The Detroit Cobras, Tied and True

Erick Zeidenberg

By Erick Zeidenberg

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Detroit Cobras have planted themselves at the top of the Detroit garage rock heap by digging up old soul and R&B tunes, dusting them off and adding enough swagger to produce music that pays tribute to the forebears of their sound while at the same time creating something that's crackling and new. Wrapping up the whole package is the sultry attitude of singer Rachael Nagy, which reeks of whiskey-soaked, I-live-in-the-hours-when-the-rest-of-the-world-is-long-asleep sex appeal.

Crackling new versions of the old soul and R&B tunes you already love from the best garage rock band Detroit has to offer.

Tied and True boasts a healthy dose of the rave-ups that the Cobras are so good at pumping out: their rumbling take on Little Willie John's “Leave My Kitten Alone” (later popularized by the Beatles as a skiffle jam), Tammi Terrell's admonishment of a doubtful partner, “(If You Don't Think) You Better Change," and the country-tinged stomp all over Lead Belly's “On a Monday.” On the Flirtations'”Nothing But a Heartache,” they open the door to the garage a wee bit and let a little bit of soul to get into the mix.

Tied and True

The Detroit Cobras

The Cobras show that they can also take it down a bit, as they do in the lounge-ified resignation of Betty Lavette's "You'll Never Change" and the slinky ode to helplessness, “Puppet on a String.” The band's hard-edged Motor City roots and their softer leanings meet wonderfully in the soulful lover's frustration/celebration of Irma Thomas '"The Hurt's All Gone," which includes just a tinge of fuzz guitar rumble under its keyboard-tinged R&B surface.

So Tied and True offers the full range of the party soundtrack — from the exuberance of the early evening to that inevitable lonely last call feeling, when you realize you're going to be the only one who hasn't paired off. Again.