Tag Archives: The Detroit Cobras

270. The Dirtbombs – “Ultraglide in Black”

As usual I’ve been slack in keeping my eye on my vinyl collection. I missed at least two Ds. Here’s the first of them.

You may recall my delight with the work of The Detroit Cobras. Well here’s some more Michiganites with a love of old soul, and a propensity to get down and dirty.

The Dirtbombs don’t usually do covers, but this release is a bit of a tribute to icons of soul music.

Mick Collins has a fantastic soulful voice, but with a garage sensibility. He’s not concerned with perfect pitch or lusciousness. Instead it’s about the energy and party vibe. He’s more at the James Brown/Screaming Jay Hawkins end of the spectrum than that of his clear idol – Stevie Wonder.

The album highlights include a grungy version of Wonder’s Living in the City and Thin Lizzy’s Ode to a Black Man which is much more amped up than this acoustic version:

OK, here’ it is in full live band format:

As you can see it is four-to-the-floor fun. I love having these sort of records to spice a dull Thursday evening. Add these guys to the growing list of artists I should see when next they cross my path.

File under: Get your motor running…

227. The Detroit Cobras – “Tied and True”

As Christmas comes hurtling towards us, and our thoughts turn to the challenge of finding acceptable presents for all and sundry.

Might I recommend this album from one of Detroit’s finest as a highly suitable and life-changing gift for a young-un in your world?

By a youngster, I mean a boy (or preferably a girl) in the mid-to-late single figures.  Instead of polluting their mind and stunting their emotional growth with a Cyrus disk, offer them this gem.

The album includes the usual mix of bluesy garage soul and rock.  It’s nice and clean sounding, but with enough oomph to get the child gyrating like that girl from Little Miss Sunshine.

There isn’t any swearing (that I picked up), and there are tunes about kittens (Leave My Kitten Alone), puppets (…On a String) and road safety (Green Light).

Of course, down the track said munchkin will discover the concept of double entendre.  I’m not sure if that’ll happen before or after they ask why the lady of the front cover has her legs tied together.  Irrespective, such revelations are an important rite of passage which you should be proud to have prompted.

A particularly inquisitive child might then chase up the originals, such as this gem from Bettye LaVette:

File under: They want it so you should put a a bow on it

226. The Detroit Cobras – “Baby”

Back I return to the big party that is the Detroit Cobras recorded output.

This CD offers even more bang for your hard-earned, as it contains a full album, plus an earlier 7 track EP (hence two album covers).

The party here is a little more sedate and chilled than the earlier soirees. There are more slower, soul tracks and a little less rock-n-roll.

That is a shame, as the garage efforts have been (and are) typically the more vital and engaging tracks on their albums.

Actually, most of the feistier tunes are on the EP section of the CD, so if you buy the UK version of Baby you may be getting a CD much closer to a Bettye LaVette release than the usual Southern Culture on the Skids-ish fiesta.

Of course, both of this comparisons are compliments.

A favourite car game of my missus and I is to build fantasy music festivals and great gig lineups. My one for today is these Cobras, and the aforementioned SCOTS, with perhaps the Black Diamond Heavies as the bridging sound… that’d work a treat.

File under: Partisome progreny

224. The Detroit Cobras – “Life, Love And Leaving”

When you’re onto a good thing, why wouldn’t you stick with it?

The Detroit Cobras nailed a brilliant idea on their debut, and they repeat their effort here.

Again, the tracks are reasonably obscure ones from the early days of rock-n-roll.  The covers are executed adeptly and the result is a very coherent and engaging listen.

The final track on this album, Otis Redding’s Shout Bama Lama, is a ripper.  The vocals are irresistable and the tune just makes me want to time travel back to some dingey backroad shack in the early 60s and see these guys in that context.

I am very disappointed that I have yet to see these guys in the flesh.  They played the perfect venue – The Tote – a couple of years ago.  The gals in this outfit are just like the sort of intimidating women who have frequented both sides of the bar there for years.

Anyway, back to the album in question. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of the debut  and is a little too produced.  But you should still own it…

File under: Life is good

223. The Detroit Cobras – “Mink Rat Or Rabbit”

For those unfamiliar with the Detroit Cobras schtick, they’re a cover band (ouch) with a repertoire of old rock and R&B tracks.

Before you run screaming from your computer with images of Human Nature, Bublé and Rod Stewart turning your stomach, fear not. These gals and guys do not transform the classics into musical zombies set to suck the brains from listeners come Mothers Day.

Instead they run a veritable reincarnation business, taking forgotten gems to a higher plane of existence. The tracks are wheeled into the garage where I presume this band lives and practices (only by night), and come out the other side smeared in grease and sweat, but sounding fantastic.

I‘ve heard very few of the tunes in their original form, which is a clever strategy in by the band terms of no point of reference. Irrespective, the album is seamless (other than having to be flipped over halfway). The tracks sound like the belong together… and to this band. The vocals (and backing) are sexy, soulful and tight without sounding slick.

Hittin’ on Nothing is the track Sharon Jones should cover now. Putty (in Your Hands) has irresistable rhythms, and the opening track is just damn fun. Check out the vid (the only one they’ve ever done):

(Did you spot the White Stripe? Hint: she’s in a red hood)

File under: Guaranteed to get you hopping