(August 2013)
Featuring  Review of Commander Cody Band's CD
Click here (page 59)

Heard it in a love song: Local guitarist, Tucker Band to play for troops
Cmdr. Cody guitarist Mark Emerick of Coxsackie joins classic rock icons for 5 dates in Iraq, Kuwait

By Doron Tyler Antrim, Hudson-Catskill Newspapers; Published: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 2:13 AM EDT

COXSACKIE — Guitarist Mark Emerick, a Coxsackie native, is joining 1970s rock staple The Marshall Tucker Band for five performances for U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Kuwait starting on Thursday.

“This is definitely the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” Emerick said. “Nothing comes close to this.”

The trip is sponsored by Stars for Stripes, a nonprofit organization that provides celebrity entertainment to U.S. forces deployed oversees.

Emerick left for the Middle East Tuesday and is scheduled to perform in Kuwait Thursday and then travel to Iraq for four performances.

He is set to return home May 11.

Emerick said he was surprised to receive an invitation from founding member and lead singer of the Southern rock group Doug Gray. “I was kind of taken aback,” he said.

As a member of the Commander Cody Band, Emerick has known Marshall Tucker for years and played with the band before.

There is increased excitement about the tour, Emerick said, following the news that U.S. special operations forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in a compound in Pakistan.

The Marshall Tucker Band, in a statement, also made reference to the tour’s timing.

“In light of recent events, I can’t even tell you how honored we are to perform for our men and women in uniform,” said Gray, who’s a Vietnam veteran. “We are so excited to be able to bring a smile and a taste of home to these fine folks.”

Emerick, too, has a connection to the military. His father served in World War II; his grandfather in World War I and two great-grandfathers in the Civil War. “I love my country and am honored to support the troops anyway I can,” he said.

Originally from Uxbridge, Mass., Emerick has lived in the village of Coxsackie for two decades. He presently lives on Luke Street.

He said he doesn’t like to publicize his musical talents within the small community, but “some people know me.”

To learn more about Mark Emerick, visit

For more information about Stars for Stripes, visit

To reach reporter Doron Tyler Antrim call 518-943-2100 ext. 3323 or email

Copyright © 2011 - The Daily Mail
Checking in with Commander Cody at McWell's
by Jim Abbott on Mar 27, 2009

Boy, people kept buying me beers at the Commander Cody show on Thursday at McWell's on South Orange Avenue! That was mighty nice, but next time, I gotta stick with the whiskey.

But I digress..
After so many years on the road, the Commander, George Frayne, looks rode-hard-and-put-away-wet, but the guy can still pound out the 12-bar boogie piano. Canstill knock back the tequila, too, looks like.

The band was a basic rhythm section, with the exception of the spotlight-stealing solos by lead guitarist Mark Emerick. The guy shifts masterfully from Allman-esque Southern Rock into twangy country mode. Emerick's cousin, Orlando's Timmy Kelliher, helped out on rhythm for a good deal of the set. A lot of boogie-woogie stuff, including "Smoke Smoke Smoke (That Cigarette)," "Beat me Daddy, Eight to the Bar," "There's a Riot Goin' On" and the signature "Hot Rod Lincoln."

Kelliher, one of the best pickers around, had more chance to shine in the opening set by Galloway-Kelliher, the band that also features the singing and harmonica work of Midnight Creepers alum Mike Galloway. The band was especially locked in on Thursday, with Emerick sitting in on guitar. The twin leads were as tasty as the beers.

- Michael Buffalo Smith, & Gritz Magazine 5/18/07

Mark Emerick has filled the lead guitar spot in the Commander Cody Band for many years now, so it's no small wonder he would tip his hat to the Commander on his first solo outing, covering "Six Days On The Road" and the country-fried "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone?" Even still, Emerick fills this record with a ton of hot licks, many of which are obviously influenced by his love of the late Toy Caldwell. Some of the guitar licks send chills up my spine, as if Mark is actually channeling the spirit of Caldwell.

Most of Emerick's own compositions would be right at home on a Marshall Tucker Band record. "Apache Rose" certainly would, and especially "Carolina Mountain Time", an original watermelon-boogie tune that is Tuckerized to the core and "Eight Hour Ride", a tune reminiscent of the mid-seventies  MTB meets The Outlaws sound. Good stuff.

Emerick is backed by a line up of classic players. The King Snake Allstars: Tim Kelliher on acoustic/slide & electric guitar; Mike Beausoleil on bass & harmony vocals; Ron "The Byrd" Foster on drums and vocals; Bill Delk on piano/organ; Steve Barbuto on drums; and Juan Perez on drums. The album was recorded at Delk Studio Complex in Deltona, Florida.

Oh yeah, one sweet surprise here is a beautiful take on Tony Joe White's classic "Rainy Night in Georgia" with lead vocals by Ron Foster. Emerick lays back and plays some sweet lead guitar.

Carolina Mountain Time is an excellent solo debut from an honest, sincere, honorary Southern Gentleman, Mark Emerick.

By, Artie Demers
You might say that the new release, Carolina Mountain Time by accomplished guitarist, Mark Emerick has been 25 years in the making.
Emerick, currently lead guitarist for the Commander Cody Band, just finished wrapping up Carolina Mountain Time, collaborating with his cousin Tim Kelliher and longtime friend and bassist Mike Beausoleil on the 10 song gem.
Emerick's style could best be described as a neatly wrapped package consisting of the soulfulness and grit of Duane Allman, the Southern picking of Toy Caldwell and the country twang of Bill Kirchen, yet his style is both unique and flavorful and above all polished.
The collection opens with the Earl Green/Carl Montgomery truck driving staple, “Six Days on the Road.” It doesn't take long to get immersed in the chugging guitar and rockabilly piano that segues neatly into Kelliher's smooth slide bottlenecking.
Ron Byrd's passionate vocals on the cover of "Rainy Night in Georgia" a song written by Tony Joe White in 1962 and recorded by vocalist Brooks Benton in 1970, melds nicely with the swaying guitars and ethereal organ of Bill Delk. Byrd also lays down a nice trap beat on the set, adding just the right punctuation to the buildup of the guitars and vocals in a 7-minute trip down memory lane.
Speaking of a seven minute trip down memory lane, Emerick has unbottled a 25 year old lost classic, “Apache Rose”, he penned with former band mate Charlie Doherty and was one of several original ballads he played often with Beausoleil while they tore up Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island with a Southern Rock band aptly named Southpaw, in the late seventies and early eighties. Kelliher often worked the soundboard during many of these shows and usually worked his way on stage for a song or two at some point during the evening.
Sadly Southpaw parted their ways before their full potential was realized and a 45 (remember those) of “Apache Rose” and the  “B Side”, Doherty's “Tennessee” became a collector's item that was never released.
Beausoleil does a more than effective job with the vocals originally handled by Doherty and Kelliher and Emerick's blistering guitar solos are reminiscent of some of the finest in Southern Rock trade offs. Delks biting chords on the Hammond B-3 are a most welcome addition that was missing in the original Southpaw version.

The song, about a gunslinger driven to revenge by the shooting of a friend is rife with imagery of the old Southwest as he tracks the culprits to Houston which culminates in a battle that leaves the three bad guys dead, “all their pearl handled pistols and their diamonds and jade, couldn't keep me from dealing, the black ace of spades.”

It leaves our fugitive hero on the back of his stallion, dodging the sagebrush and Joshua trees, reaching for the Mexican border, just hoof beats ahead of the law.

The song climaxes with the statement, “now the law calls it murder and the Lord calls it sin, but if I had my chance…I'd gun `em all down again.”

After many years of Southern Rock listening, this song stands up there with the best of them.
The Great Southern-esque shuffle of Carolina Mountain Time, featuring Cody drummer Steve Barbuto and the road lonely, “Eight Hour Ride” will give any Dicky Betts and Allman Brothers fans reason to hit the replay button on the CD player.
The bluesy “Six Feet Under” and the Moon Mulligan tossup of “Pipeliner Blues” are just perfect vehicles, which allow for the tight interplay and complimentary licks that Kelliher and Emerick toss at each other. “Six Feet Under” evokes fond memories of early vintage Allmans circa Fillmore East days, as does “I Want You.”

Then there's the jilted lover in “Anybody Goin' to San Antone, looking for relief on the run from a failed relationship. Emerick's vocal prowess will never be compared with some of the big names of the industry, but within the niche that he has carved out with this CD it has woefulness, soulfulness and power. He should never be compared to Duane Allman dabbling on vocals on “Dimples”, but won't quite reach the amplitude of Doug Gray, with Tucker's Ramblin' from the Where We All Belong album. He is comfortably in between.
Kelliher belts out the vocals on the CD finale, “Rebel Rock” a salute to all that's great about life in the South, from revenuers chasing bootleggers to Rockingham and Darlington references for all the NASCAR fans. There's no shortage of rip snorting guitar riffs, replete with some fat scorching slide solos, as any anthem with a title like that should have. Juan Perez' backbeat is both solid and forceful.
All in all, Carolina Mountain Time will not disappoint fans of Southern Rock and Blues….the only thing disappointing would be if Emerick did not follow this up with a tour that showcases these fine musicians and the work they have laid down here. While Emerick's work with piano pounder, George Frayne (aka Commander), allows Mark to showcase his talent, playing with the folks on this CD allows Emerick to showcase his roots.
And as good as this album is, there is nothing like seeing these guys live.
- Artie Demers

Newberry Opera House  Newberry, S.C. Friday, June 3, 2005
GRITZ: LIVE SHOW REVIEWeriencing the outstanding Freedom Weekend Aloft show in Anderson, S.C. with Charlie Daniels, Marshall Tucker and Molly Hatchet, I found myself in the midst of greatness once again. The Commander Cody Band brought their swingin’ boogie woogie show to Newberry, S.C., and I was front and center. Newberry is only an our or so South of Greenville, yet I had never yet visited the quiet, small town. It’s a beautiful town, reminiscent of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry. The downtown area is so clean, it looks like a post card or a scene from a movie.

Anyone who regularly reads GRITZ has heard me rant and rave about Commander Cody’s lead guitarist, Mark Emerick. He’s a good friend, and when he told me his band would be an hour away, I jumped at the opportunity to catch ‘em live. After all, i had been a fan of Commander Cody all the way back in 1971. Back in the days of Bill Kirchen and Billy C. Farlow. I had just interviewed the Commander for the Summer issue of GRITZ on the phone a few weeks ago, and was chompin’ at the bit to meet him face to face.

I arrived at the beautiful and historic Newberry Opera House just in time for sound check. Mark greeted me with a big friendly smile and proceeded to introduce me to the band. Steve Barbuto, the white-haired drummer of the band was formerly with Edgar and Johnny Winter as well as The James Montgomery Band. Steve is a helluva guy and as a drummer I observed he is always “in the pocket.” Rick Mullen is also a very friendly guy an a great bassist. Rick toured extensively with Don McLean (“American Pie”) as well as with the legendary Van Morrison.

As the guys hooked up their cables and prepared for sound check, I caught sight of George Frayne, aka: Commander Cody, rounding the corner at the other side of the stage to take a seat at the beautiful black grand piano provided by the Opera House. George looked like the artist he is, wearing a worn “Camp George” t-shirt, red Converse high tops and blue jeans with graffiti and sketches all over them. Hey, if you are an artist, you draw!

I waited until after sound check to meet the Commander. Mark introduced us. Cody was a true gentleman, taking time for the obligatory photos, autographs and the like. We went up to the dressing rooms. The Newberry Opera House has the lobby with a beautiful collection of art on display, and a floor for dressing rooms. It’s really a convenient and nice set up.

Before we went to the dressing rooms, we met with some common friends of ours from Charlotte, and I met the stage crew, some young Newberry College kids that were just great.

Upstairs in the dressing room, we met more nice ladies who were helping with everything. I passed out copies of GRITZ and and sat on the sofa to chat with the Commander for a while. We talked about all sorts of stuff. George is an amazing man, with a head full of art and vision, and I just wanted to hear all of his tales from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s.

Pretty soon, one of the nice volunteer ladies came to walk us across the street to Steven W’s Bistro, a fine restaurant where I enjoyed dinner with the band. I never take these things for granted, it’s always a thrill for me. I just have to put a plug in here for the chef, Steven. Wow. I had the special. Blackened mahi-mahi and- you guessed it - grits! Absolutely delicious. When in Newberry, do not pass go, do not collect $200- go to Steven W’s Bistro!

After dinner settled for a bit, it was time for the show. Mark invited me to introduce the band. Stepping out onto that stage reminded me of all of the years I had experienced as a theatre major. I felt like I was ready to do a play again!

The band let her rip from the very beginning with “Too Much Fun..” There was a sound problem for a while, due to the fact that they band usually uses electric keyboards, but given the opportunity to play this beautiful Wurlitzer grand, it was worth a few feedback squeals. Of course the problem was soon rectified and the show came off without a hitch. Cody and the boys rocked through “Smoke That Cigarette,” “Riot in Cell Black #9,” “One O’Clock Jump” and many more. Mark Emerick sang a pair of songs, including the classic “Truck Drivin’ Man,” and just blistered the fret board on his Telecaster. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Emerick is a helluva player, with a Southern rock soul trapped in a Massachusetts body. His licks often sound amazingly like Toy Caldwell or Dickey Betts. I never tire of Mark’s playing. Steve Barbuto sang lead on a few songs too, and does a fine job. Rick Mullen added a lot with harmony vocals.

The band took a break, and we all went back to the dressing rooms for a bit, and when they returned, they played even harder than in set one. Songs like “Real Fine Chick,” “They Kicked Me Out of the Band,” “Goin’ Back to Tennessee,” and “Oh Mama Mama” smoked. Mark sang lead on “Lookin’ at the World Through a Windshield,” and again took off on some stellar lead guitar picking that at times emulated the sound of a pedal steel and at others simply rocked. Steve sang “Midnight Shift” and then George stepped up to a microphone at the front of the stage to sing the band’s signature song, “Hot Rod Lincoln.” The audience loved every minute of it. All through the show, Commander Cody impressed the crowd with his piano dexterity, and the audience would erupt into applause periodically.

Cody introduced the next song as “ the only slow song we play, a sad, sad love song.” The song was “Down to Seeds and Stems Again.” It was great. George and company rocked out on “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar” and closed with “Lost in the Ozone Again,” before returning to the stage to blast some mighty fine rock and roll boogie woogie to wrap up one excellent show.

The band went out to the lobby to meet folks and sign autographs, and I just sat back and smiled, listening to all of the great compliments being given to the group. It had truly been a great night. On the way home, I cranked up the iPod in my Honda CRV and rocked out to their most recent CD, “Live from Turkey Trot.” I would go online the next day to check the band’s schedule. I was ready to do it again.

-Review & Photos by Michael Buffalo Smith
(Editor's Note: Look for an interview with the ol' Commander in the Summer issue of GRITZ in June!)


" All The Way Live From Turkey Trot Acres "

Commander Cody (aka: George Frayne) has logged many a mile on that old rock-n-roll highway, beginning, back in the '60's with his group The Lost Planet Airmen, and he is still making music to set your toes to tappin. I have been a fan for all of those years myself.  From the days of Bill Kirchen and Billy C. Farlow, all way up to today's Commander Cody Band, his music is still some of the best to get lost in the ozone to.

On this DVD/CD combo-pack, the Cody Band rock through a fine mix of classic Lost Planet Airmen material and newer stuff,  From the theme song, "Too Much Fun," all the way to the fifth gear on "Hot Rod Lincoln", Cody and the boys put the pedal to the metal. Adorned in a Jazzfest t-shirt and an open Hawaiian button-up over it, Cody continues his legacy as a true roc-n-roll eccentric. (And a heck of a visual artist. If you have never seen the man's paintings, check out Commander

Mark Emerick, who George calls "my right hand man" simply smokes on guitar throughout the show. Emerick plays like a cross between Bill Kirchen and Toy Caldwell (Yes, I said Toy Caldwell, of Marshall Tucker fame, whom Mark cites as an influence) moving between fancy fretwork and bottleneck slide, Emerick always "hits the note," and his lead on "River City's Jumpin" is as gruff as Gregg Allman. I'm telling you, we are going to make this wild man an "honorary Southern rocker"

The Commander does a fun take on "Down to Seeds and Stems Blues", as well as a heavy "Riot in Cell Block #9" and "The Kicked Me Out Of The Band" is fun.  In fact, you'd be quite hard pressed to find a song here that isn't fun. Drummer Steve Barbuto is in top form on the skins and vocals, and bassist Rick Mullen is right there in the pocket every time. Pedal steel master Chris Olsen really adds to the party as well.

Turkey Trot is an awesome DVD and the bonus CD contains three bonus tracks, making this a must-have set for any Cody fan or just plain ol' hippie rock-n-rollers live me.
- Michael Buffalo Smith

February 2, 2005, by Greg Haymes
" All The Way Live From Turkey Trot Acres "
The longtime commander-in-chief of roadhouse boogie woogie Commander Cody is still rockin' his life away. The Commander (aka George Frayne) is celebrating the release of his new CD/DVD set , "All the Way Live from Turkey Trot," which was recorded in concert at Turkey Trot Acres Hunting Lodge in Candor last August.

From the early days of Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen back in the 70s to the current Commander Cody Band, Frayne has had a wide variety of musicians on board and the bunch on the latest release - including drummer Steve Barbuto, bassist Rick Mullen, guitarist Mark Emerick and pedal steel player - Chris "Tiny" Olsen- continues in the classic Cody mode of rollicking roadhouse honky-tonkin'.

They can certainly rock when they want to, but they also mix in elements of swing, R&B, rockabilly, and cosmic cowboy country as they charge through such time-honored Cody gems as "Down to Seeds and Stems Again Blues", "Beat ME Daddy, Eight to the Bar", and, of course, "Hot Rod Lincoln."  In all, there are 13 tracks on the CD, while the DVD includes that baker's dozen in addition to bonus tracks "Don't Let Go," and "Pain in Advance"
- Greg Haymes, Staff Writer


BEST DRESSED: Bekka Bramlett
MOST TALENTED: Chris Hicks (Marshall Tucker Band)
MISS CONGENIALITY: Bonnie Bramlett (Again!)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: (TIE) Tommy Crain, Mark Emerick
BEST ALL AROUND: Charlie Daniels
FRIENDLIEST: Everybody!!
COOLEST GUY: Phil Stokes (Ghostriders)
COOLEST GAL: Lisa Goldberg
BEST COUPLE: Mr. & Mrs. Stuart Swanlund (Marshall Tucker)
BEST ROLE MODELS: Charlie Daniels, Bonnie Bramlett
BEST LINES OVERHEARD: "Has anybody seen B.B.?" and "Wait Jimmy, don't touch that Hendrix..."
          " River City Jumpin' "

Too much fun! The commander and his band rocked Generations Night Club in St. Louis on February 4, 2003, and now you can experience the show thanks to the magic of digital recording. The excellent 12-song set begins with a romp through "House of Blue lights", and find the band hittin' the note time and time again on classic Cody and newer tunes alike.

"Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette," "Seeds and Stems Again,
"Lookin' At The World Thru A Windshield,"  "Lost In The Ozone," and of course, "Hot Rod Lincoln," all get 110% renditions from George "Commander" Frayne and his band, with lead guitarist Mark Emerick throwing down some of the coolest twang since the days of Bill Kirchen, Emerick tosses in a few Southern Rock licks as well, giving Cody an even broader appeal - not that the band isn't already pretty damned appealing.
A great live set from a living legend.       

- Michael Buffalo Smith
Marshall Tucker Band

Oyster Festival
Milford, Ct
August 16, 2003
By: Harry Herrmann

This was my eleventh M.T.B. concert dating back to '84. I also saw Toy Caldwell play solo in '90. (He wrote more than half of the songs in this set list.) I had most recently seen them play in Dover, NJ on 12/13/02. Mark Emerick made a special guest appearance that night....and as luck would have it...he was here once again today, 8/16/03 !!!

Over the course of today, several thousand people had visited the arts & crafts, food and amusement concessions that were set up for this 29th annual Milford Oyster Festival. The M.T.B. had played this venue 6 years ago, so this was sort of a return engagement. This show was taped by the local rock radio station, and is supposed to be broadcasted on Monday. I would appreciate it if a Milford area fan would get me a copy!

FYI: Milford is about half-way between Bridgeport and New Haven, CT ....on the coast of the Long Island Sound. It has a quaint village green, and a beautiful natural harbor. The area has been a long-time bed of support of the M.T.B.. It was a triple-H sort of summer day. The band took the stage about 3:25pm and played to about 5:10pm.....about 1 and 3/4 hours. The promoter got a few extra minutes out of them and 10 songs, even though this was not billed as a full-length concert.

The Set List:
01 This Ol' Cowboy... 10 min.
02 Like Good Music...5 minutes
03 Fire on the Mtn...5 minutes
04 Hillbilly Band...3 minutes
05 The Rain...5 minutes
06 Bob Away my Blues...3 min.
07 Ramblin' on my Mind...15 min
08 I Heard it in a Love Song-10
09 24 Hours @ a Time...30 min.
10 Can't You See...10 minutes

The Players in the Lineup:

01 As i mentioned earlier, Mark Emerick...lead guitarist for Commander Cody/Lost Planet Airmen...made a surprise special guest appearance, and he did a great job, just as he had done the last time i was fortunate enough to catch him participate with the M.T.B.. He really looks and plays the part very well imo!

02 Tony Heatherly...minus a significant amount of weight, but still looks as healthy as an ox, so-to-speak! The newest member, he had previously played his big bass in the Toy Caldwell Band.

03 Barry Borden...a former Outlaw purcussionist, he is the 4th most senior member.

04 Stuart Swanlund...a slide guitarist extraordinaire, and pretty good singer too....he is the 2nd most senior band member.

05 Chris Hicks...also a former Outlaw...he is the lead guitarist and a great vocalist!

06 Dave Muse...had replaced original sax/flute player Jerry Eubanks back in '96 until the end of '99. He just returned at the start of this replace Doug's nephew D. Clay Cook (who was in for 3 years, 2000-end 2002).

07 Doug Gray...the living legend HIMSELF!!!....the sole (and soul) original member lead vocalist and elder statesman for the band.

The Performance:

First song was "This Ol' Cowboy"...sung in the lead by Doug, who seemed imo to be happily wound up for this event. For this first of a 3 day string of gigs, he was thankfully about as good as he gets... Stuart provided vocal support, and Dave demonstated his awesome skills as a flutist.

Doug continued into the second tune( my favorite from the "Face Down in the Blues" album), with Dave switching to saxophone...WOW...and Chris playing harmonica. Afterward Doug thanked the many fans in attendence for their 30 years of support. He then introduced
several members of a local musical group called the Highland Rover Boys...

...and they sang lead along with him on "Fire on the Mountain" (which is probably George McCorkle's best composition imo.). Chris and Stuart backed them all up. Doug initially seemed to falter on the higher notes here, but as it progressed he was finally able reach the top on 'Thereeeee" as its closed!!!

As seems customary by now, Stuart was able to get his 3 minutes of glory on "Hillbilly Band"... singing lead and playing his slide guitar. Chris provided backup vocal and guitar support. But as i've commented in all of my past concert reviews....if there is one M.T.B. song that cries out for a fiddler....this is it!!!

Doug spent the next few minutes intoducing the band members well as Keith and David from the stage crew...and all got a roar of approval from the fans. Doug again thanked them for their loyalty over the past 30 years. He also mentioned something about a deal with Sony and "SRO" coming out before XMas. (But at this point, all that talk is starting to fall on deaf ears imo. How about more timely updates on the website under "News"...)

The fifth song of this set was a relative new one,"The Rain", written and sung by Chris. Tony, Doug and Stuart provided some nice background vocals.

Doug next sang "Bob Away My Blues"...with just Tony and Chris on guitars only.

Doug then started the seventh song slow and low, with Dave on sax and Chris on guitar. About 4 minutes in it turns uptempo...with Chris now taking over the singing, and Tony laying down some big flat lines! About 4 minutes later it slows back down again, and Dave starts playing a kick-ass sax solo that gradually builds up speed ....seemingly without him ever taking a breath of air! Amazing! When he the delight of the crowd...Stuart is then featured on his slide guitar. And then Chris jumps in on lead vocals, and wraps up the song nicely at about the mid-point of this performance.

Doug then re-emerges and gets the audience to sing "Happy Bithday" to Chris. He also tried to serenade his wife by cell phone, to have them all wish her a "Happy BDay"...apparently to no avail just then...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY RENEE from all of the!!! 21??? !!!!

Next was another surprise...Doug introduces special guest Mark Emerick...on giutar!!! OH YEA!!! He happened to have been at the previous M.T.B i had attended, so i knew the fans were in for a treat, as he had done a great job fitting into the lineup then. And thankfully he would do so again today!

Doug started it up on lead vocals...but was more than willing to let the eager fans sing right along too! Dave once again demonstrated his excellent skills as a flutist. Here, however, the band seemed to let doug have this song for himself and the fans!!!

"24 Hours at a Time" was next, and was the longest tune. Doug stated it up with Stuart and Chris on backup vocals and Mark continuing on his guitar. Dave once again played an outstanding flute solo!!!....he just does not seem to come up for air !!! Next....Tony lays down 2 minutes of heavy bass thunder, followed by his partner in the rythem section BB does a 1 minute thing on drums!

Next up was Mark on his guitar...and he spent several minutes alone....and probably performed the best guitar solo of the entire show!!!
Stuart then followed on his slide for a few minutes, with then Mark returning and Chris jumping in too for a 3-way guitar lineup! Then Mark and Stuart dropped off, leaving chris to do his own brief solo. And then Dave returns for the wrap-up, this time back on his sax...with Doug/Tony/Staurt and Chris singing right into the 5pm curfew cut-off!!!

Of course Doug wants to keep the fans he holds out for one more, the signature anthem "Can't You See". He starts it off , then lets Stuart run with it, who then passes it to Chris.

All-the-while the promoter and police chief have gotten onto the stage...looking a bit frustrated....

But the bands rolls on...with the support of the audience...with the center-stage, 4-way guitar lineup of Tony, Stuart, Chris and Mark!!!

With Doug under a lot of management pressure at this point now....Dave comes in at the end after about 10 minutes of good interplay between the band and the crowd... you could say it was FANTASTIC!!!


01 Dave Muse is just brillant on his instruments. Its good to have you back, even though Clay had done an admirable job in your absence. But please... don't ever leave again!!!

02 Mark....i repeat that you were good @ Dover last December...and today you proved that was not a fluke!!! IMO you really seem to look, feel and play this southern-rock guitarist part....even though you are from upstate NY!
I hope to see you again at a future M.T.B. show!

03 look great! And compared to the last time i saw you @ Dover, you seem to be feeling better too ??? !!!
I'm sure Toy is proud of you!

04 usual, just as solid as a rock. You are a lean, mean drumming machine!!! You and Tony are doing a great pro job as the rythem section!!

05 Stuart...As i've stated in all of my prevoius reviews...i hope you get more singing time besides "Hillbilly Band"! Good slide guitar playing....i bet your cd's are selling well!

06 Chris....i was thrilled to see you again with Mark, since you both seem to a good pairing. Excellent vocals and guitar...and i hope your cd's are also selling in big #'s!

07 Keith and the other M.T.B. crew members....probably the best in the biz! Thanks for putting on a good show without any hitches! Beware that you might need water and an electic generator for your Cleveland gig, but no worries in Vegas!

08 Doug...i saved the best for last! You are a master of ad-libs.... i won't ever forget you saying ..."that last shot was GOOOD"...after getting tongue-tied talking about "SRO"!!! You seemed very much a people-person today, perhaps because you were pleasantly surprised by the large turn-out + feedback???!!!
I estimate there were at least two thousand people at this show, which would make it the largest i've seen since my initial '84 concert @ FDU in NJ, when 10's of thousands showed up (most wihout paying!).

I'm glad you seem to have decided to keep Mark around for periodic guest've always seemed to have a good eye/nose for talent!!! The band seems to be getting along without Clay...i sure hope your nephew is doing ok! Perhaps you might have him as a special guest some day???

Concerning the upcoming projects ...they seem to have been talked about for quite some time now. I'm sure the fans have a lot of anxiety for some concrete ACTION...


Marshall Tucker Band
with special guest Mark Emerick of The Commander Cody Band
29th Annual Milford, Ct. Oyster Festival ~ August 16, 2003

"Its 6 o'clock in the morning, The sun is on the rise." The Tucker Boy's will be jammin under New England summer skies. The "Blackout of 2003" shut down the entire northeast power grid on Thursday 8/14/2003, which threatened the event. 50 million people lost power from Ottowa to Ohio. We had been anticipating this festival for quite some time, as we had not seen MTB since the Baker Ballroom show in Dec. of 2002. As most of you know, the lineup has changed since then. We were anxious, and got off to and early start. We would stake our claim to a piece of land just off center stage left. The show was 6 hours away and we had time to kill. Frisbees, footballs plenty to eat and an ice-cold beer helped to beat the heat. Lot's of free music including local bands, Daria Musk Trio, Ethan Chandler and Bunji, Chris Berardo and The DesBerardos and Bad Animals.

As show time approached, the crowd started to get thick and it was hot. The sun thankfully could never really get through the clouds and a thunderstorm would always loom. However, there was Fire on the Mountain and Lightnin in the Air and it was just Beyond the Horizon.

The boys kicked it off with This Old Cowboy and Doug was sounding good. Any doubts about who would handle the flute arrangements were quickly put to rest as newest member (2nd time around) David Muse showed off his talents. The guitars tested the reach of the speaker system and they surveyed the crowd. Next, I Like Good Music, a great number off the Face Down in the Blues album. Chris Hicks had a harmonica handy and did a nice job. Doug then introduced a couple of young vocalists from Hartford Ct. called The Highland Rovers. They would help with background vocals on Fire on the Mountain. Stuart Swanlund took control and put on his slide for this all time great song. David Muse continued with his strong flute solos and stage presence. Next, Stuart's gonna do a little "Chickin Pickin" along with great vocals on Hillbilly Band. More great flute work.

Then Doug Gray introduced all the members of the band including Drummer B.B. Borden and a svelte Tony Heatherly (less 65 lbs) and announced a new 5 year deal with Sony. Two albums are to come of this shortly, we hope. Next up, Chris Hicks lead vocals on his own The Rain, this song will be a hit from The Hitman. Now slowing things down for Bob Away My Blues with Doug's vocals and Chris doing a little strumming. And so ends the warm up. Ramblin, Ramblin on my mind, the Sax intro really puts a buzz in the crowd and Doug sings the song in a slower than typical tempo, when you think the song is over Chris Hicks takes control and rocks the crowd with a blistering and precise guitar solo along with his great vocals. David Muse takes his turn and that old Alto Sax gets a terrific work out, Swanlund puts on the slide not to be outdone he sets up Hicks for a great finish. The crowd now knows all the pieces are in place and we are having a ball. Doug picks up a cell phone to call his wife Renee at home and wish her a Happy Birthday. Chris Hicks celebrated his last week and the entire crowd joins in to sing Happy Birthday to both.

As mentioned earlier the last time we saw MTB was The Baker Ballroom Show. That night Mark Emerick of The Commander Cody Band showed, up to jam with the boys. As luck would have it he was here today, only this time he had his own 1955 Gibson Les Paul Special and that could only mean one thing. It is going to get rowdy. "Time to make some Racket". Racket as defined by Webster's, to indulge in noisy sport or diversion; carouse. "Soundin Good".
Heard It In A Love Song, played by the band, sung by the crowd and we sounded great too, especially my Baritone parts. However, the big number for the night was next.

24 Hours At A Time. This was a 30-minute jam, which included everyone. Once again, fantastic Sax work by David Muse, Stuart and Chris control the tempo and bring it down low for a Bass solo by Tony Heatherly and a Drum solo by BB. As they jam, Doug Gray decides to pour a pound of cayenne pepper into this gumbo and he coaxes Emerick to center stage. Emerick proceeds to rip off a 5-minute solo that burned like the Connecticut sun and had us all screaming for more. The band had the crowd at a fever pitch and the 3-guitar lineup of Chris, Stu and Mark began trading lick after lick after red-hot lick. The intensity was so high and the precision so tight that this group has to play together more often. I know you folks down South would love this and us Northerners are very generous and would love to share it with you. It is something truly unique and brings me back to my misspent youth. These guys love their work.

Finally the cops showed up and made Doug put an end to the show but not before the always-inspirational Can't You See. Doug took vocals as well as Stu, Chris and a young girl who Doug had brought on stage to help the band. All 7 of us in our party who attended the concert had a terrific time. It was unanimous that The Marshall Tucker Band sounded great and we enjoyed every minute of the show. Special thanks to Doug Gray for having the courage to take chances and developing a great ability to recognize talent both inside and outside of the band. Remember to read Gritz and go see a concert. The Marshall Tucker Band will lead this Southern Rock Revival and you do not want to miss it.

-Merle Zeibel

Marshall Tucker Band-Richard Seibel
Baker Ballroom
Dover, New Jersey
Friday, December 13, 2002
Oh what a night. The Baker Ballroom is a beautiful turn of the century Vaudevillian show palace with marble stair banisters and intricate frescos on the walls. The venue has 3 levels set up in a way that makes concert going a pleasure. The people at Create a Vibe do a terrific job. The ballroom is very comfortable, the folks are friendly and the evening was hassle free.
The opening act is a young group from Winston-Salem, North Carolina named The Emma Gibbs Band. This is a group of young and talented musicians who performed many of their own tunes and also mixed in some older classics. The song that impressed me the most was "Ophelia" the old "The Band" number. It was good to hear this song and I had not realized it was still in the back of my memory. Emma Gibbs highlights a harmonica player, mandolin & trumpet, guitar, stand up bass and full drum set. All did a great job, go see them they are very unique and talented.

But the night was to belong to The Marshall Tucker Band. As I get older I begin to realize more and more that you can't turn back the clock. That things change everyday and you have to deal with it. This band has come together in a big way and will be around for a very long time to come. It's Friday the 13th and we don't know how lucky we are yet.

For the next song "I Like Good Music," Chris Hicks handed over his gold Gibson to Emerick and he grabbed his harp. They rocked this song and the evening was off to a very rowdy start.Up north we still love our Southern Rock but it is difficult tocome bythese days. It appears to take place mostly in warmer climates below the Mason-Dixon line. But when a show like this comes to town you have to be glad you were there and you fans down south should be jealous. The guitars were so hot the ice was melting off the marquee outside the theater and the crowd loved it. Emerick took a break and Tucker continued with some old standards as well as some new songs. "The Rain" is sure to be a hit. "Midnight Promises" "Hillbilly Band" "Ramblin." Doug and Clay performed "Asking too Much" and "Desert Skies." Then Emerick came back out borrowing Clay Cooks Fender. The line up of Stuart, Chris and Mark, with BB on drums, Tony on bass and Clay going back and forth from Pedal steel, Sax, flute and keyboards was outstanding. Doug Grey stood back and watched like the cat that ate the canary. All the musicians had to feel good about this show as it was evident they had hit a homerun. Smokin guitar solos rang out all over the building and the guys were having a blast. There was so much chicken pickin going on. I thought I was in a South Carolina henhouse. "I'll be Loving You", "In My Own Way," and "Everyday I have the Blues" set the stage for the final number, the all time favorite "Can't You See." This was a great show in every way.

I was proud to be in attendance for this event, my kids loved it the fans loved it. The venue was terrific, Shane sold a lot of T-shirts and I know the musicians enjoyed it. Visit the web sites, go see a show and tell a friend to read Gritz.


Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
Town Crier, Pawling, NY
December 2002
The Christmas Day Snowstorm of 2002 has left its remains piled high along both sides of Route 22 in Pawling, New York. Our Model A Lincoln was pointed North and traveling at a good clip. My eyes scanned the road searching for the Towne Crier Cafe. I spotted the roadhouse off the starboard side and prepared the vehicle for what was to be a classic Ace Ventura fishtail parking maneuver. When the machine finally came to a rest, I was noticed the flashing red lights in the rear view mirror. Two patrol cars were chasing down that familiar Cadillac we had passed some miles back.

Phil Ciganer, who greets us at the door, owns the Towne Crier. This place has been serving up live music for 30 years and has included the likes of, Levon Helm, John Hammond, Dan Hicks, Roomful of Blues and others. The venue has a rustic appeal, the folks are very friendly and the wait staff is attentive. We are seated next to the stage. As we eat our meal of pizza and burritos, I begin to scrutinize the Roland electric piano at center stage. This instrument screams experience. It is impossible not to notice the scratches and dents as well as the many decals and bumper stickers from far off places. Like an old semi truck I wonder what type payload this rig can haul.

As show time approached, the musicians took their positions. George Frayne, the Commander, enters helped by the use of a cane. The Lost Planet Airmen test their instruments. This flight is ready for takeoff. No warm up slow song stuff, these guys go right into a brand of diesel smoke belching oil spitting good time boogie-woogie, swing, rock and roll.
House of Blue Lights, They Threw Me Out of the Band, Smoke Smoke Smoke,Rock that Boogie, Truck Drivin Man, What's the Matter Now?, Don't Let Go, Lightning Bar, We Used to Ride, Cell Block #9, Back to Tennessee, It Should Have Been Me, Oh Mama Mama, Lone Ranger, Don't Let Go. The crowd, now liquored up and rowdy, begged for Hot Rod Lincoln and they got it. Next, Seeds and Stems and 8 to the Bar. However being the critic I am, I required more than just 18 great songs and I got it. Too Much Fun, searing licks screamed from Mark Emericks' turquoise Fender Telecaster, Rick Mullen pumped the Bass relentlessly and kept the musicians in line, the shuffles and crashes of the skins and cymbals were handled expertly by Steve Barbuto, John Wingren on Pedal Steel winding and unwinding reaching new heights trading with Emerick. Then there was the Commander with the old Roland, plinking, plunking, swinging and jamming through it all. The magic is still there evident to all in attendance. The theme song Lost in the Ozone ended the flight. When the lights came on there were smiles all around from the kids to their grandparents. It was clear these guys enjoy their craft.

After the show the Commander held court, Emerick sold t-shirts. Barbuto & Mullen signed autographs and Wingren talked shop with fellow steel player Tiny Olson who was in the audience. We left the venue melancholy in the realization that the "Hot Rod Lincoln Tour 2002" had ended for us. However, the band reassured that the 2003 "Too Much Fun Tour" would be even better. As we pulled out of Pawling late that night with the moon and the stars shining bright, we knew we had been treated all-right and drove that Lincoln into the night. You can bet any chance we get we'll run, to see these guys and have too much fun.
-Merle Ziebel

Nov 8, 2002 - Docksider's - Erie, Pa

Well our journey took us to a small venue for a evening of some great boogie woogie music that can't be beat. Playing since the mid-60s the Commander Cody band took its name from a 1950 movie by the same name. After graduating in 1968 George Frayne (The Commander) took a job as an art instructor at the university of Wisconsin but returned to Ann Arbor every weekend to play gigs. Relocating to the cultural hotbed of San Francisco later that year they played many shows and were even involved in the 68 Berkeley Riots at one point.

Recording and touring has been a staple sine then for the commander and the lost planet airmen. Returning back to the Saratoga Springs NY area in the late 80s the band these days consists of a great group of top notch musicians .The Commander on keyboards and vocal,Mark Emerick on lead guitar and vocals who has played with many greats including Gregg Allman,Dan Toler and others. On Bass guitar is Rick Mullens and last but not least is drummer Steve Barbuto. Together they put out a very tight and great sound that will delight every fan from 8 to 80.

Our show opened with the always fun ,Too Much Fun and went into the classic Riot in cell block # 9 They played two sets of classics like Smoke Smoke Smoke that Cigarette , Rock that Boogie,and on the country rock classic Truck Driving Man Mark was featured on vocals and some searing guitar licks. There were many other really great songs included in the show like Good Morning Judge dedicated to our fine law enforcement folks,and Midnight on the strand. Steve 's vocals were featured on Don't Let Go and the guitar work of mark on What's the matter now made it clear that this band is ready to rock and roll your night away. They did a 1949 Ray Charles number named Messing Around that showcased the commander keyboard talents. The night just picked up pace and the classics Down to seeds and stems again blues always a crowd favorite brought out the hoots and hollers from all in attendance.
The band built up to there best known song HOT ROD LINCOLN and as the crowd danced and sang in unison it was evident that the band are happy doing what they do, and as a group play some great music together. As the show wound down we heard the classic Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar and for the encore the anthem for so many of the baby boomers in attendance,"LOST IN THE OZONE".

This group is as talented as any we have seen and will delight Despite many miles and personal changes if you get a chance to hear this band play you will not be disappointed. Its a chance to hear some great music and meet a bunch of really down to earth musicians that enjoy what they do and enjoy talking to the fans. It's boogie woogie rock n roll at it's best
-Rick & Joann Pierce

The Two River Times - October 18th, 2002
Music Scene Night Grooves, By Uncle Mike

While most of the music fans that filed into the Count Basie in Red Bank on the night of October 18th were there to hear headliner, The Charlie Daniels Band, by the end of their performance opening act, the Commander Cody Band, had easily won the crowd over.

Opening up the night's festivities with one of their signature boogie woogies entitled, "Too Much Fun" (hot pedal steel & cool keys), Commander Cody, aka George Frayne (lead vocals/keys), along with bandmates Mark Emerick (lead g./vocals), Rich Mullen (bass), Steve Barbuto (drums/vocals) and John Wingren (pedal steel g.), treated the audience to their uniquely uplifting style of lost in the ozone countrified rock and roll with inspired renditions of "It Shoulda Been Me" (smooth as silk/M.E. a monster on lead g.), "We Used To Ride" (Commander's ode to the bikers/crowd fave), "Oh Mama Mama" (another killer l.g./boys in the groove y'all), "Truck Driv'n Man" (great twanger), "What's The Matter Now?" (Mark's best vocal as J.W. steps up on pedal steel), "Don't Let Go" (Steve nails lead v./oh baby/way cool band #), "Lightnin' Bar" (brand new country ditty), "Paid In Advance" (C.C. shines/big band #/another crowd pleaser), "Hot Rod Lincoln" (classic Cody/ Mark rules) and "Beat Me Daddy Eight To the Bar" (whole band rocks/partial standing o).

Hey. Like I said back in August, Commander Cody hasn't lost a thing! His present day lineup, featuring Mark Emerick on electric guitar, is absolutely, positively Lost Planet worthy. Add to this the upbeat bass play of Rich Mullen, Steve Barbuto's big time d's. and John Wingren's stellar pedal steel, and you have one hell of a band! Take it from me, Commander Cody and the boys are much much more than just that Hot Rod Lincoln!

The Two River Times - August 16th, 2002
Music Scene Night Grooves, By Uncle Mike

Well this week's column is about a blast from the past, the Commander Cody Band, and the best show of the summer so far, Cracker's performance at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Before Mother Nature took center stage in Red Bank on Friday, August 2nd, and washed out the remainder of the scheduled concert, opening act the Commander Cody Band stormed in from the furthest reaches of the ozone and taught a few lessons of their own at the Count Basie Theatre. With tongue firmly planted in cheek and both feet solidly entrenched behind his ever present keyboard, Commander Cody, (aka, George Frayne) and his most excellent band featuring Mark Emerick (lead guitar/vocals), Rich Mullen (bass), Steve Barbuto (drums/vocals) and John Wingren (pedal steel guitar), ripped through revved up renditions of "Too Much Fun" (way cool tune & lead g.), "Riot In Cell Block #9" (hot lead g./big cheers), "Rock That Boogie" (C.B. would be proud), "Lone Ranger" (degradation & sin in the old west), "Truck Drivin' Man" (big time twanger with M.E. on l.v's.), "Don't Let Go" (oh yeah the boys can play), "Oh Momma Momma" (killer keys/hell of a boogie woogie), "Hot Rod Lincoln" (band rolls) and "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar" (great band jam). Look. This was free spirited high flyin', good timin', rock 'n' roll played the way it used to be! Commander Cody hasn't lost any of his wit, irreverence nor musical talents from his early days. And his band mates are most certainly Lost Planet worthy! Like the Commander sez, He's not dead! He's just livin' in upstate New York! Rock on Commander! Rock On!

Communications Media - Jean-Paul's Corner

Veteran Radio host Jean-Paul Tertocha is the host of the popular internet radio program, "Jean-Paul's Things to Hear" and former member of local/unsigned band "The Arrowmatics". He may be contacted via his website
Jean-Paul's Corner by Jean-Paul from

March 7th of 2002 marked the first time I was able to see Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen in person. This is significant to me since I have been listening to the band's music since the early seventies. The concert was webcast by WKRP.FM Entertainment Inc., in association with SGI Radio Productions, which is a division of Scotty's Music of St. Louis Missouri in the USA. Michael Scott, of SGI and Scotty's, did a fine job of putting the show together. The concert, if you want to call it that, was held in the Holiday Inn on Lindbergh in St Louis Missouri USA. And when I pulled up to the location that night, I experienced a bit of disappointment. Commander Cody in a hotel bar? Is that musical justice? Why would someone who has played national concerts want to play in a bar? To commune with the people is why. Younger folks who listen and watch the glitter boys and girls on television would do well by seeing an old rocker like Commander Cody perform. The music and spirit obviously comes from the soul with musicians like Commander Cody. Not from a script like the weasel music corporations promote.

Although the songs, and for that matter some of the musicians, are getting mighty old, the power is still there. Commander Cody started out in 1968, and has been rocking the world ever since. Earlier I brought up the question of why would someone like Commander Cody want to play in a bar. A nice one of course, but a bar non-the-less. Well, the Commander and the band are one of the people. The band and the Commander did not leave during breaks. They went out with the people. And of course the audience loved it. The Commander himself is a consummate entertainer that has never heard of the word aloof. As a matter of fact, the first break lasted over 45 minutes because Commander Cody was busily signing autographs. He never once turned down a person, and made everyone there know that he was pleased to entertain them. While listening to the music I also watched the audience. They were enthralled by the band and the music. A truly enthusiastic crowd.

The Lost Planet Airmen on this tour consisted of Steve Barbuto on drums, Mark Emerick on guitar, Don Curtis on Steel Guitar, and one of the best and most talented bass players I have ever heard or seen, Rick Mullen. The tour still goes on. So if you want to see a classic rock oll act, check out a Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen concert coming close to you. You won't regret it!