In this stultifying era of tribute groups, unimaginative rock & roll revivals and endless oldies weekends, what makes the Detroit Cobras more than just another cover band is that they bring something of their own to the table: fire. Guitarist Mary Ramirez keeps things down to earth with her chopped-up, rootsy garage-rock riffing, and singer Rachael Nagy is such a radiantly powerful, distinctively soulful stylist that the Cobras' remakes of obscure R&B gems are often more memorable than the originals. (And that's really saying something when you consider that they're redoing tunes by the legendary likes of Otis Redding, Bobby Womack and Jackie DeShannon, who was so pleased by their version of "He Did It" on 2001's Life, Love and Leaving that she's now one of band's biggest fans.) Like the Rolling Stones, who also started out as a cover band, the Detroit Cobras are finally writing original songs such as "Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat)," from their 2005 CD, Baby, that approach the intensity of those divinely, deliciously incendiary remakes. —Falling James
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