A review of a new singer-songwriter and vintage live recordings

Commander Cody
Commander Cody

This week’s column reviews of Lesley (not Kelsey) Kernochan’s debut national release, followed by my thoughts on two live recordings from way back when.

‘A Calm Sun,’ Lesley Kernochan (Maple Syrup Music, )

This May 19 CD is singer/songwriter/guitarist Lesley Kernochan’s debut release. The singer/acoustic guitarist is supported here by guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Dean Parks, guitarist Christopher Bruce, keyboardist Jeff Babko, doghouse bassist Dan Lutz and drummer Aaron Sterling with others. The music is surprisingly multi-faceted in terms of artificial music “genres.”

Favorite tunes: The oddly titled “Les petits mondes sont partout (The Little Worlds Are Everywhere),” the pedal steel–driven “Country in the City,” “Hurricane Eye” (driven by Sterling’s brush-work), a sometimes-doomy “The Chocolate Tree” and the catchy “Loving Family.”

Fans who aren’t tied into particular musical genres will dig this recording.

‘Live In San Francisco 1971,’ Flamin’ Groovies (RockBeat Records, 1/2)

These two April 7 CD releases chronicle live performances from two bands near the top of their game. The Groovies (guitarist/vocalist Roy Loney, guitarist/vocalist Cyril Jordan, bassist/vocalist George Alexander, drummer Danny Mihm and replacement guitarist James Farrell) are featured during the closing concerts for the Fillmore West; Cody and Co. are featured in a Denver club named after a stadium.

The Flamin’ Groovies’ label, Kama Sutra Records, hadn’t promoted their critically acclaimed “Teenage Head” album, their manager had ripped them off and guitarist Tim Lynch had been arrested. Sound quality is sporadic, but a few favorites stand out: an energetic “Sweet Little Rock N’ Roller,” the snooty “Doctor Boogie” and “Shakin’ All Over.”

This live recording (with inaudible “Teenage Head” singing) won’t gather too many more fans for the Flamin’ Groovies.

‘Live At Ebbetts Field: Denver Colorado Aug. 11, 1973,’ Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen (RockBeat Records, )

The sound quality here is a marked improvement, and piano/talking vocalist Commander Cody (George Frayne) and his classic band (Billy C. Farlow: lead vocals/harmonica, Bruce Barlow: bass/harmony vocals, Bill Kirchen: lead guitar/vocals, John Tichy: rhythm guitar/vocals, Bobby Black: excellent pedal steel, Lance Dickerson: drums and Andy Stein: fiddle/saxophone) sound tight as Spandex.

Favorites include “Mama Hated Diesels,” “Rock That Boogie,” “Wine Do Your Stuff,” “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” “What’s The Matter Now,” “Truck Drivin’ Man” “All I Have To Offer You.”

This recording is ideal for rock ’n’ rollers who don’t mind a touch of rockabilly, classic country and swing music.


The coming weeks will feature reviews of a double-LP 1970 live recording/broadcast from Paul Butterfield, vintage DVD TV shows from Frank Sinatra, and new singer/songwriter recordings from Diego Davidenko and Gina Sicilia. Keep on coming back!

Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at flakericky@gmail.com