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Album Review

While plenty of acts in the current nuevo garage universe strive to capture the lean, funky snazz of classic R&B sides, the Detroit Cobras have a different way of going about it than most — instead of trying to write songs that sound like vintage soul tunes, they just dig up vintage soul tunes you (probably) haven't heard of and infuse 'em their own brand of guitar-based swagger (as well as Rachel Nagy's tough-gal vocals). Depending on your point of view, the Detroit Cobras are either a great cover band or an original group who embrace a purist's approach to classic R&B while adding their own perspective to the style. On their third full-length album, Baby, they unfortunately sound more like the former than the latter — there's no denying that this band has a great feel for their material, they've picked a solid set of tunes (and even written one themselves, with the help of Greg Cartwright from Reigning Sound), and Nagy (always the Cobras's greatest asset) is in fine voice. But the bottom line is as good as this stuff it, it sounds a little too clean and neat for its own good, without the full measure of sweat and raunch this music needs to really get over, and while the Cobras know and love their chosen genre, on this set they don't cross the line from playing other folks' music really well into making these songs their own, which is what makes all the difference when taking this approach. And it doesn't bode well that the album's sole original, "Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat)" (written by Nagy, guitarist Mary Restrepo and Greg Cartwright of Reigning Sound, who also contributes guitar and helped produce), is easily the weakest song here. Baby is a good album from a better-than-average group, but it's hard to say if this stuff is really going to matter to anyone a few years down the line, except as a guide to filling out your record collection. [The 2005 Bloodshot edition features bonus tracks.]

Customer Reviews

Baby Plus One! YEAH!

It's really two releases for the price of one. Tracks 13-21 are the "Seven Easy Pieces" EP. I'll talk about both releases separately. "Baby," The Cobras' third release, is as much fun as the other two, but it is not their best. However, contained on this release are some of the best Cobras songs ever released including an original. Tracks like "Mean Man," "Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat)," "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand," "It's Raining," and "Baby Help Me" REALLY stand out. The others are either skippable (only one, actually) or are pretty good...and that ain't bad! This one's a real rocker and will defintely have you taping your toes and singing the choruses for days to come. Don't miss it, the good outweighs what little bad there is in spades! "Seven Easy Pieces," on the other hand, is sublimely perfect. Every cut hits the nail on the head. Its rock and roll heaven cut into seven pieces. It rocks. It rolls. It even swoons at one point, and, OH MAN, does it swoon (Silver and Gold [When I Get Like This]). Bloodshot Records made a damned smart move appending this to "Baby." Don't think; buy this release.

I Love the Cobras

The Video of "Cha Cha twist" that is included with the CD is great. The Detriot Cobras have it. I dont really know what "it" is but I want more. I cant wait to see them live.

Cobras Rock

great, funky sound

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

One of the earliest groups to emerge from the Detroit garage rock scene, the Detroit Cobras developed a reputation as the Midwest's finest (and most distinctive) cover band — while the bandmembers devoted themselves to performing other people's material rather than recycling established hits, the Detroit Cobras dug deep into the well of vintage R&B and primitive rock & roll sides, building an individual identity out of lost classics from the past which they modified to fit their swaggering...
Full Bio
Baby, The Detroit Cobras
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