Prior to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, and even into the early 60s, covering songs was common practice. It’s less so now, unless of course you happen to be The Detroit Cobras, who have unapologetically built their entire catalog (with rare exceptions) around covers. And they do it spectacularly.
Formed in Michigan in 1994, singer Rachel Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez are the constant heart and soul of an ever-changing line-up of tour ensembles and session musicians. Some call Nagy the goddess of garage rock, but to me the duo are masters—or mistresses, if you will—of the cover song, lifting forgotten pop chart tunes and lesser known R&B nuggets from obscurity into the light with their own brand of grit, sass, and style.
“Cha Cha Twist,” originally written and performed by Brice Coefield in 1960, appears on their first album, Mink, Rat or Rabbit (1998). The song has also been performed by the likes Connie Francis and Paul Gallis, but when The Detroit Cobras do it their way, nobody does it better!
You can learn more about The Detroit Cobras here:
About the Curator - Jane Asylum
When my mother wasn’t walking around the house belting out early 60s’ girl-band lyrics, she was collecting compilation albums, specifically from K-Tel. She may not have had the most refined taste, but she enjoyed variety, or at least that’s what I recall. I poured over them all, preferring some sounds to others. And when I found the perfect song, I’d play it over and over until ready to perform my latest theatrical dance incarnation.
With my family all gathered on floral grey sofas in our basement apartment, I’d set the vinyl on the turntable of a brown fibreboard stereo and not-so-carefully lower the needle. It would pop, screech, and crackle before any music spilled from the weaved-wheat speakers. My toes would press, lift, and sweep through the blue-green shag carpet, my arms would flail, and the music would bass and treble through my soul.
I’m no longer that 6-year-old doing private-audience interpretive dance routines, but my passion remains just as intense. I have no special superpowers as a curator — just my love of sounds and lyrics that transport, transform, move, and make your body groove.
15 November 2021
When you adore a band and practically everything they’ve done, it can be a bit difficult to decide on one single track to feature on a playlist, but “Drive Your Car” became a no-brainer.
13 October 2021
English band Free’s “I’m a Mover” is music to my ears, and it’s the track I want to listen to while driving my pony on a stretch of cracked grey highway over green hills.
13 September 2021
Any track from this band would pair well with Chuck Berry’s “My Mustang Ford,” but I want to drive into a more or less psychedelic blues and garage rock direction. This makes “Lying Eyes” the perfect fit.