Detroit Cobras

The saving grace of any good cover band is to not go for the all-too-obvious hit. Credit Motor City's turbo-sleaze outfit the Detroit Cobras for limiting their self-penned material with the full understanding that they'll never write songs as soulful or enduring as the ones by Otis Redding, Bobby Womack or Marvin Gaye. Credit them further for resurrecting vintage R&B obscurities from the likes of Clyde McPhatter, Mary Wells, Solomon Burke and the Marvelettes, then customizing them into souped-up, garage-fueled versions that even a knucklehead like Ted Nugent could appreciate. In their umpteenth incarnation, the Cobras still showcase the husky vocals and bluesy growl of former exotic dancer Rachel Nagy, a feral, chain-smoking bad girl whose solid foundation in Motown and dragster rawk makes for inspired spectacles steeped in sweat and raunch. Updating the Stax-infused sounds of yesteryear for today's bar-hugging gearhead, this White Stripes-approved five-piece might not be the freshest thing to come off the assembly line. But as retro-soul cover bands go, it's one of the most electrifying.


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