂ©, still selling the best coffee in Berkeley just like they did in the 60’s),

    Great pick.

  2. There aren’t many country songs I actively like, several more that are OK, but this one is one of them. I remember they used to play it on WNEW-FM, which we thought was cool because of the undisguised pot theme. Hadn’t heard it in a long while. Thankyouverymuch.

  3. You’re right Lawr, that is Kirchen singing. I meant that Farlow’s job in the band was singer, though they all took turns in the spotlight. And Seeds and Stems was written by Farlow and George “the Commander” Frayne.

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