Monday, October 27, 2014

Bill Kirchen - 2014-03-21 - Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA

Bill Kirchen - 2014-08-24 at American Folk Festival, Bangor, ME
Bill Kirchen
Freight & Salvage,  Berkeley, CA

Audience recording, good quality
mp3 @ 160 kbps

Here's more (two full sets!) from the legendary guitarist Bill Kirchen (Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, 'King of Dieselbilly', 'Titan of the Telecaster'), this one a recent show from earlier this year. And this show is special because it not only features Bill with a a full band (rather than the trio format he often tours with), which includes long-time collaborator (and former pub-rocker with Eggs Over Easy), keyboardist Austin de Lone, but also serves as a partial reunion with a couple of his old Lost Planet Airmen bandmates, bassist Buffalo Bruce Barlow, and pedal steel guitarist Bobby Black. In addition, long-time collaborator, singer-songwriter Kevin 'Blackie' Farrell (who wrote several of the old Commander Cody songs) also joins them on a hand-full of songs. Bill has certainly kept busy in recent years. His 2010 album, Word to the Wise, features duets with several of his friends and musicians he admires, including Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Dan Hicks, Maria Muldaur, and Commander Cody. His most recent album, Seeds and Stems (2013), is a live-in-the-studio recording featuring new versions of many of his favorite and most requested songs, sort of a best of - live, without the annoyances of a live concert recording, and both are excellent. Although well into his sixties now, Bill still tours regularly and does >200 shows a year, dazzling and delighting audiences with his unique style and performances. Bill's shows are just a joy to watch and listen to, as it is obvious that he genuinely just loves to perform, sing and play his guitar, and he is brilliant at it, and he has just as much or more fun than anyone there. Although he is not as well-known as he should be, he is definitely a national treasure. In this show, we get a fuller band sound, closer to the old Commander Cody days, with the added keyboards and pedal steel. The first set features more of the old CC songs, whereas the second set features more of his solo career songs, but both are wonderful. He also gives up the lead vocals to his bandmates for a few songs, letting Austin and Bruce sing some, as well as guest Blackie Farrell. Although this is an audience recording, and the only available version I could find is a low bitrate (from Sugarmegs), it is nonetheless a great show (good audience recording) and worth checking out. So, here's more from the great Bill Kirchen.

 Set 1
 01. Intro
 02. Looking at the World Through a Windshield
 03. Tell Me the Reason
 04. Rocks into Sand
 05. Heart of Gold
 06. Losing Hand (Austin de Lone vocal)
 07.  talk (old days - intro)
 08. Wine, Wine, Wine
 09. Down to Seeds and Stems Again Blues
 10. Semi-Truck
 11. Mama Hated Diesels*
 12. I'm Coming Home*
 13. Hot Rod Lincoln

 Set 2
 14. Intro
 15. Get a Little Goner
 16. Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods
 17. Time Will Tell the Story
 18. C'mon Everybody (Bruce Barlow vocal)
 19. Let's Rock (Austin de Lone vocal)
 20. All Tore Up
 21. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
 22. My Window Faces the South
 23. talk (Blackie Farrell)
 24. Rockabilly Funeral*
 25. talk - 'Chicken' Intro
 26. Talkin' About Chicken
 27. Band Intros
 28. The Times They Are A-Changin'
 29. Crowd noise - Encore Intro
 30. Truckstop at the End of the World*
 31. Riot in Cell Block #9*

 Bill Kirchen - guitar, vocals
 Austin de Lone - keyboards, vocals
 Buffalo Bruce Barlow - bass, vocals
 Paul Revelli - drums
 Bobby Black - Pedal Steel Guitar
 *Kevin 'Blackie' Farrell - guitar, vocals

Bill Kirchen_2014-03-21_Berkeley CA.rar
Link updated 10/28/18

Note: Picture included is not from the Berkeley show, but is a picture I took from his show at the American Folk Festival, Bangor, Maine, 8-24-14, which I attended. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bill Kirchen - 2008-08-29 - Rhythm & Roots Festival, Charlestown, RI

Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun
August 29, 2008
Rhythm & Roots Festival, Ninigret Park
Charlestown, R.I. 

In House-FM recording, very good quality
mp3 @ 192 kbps

When the original Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen broke up around 1976, ace guitarist Bill Kirchen already had another band going, called the Moonlighters, which started as a sort of 'swing orchestra', but over the next several years were stripped down to become more of a pub rock-new wave band (and also included former pub-rock pioneer, keyboardist Austin de Lone, from Eggs Over Easy). They released 2 albums and lasted through the early eighties. After which Bill moved to the Wash. D.C. area and formed his trio-based band, Too Much Fun (named after his classic CC-era song). In addition to Too Much Fun, through the eighties and nineties, Bill played, recorded, collaborated, and sometimes even toured with such artists as Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Gene Vincent, Link Wray, Doug Sahm, Emmylou Harris, and others, as well as occasional Commander Cody reunions and incarnations, establishing himself as a great guitarist, the originator of his classic style and sound, and all-around great guy. In 1994, Bill released his first solo album, Tombstone Every Mile, followed by Have Love, Will Travel (1996) and Raise a Ruckus (1999). He has continued playing and releasing both old and new new music through the years, with a total of 10 solo albums. His music has been called Roots, Americana, etc., it is a unique mix of rockabilly, country, blues, rock, swing, boogie-woogie, and truck driving songs, which he has dubbed 'Dieselbilly' (commemorated in his 2005 album, King of Dieselbilly). He is known for his mastery of his favorite instrument, the Fender Telecaster guitar (although he originally started out as a trombone player), and has been named the "Titan of the Telecaster" by Guitar Player Magazine for his unique contributions and abilities. Bill has even recorded a musical tribute to the Telecaster, the title cut of his 2006 album, Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods, in which he describes the axe as 'born at the junction of form and function, the hammer of the honky tonk gods'.  I first saw Bill live about a dozen years ago, with his Too Much Fun trio, and I was just blown away by him, his style, his performance, and his easy-going charm. I saw him again this summer, and was awestruck and delighted all over again. He continues to play a mix of the old Commander Cody songs and his own catalog of songs from his many albums, of which he has many that have also become classics. However, his signature song at his shows remains his epic live version of  'Hot Rod Lincoln', an extended gem that contains an encyclopedic rundown of classic and iconic guitar riffs from all the great country, blues, and rock artists, from Johnny Cash to BB King to The Beatles, Stones, Clapton, and Hendrix, to the Sex Pistols, in one non-stop torrent of great guitar-playing fun (check out his extended 'Hot Rod Lincon' on YouTube, cause you gotta SEE him playing it too). Just a joy to hear and see, and such a nice guy, too. So, here today, I have a show from his Too Much Fun trio configuration from several years back, a nice recording that features a good mix of his solo songs (such as 'Get a Little Goner', 'Rocks in the Sand', 'Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods', etc.), covers, and Commander Cody oldies, including his inimitable epic 'Hot Rod Lincoln'. So check it out. As Nick Lowe himself said about Bill Kirchen, "A devastating culmination of the elegant and the funky, a really sensational musician with enormous depth." 

1. Intro
2. Get a Little Goner
3. Rocks In The Sand
4. One More Day
5. There’s A Man At the Bottom Of The Well
6. talk (Newport Folk fest-guitar heroes)
7. Catch You On The Flip Flop
8. The Times They Are A Changin’
9. Band Intros
10. I Might Have Been a Lawyer (But I Couldn't Pass the Bar) - (Jack O'Dell vocal)
11. The Hammer Of The Honky Tonk Gods
12. Truck Stop at the End of the World
13. Seeds And Stems
14. Semi-Truck
15. Hot Rod Lincoln
Bonus Track
16. Encore - Too Much Fun (2010-12-16 - Northampton, MA) )

Bill Kirchen – Guitar, Vocals
Claude Arthur – Bass
Jack O’Dell – Drums

Bill Kirchen_2008-08-29_Charlestown RI.rar
New Link! Updated 10/28/2018

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen - 1975-02-18-Record Plant, Sausalito, CA

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
Record Plant, Sausalito, California

FM Broadcast Recording (WLIR-FM), very good quality
Mp3 @ 224 kbps

Here's one more show from the original Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. This very good quality radio broadcast recording, from a couple years later, in 1975, once again features mostly different songs from the previously posted shows. This show features some of their newer (at that time) songs, and some of their very best, including 'Don't Let Go' and 'Too Much Fun', a couple of all-time classics. Although this was near the end of the original run of the band, they were a really sharp, polished, and ultra-hot band by this time, putting on some of their best performances. Commander Cody tried to continue and/or reassemble the band in various incarnations and multiple reunions over the years, with various degrees of success, but this would mark the final days of the original, true CC and HLPA. But then, guitarist Bill Kirchen would also go on to his own level of success and acclaim as the 'Titan of the Telecaster' in the coming years. More on Bill coming up. For now, enjoy this final gem from the incomparable Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. 
01. Lost in the Ozone Again
02. Don't Let Go
03. Give Tennessee Credit For Music
04. Willin'
05. Four or Five Times
06. Southbound
07. House Of Blue Lights
08. Kentucky Hills of Tennessee
09. Cajun Baby
10. Keep On Lovin' Her
11. Hawaii Blues
12. California Okie
13. That's What I Like About The South
14. Gypsy Fiddle
15. Big River
16. Too Much Fun
17. The Boogie Man Boogie

Commander Cody_1975-02-18_Sausalito.rar
New Link! Updated 10/28/2018

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen - 1973-08-11 - Denver, CO

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
Ebbets Field, Denver, CO 

FM Broadcast recording, very good quality
mp3 @ 192 kbps

Here's more from the one and only Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, from around the same time period as the previous post (August 1973), but this show features a completely different setlist from the previous one (only 2 repeated songs), showing more of the unique honky tonk style of the band. And this is a very good quality FM recording. Unfortunately, I have only been able to find it in lower bitrate versions (got this from Sugarmegs), but it is a fine show that sounds very good, and adds many of their signature songs to those already featured, thus making an excellent companion set to the Rotterdam show. 

1. Instrumental Intro
2. Good Rockin' Tonight
3. What's the Matter Now?
4. Truck Driving Man
5. Four or Five Times
6. Down and Out
7. Mama Hated Diesels
8. Little Sally Walker
9. Ain't Nothin' Shakin'
10. Daddy's Drinkin' Up Our Christmas
11. Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar
12. Hot Rod Lincoln Intro>
13. Hot Rod Lincoln
14. Rave On
15. Rock That Boogie
16. Jailhouse Rock
17. Mean Woman Blues
18. Lost In the Ozone Again

Bruce Barlow - Bass, Vocals
Bobby Black - Pedal Steel Guitar, Vocals
Commander Cody - Piano, Vocals
Lance Dickerson - Drums, Vocals
Billy C Farlow - Harmonica, Vocals
Bill Kirchen - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Andy Stein - Violin, Saxophone
John Tichy - Guitar

Commander Cody_1973-08-11_Denver.rar

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen - 1971-06-07 - San Francisco, CA

Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
San Francisco, CA

KSAN Pre-FM master recording, very good quality
Available in both lossless (FLAC) and mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Note: This post is a replacement for a previous Commander Cody post (1973-05-28 - Rotterdam) that was originally posted in October 2014, and was removed in April 2015 due to a DMCA copyright infringement claim. What follows is the original text of the post, which introduces Bill Kirchen and Commander Cody, followed by a description of the new replacement concert.

Update: Unfortunately, the download for this replacement CC show has also been deleted from the servers after less than a week, again due to some supposed copyright claim. Thus, it appears that virtually all the decent  quality Commander Cody shows are now being stopped from being shared. Thus, I will not try to replace the links, or try to post any more Commander Cody shows for download. Sorry. But I will leave this post up for informational purposes only.   

Another artist I saw this past summer was legendary guitarist Bill Kirchen. If you're not familiar with Bill Kirchen, and have any interest at all in country-rock, swing, rockabilly, and just good ol' honky-tonk rock, I strongly suggest you check him out, he is just wonderful. Bill got his start as the original guitarist for Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen in the late sixties. CC-LPA was a wild, eclectic band that featured a unique mix of country, rock, Western swing, rockabilly, and barroom blues, as well as a dose of hippy drug culture weirdness. With the exception of one breakthrough hit single (Hot Rod Lincoln, 1971), the band had an exclusively cult following, as they were not generally accepted by either the rock or country mainstream at the time. Always known as a great live band, their reputation and popularity actually soared only after they split-up in the mid-seventies, as more people became exposed to and began to accept and enjoy their style and sound. This resulted in numerous releases of live recordings from their classic period (1969-1975) over the ensuing years (At least 12 live albums released!). The Commander (real name George Frayne) tried to re-capture the spirit with a new incarnation, known just as The Commander Cody Band in the late seventies to early eighties, but it was never quite the same. After Cody, Bill Kirchen went on to various other bands, projects, and solo recordings (as well as several different short-lived Commander Cody reunions), and I'll talk more about Bill's subsequent career in a later post. Today I'm focusing on those early days with Commander Cody. Although it is hard to find many high quality unofficial recordings of the original band (almost everything decent has been released in some form or another) [Ed. note: this was made even more clear with the copyright claim and subsequent deletion of the show I had previously posted here - which was a show I did not know had been released in any form - hopefully this replacement show will survive], here is a complete show from a San Francisco radio broadcast in 1971, in very fine quality, and this gives a good idea of  what they were all about, and a selection of their wild, vast repertoire, at least from fairly early in their run. Many of their best songs were still yet to come. So please, check out Commander Cody, Bill Kirchen, and the rest of the Airmen in this spirited show recording from 1971. 

disc one: 70:31
01: Lost In The Ozone Again
02: Faded Love
03: Working Man Blues
04: Down To Seeds And Stems Again Blues
05: Smoke That Cigarette
06: Wine Do Your Stuff
07: Semi Truck
08: Ain't That A Pity
09: Workin' On The Midnight Shift
10: The Family Bible
11: Diggy Liggy Lo
12: What Made Milwaukee Famous
13: Lookin' At The World Through A Windshield
14: Chairman Creeper
15: Hot Rod Lincoln
16: Git It
17: Gone Gone Gone
18: I Ain't Got Nothin' But Time
19: Give Tennessee Credit
20: High On A Hilltop
21: Sea Cruise
22: Blues Stay Away From Me

disc two: 53:06
01: Home In My Hand
02: The Shadow Knows
03: Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You**
04: Accidentally**
05: Divorce Me COD
06: Jambalaya
07: Ain't Nothin' Shakin'
08: Goin' Back To Tennessee
09: Tutti Frutti
10: Honky Tonk Blues
11: Nadine
12: Crying Time
13: Crazy Arms
14: Rip It Up
15: Lost In The Ozone/ (Again)

notes: ** with Lynne Smith
Bruce Barlow: Bass, Vocals
Bobby Black: Pedal Steel Guitar, Vocals
Commander Cody: Piano, Vocals
Lance Dickerson:  Drums, Vocals
Billy C Farlow: Harmonica, Vocals 
Bill Kirchen: Guitar, Vocals 
Andy Stein: Violin, Saxophone
John Tichy: Guitar

Sorry. Download no longer available, due to deletion from server sites, apparently due to some copyright infringement claim. No replacement available. There was no intentional posting of copyrighted material, but it appears that many CC shows are copyrighted, even if a corresponding official release is not known to exist. For more classic Commander Cody, please buy their official releases