Commander Cody – Dopers, Drunks & Everyday Losers

January 01, 1970

(Blind Pig)


Some punk is going to hold up from a 7-11 and Commander Cody
is going to get the blame, Judas Priest-style, for inciting America’s youth to
crime. He makes shoplifting sound like a blast on “Seven Eleven,” a rollicking
number from his umpteenth album: “Listen everybody, what are we doing here? We
could be down at the 7-11 stealing their beer,” he sings like a true criminal
genius, as the band chime in “Stealing at the 7-11! Stealing at the 7-11!”
Paced at getaway tempo, the song turns Mark Emerick’s guitar into a siren and
ends with Cody doing hard time, but you just know he’ll be sneaking six-packs
under his jacket as soon as he makes parole.


Cody has made a long career out of corrupting America’s
youth: For more than four decades he’s been turning trouble-making into high
philosophy and Western Swing and R&B into high-grade hippie bar rock. It’s
almost inevitable that his live albums would outshine his studio albums and
that his live shows would overshadow both, but the aptly titled Dopers, Drunks & Everyday Losers sounds both loose and practiced, with his crack backing band putting
devil-may-care attitude into new songs like “Roll Yer Own” and old favorites
like “Wine Do Yer Stuff.”


These are more songs about the three W’s in Cody’s life:
wine, women, and of course weed. Few acts could turn a statement like “I’m down
to seeds and stems again” into both a life metaphor and a stirring ballad sung
by Miss Marie Spinosa, whose voice suggests a deeply stoned Linda Ronstadt.
“Tennessee Plates” borrows the melody and momentum from “I Fought the Law,” but
Cody and co. make that similarity part of the self-deprecating joke: He was a
loser long before the law won. “Lone Ranger” begins as a tired ode to a lover
on the run-that over-romanticized figure-but ends with a punchline that’s all
the more hysterical and subversive for its simplistic rhyme scheme. There’s
nothing here as spirited or as riotous as early hits like “Hot Rod Lincoln” or
“Everybody’s Doing It,” but Dopers proves the years haven’t curtailed Cody’s mischief one bit.


Standout Tracks:
“Seven Eleven,” “Seeds and Stems Again” STEPHEN M. DEUSNER



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