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Life, Love & Leaving

The Detroit Cobras

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Album Review

Admittedly, the Detroit Cobras are simply a cover band. But with their release Life, Love and Leaving on the Long Beach label Sympathy for the Record Industry (the label responsible for the White Stripes' incredible international success), they've been given a bit of credence and an opportunity to showcase their amazing homegrown chops. These 14 songs, all Motown, soul, and good ole rock & roll standards, are the perfect material to bring this Detroit garage rock combo to life. Guitarists Dante Aliano and Maribel Restrepo set the frets afire with seething twangs and fuzz-box chord progressions. And singer Rachael Nagy attacks each song with aplomb, like Janis Joplin crossed with Mary Wells — a hearty bar band crooner with showstopping resplendence. In fact, Nagy's most impressive track on the record is a cover of Wells' "Bye Bye Baby." Other standouts include her stunningly sincere renditions of Jackie Deshanon's "He Did It" and Otis Redding's "Shout Bama Lama." Like labelmates the White Stripes, the Cobras' sound is stripped down to '60s proportions so that the production takes a back-seat to heart-rending voices and screaming guitars. In this regard, Detroit mainstay Al Sutton triumphs, producing a minimal gem of an album. Life, Love and Leaving is clearly one of the best records of the Detroit garage rock scene. Though the Cobras may never really get their due in the shadow of so many more flashy, press-friendly Motown rockers, they have the much-coveted gift of musicality that sets them apart from most of their noisy neighbors.

Customer Reviews

Really? I'm the first to review this?

Very surprised this album hasn't been reviewed and highly rated previously! If you like soulful garage rock this album is perfect. Also love Baby and Tied and True

Amazing voice, amazing energy

If only for "Hey Sailor" and "Shout Bama Lama" EVERYONE should hear this stuff. ("You Don't Knock" as well.) Rachael Nagy has one of the most perfect voices ever, and her phrasing, energy, attitude and sense of rythym are pretty much the pinnacle for pure rock and roll soul extraction. Why she isn't sitting in with everyone will forever be a mystery to me. She's that good, and she knows how to work a band from the mic. Deserves much more attention.

Cobras' Best

Man I loved this when it first came out, played it to death, saw the Cobras whenever they came to town. Rachel Nagy has the coolest, sexiest, smokiest, bluesiest female voice in rock. I've never understood why she's not a huge star, a 21st-century Janis Joplin. Maybe she doesn't want to be, Anyway, this LP still sounds great. Classic r&b meets garage rock, with old-school Detroit grittiness. Pretty much every track is a winner. They're still great, all these years later, and all their LPs have been fine fine fine, but I still think this is their finest.


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
Life, Love & Leaving, The Detroit Cobras
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Customer Ratings