Iggy - and Berry Gordy - would surely approve.
Simon Morgan 2004-11-22
From the town that spawned both The Stooges and Tamla Motown explodes this post-modern punk-soul Molotov. On previous albums Mink Rat Or Rabbit and Love, Life And Leaving The Detroit Cobras recast 50s and 60s r'n'b in their own angular image. Baby follows suit, with thirteen songs by the genre's great and good such as Bobby Womack, Naomi Neville and Allen Toussaint getting a turbo-charged, Motor City makeover. Big fans of The Detroit Cobras include The White Stripes who'd surely green-light this 31-minutes of cool minimalism.
Opener "Slipping Around" comes over as early Who fronted by Chrissie Hynde at her edgiest. Against a firestorm of crashing chords, Rachel Nagy - reportedly a one-time exotic dancer -sings of illicit liaisons, while the backing vocals whoop like a wood-full of owls. Next up is "I Wanna Holler (But The Town's Too Small)", a rockabilly-tinged tale of love that daren't shout its name.
Certainly, The Detroit Cobras arent the first to fuse fuzzed-up sonics with tales of love, lust and loss. Reprised here as "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand", Russell and Farrell's "Baby Let Me Take You Home" was a 1964 hit for The Animals. The Stones, The Kinks and their acolytes all once dealt in scuzzed-up r&b standards. And with lips curled just like Jagger's, the Cobras capture much of their idols' insouciance.
GuitaristsMaribel Restripo and Steve Nawara provide a take-no-prisoners offensive throughout. On Steve Cropper's Stax-spiked "Weak Spot", Nagy's naggingly sweet delivery evokes nascent Blondie, while the breakneck "Everybody's Going Wild" is exactly what it says on the tin. Other peaks include the high-contrast ballad "It's Raining", and a take of Billie Jean Horton's "Just Can't Please You" that drips sleazy guitar licks.
Of course many rock aficionados don't take covers bands seriously, so The Detroit Cobras may struggle for acclaim and exposure. Then again, maybe not. "Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat)" proves the band can write rabble-rousers of their own. And Coca-Cola have already snaffled the album's final cut, "Cha Cha Twist", for their TV ads.One thing's for sure, Iggy - and Berry Gordy - would surely approve.