Archive for June 18th, 2011

In my post yesterday I wrote of a small painting with a scenario where boogie woogie music transforms the life of a WWII German soldier.  I had a piece at the end by boogie woogie pianist Albert Ammons that showcased  the style.  But afterward I wondered about the legacy of that musical style, this boogie woogie, and had to do some research.  After doing a little digging, I was going to write about the irony that  the boogie woogie sound is largely kept alive by Europeans now with people such as Axel Zwingenberger and Silvan Zingg, a  pianist known as the Ambassador of Boogie Woogie  who hosts a boogie woogie festival in his native Switzerland each year.

But in doing my search I came across a name that was my first real intro to boogie woogie many years back.  It was George Frayne, who is better known as Commander Cody of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen fame who emerged in 1971 with the hit Hot Rod Lincoln.  Their first album, Lost in the Ozone, was classic that mixed country and rock and the counter-culture of the time into a meaty syew that was sometimes funny and always enagaging.  It had songs with titles like Down to Seeds and Stems Again and Wine Do Yer Stuff, all great numbers, but my favorite was and is their cover of the Andrews Sisters’ Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar.  I have been singing along to it for nearly forty years now and still gett revved up by Frayne’s rumbling left hand on the keyboard every time.

Unfortunately, the band’s followup albums never reached the promise of  Lost in the Ozone.  But the Commander has always been entertaining throughout the years and that’s enough.

Frayne is an interesting guy.  Despite his somewhat haggard appearance through the years, he is a pretty accomplished painter, having graduated as an art major from the Univ. of Michigan.  He has a real distinct style, often painting musical legends  such as the portrait of Billie Holliday shown here.  He shows some of his work on sites that art painted by rock stars but his best work is much better than that.

Anyway, he was one of the keepers of boogie woogie’s flame and my first introduction to the swinging sound.  Here’s his Beat Me Daddy:

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