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Eli Toscano founded the Cobra label in 1956. The label was important for launching the recording careers of Chicago blues artists Otis Rush, Magic Sam and Buddy Guy and signalled the arrival of a new generation of blues artists and a new sound to be called and known as the West Side Sound. First to record for Cobra was Otis Rush. His single "I Can't Quit You Baby" CD1/16 became a hit, spending six weeks in the Billboard R&B chart, where it reached number 6 in 1956.Rush recorded another seven singles for Cobra often described as defining moments of Chicago blues. In 1957 Magic Sam recorded his signature song "All Your Love" CD2/14 and released four singles on Cobra. Buddy Guy released two singles in 1958 on Cobra's Artistic Records subsidiary. From 1956–1958 Cobra issued singles by a variety of acts, including Ike Turner CD1/6; CD2/9 and several blues veterans. However by 1959 financial troubles overtook the company and it went out of business. Eli Toscano died in 1967.
Excellent sound transfers and liner notes by One Day Music regular Michael Heatley. Check out this label for more 1950s label retrospective collections. Excellent value.

Listing of Cobra Records:

1956...
5000 Otis Rush "I Can't Quit You Baby" / "Sit Down Baby" CD1/16
5001 The Clouds "Rock and Roll Boogie" / "I Do"...CD1/15 &CD2/11
5002 Shakey Horton "Have a Good Time" / "Need My Baby" CD1/2 & CD2/18
5003 The Calvaes "Fine Girl" / "Mambo Fiesta" CD1/8 & CD2/17
5004 Harold Burrage & His Combo "One More Dance" / "You Eat Too Much"
5005 Otis Rush & His Band "Violent Love" / "My Love Will Never Die"
1957...
5006 Sunnyland Slim "It's You Baby" / "Highway 61" CD1/19 & CD2/19
5007 Lee Jackson "Fishin' in My Pond" / "I'll Just Keep Walkin'" CD1/13 & CD2/10
5008 Gloria Irving "I Need a Man" / "For You and Only You" CD2/20
5009 Duke Jenkins Orchestra "Something Else" / "The Duke Walks" CD1/17 & CD2/4
5010 Otis Rush "Groaning the Blues" / "If You Were Mine"
5011 Willie Foster "Crying the Blues" / "Little Girl" CD2/12 & CD1/10
5012 Harold Burrage "Messed Up" / "I Don't Care Who Knows" CD1/4
5013 Magic Sam "All Your Love" / "Love Me with a Feeling" CD2/14
5014 The Calvaes "Born with Rhythm" / "Lonely Lonely Village" CD2/8
5015 Otis Rush "Love That Woman" / "Jump Sister Bessie"
5016 Clarence Jolly "Changing Love" / "Don't Leave Me" CD1/11 & CD2/3
5017 Guitar Shorty "You Don't Treat Me Right" / "Irma Lee" CD1/14 & CD2/6
5018 Harold Burrage "Stop for the Red Light" / "Satisfied" CD2/13
5019 Betty Everett "My Life Depends on You" / "My Love" CD1/5
5020 Duke Jenkins Orchestra "Where Can My Loved One Be" / "Shake It" CD1/9
1958...
5021 Magic Sam "Everything Gonna Be Alright" / "Look Whatcha Done" CD1/3
5022 Harold Burrage, Willie Dixon Band "She Knocks Me Out" / "A Heart (Filled with Pain)"
5023 Otis Rush with Willie Dixon Orchestra "Three Times a Fool" / "She's a Good 'Un"
5024 Betty Everett "Ain't Gonna Cry" / "Killer Diller" CD2/5
5025 Magic Sam "All Night Long" / "All My Whole Life" CD2/14 & CD2/7
5026 Harold Burrage & His Band "I Cry for You" / "Betty Jean" CD1/12
5027 Otis Rush "It Takes Time" / "Checking on My Baby" CD2/2
5028 Jimmy & Kelly The Rock-a-Beats "Little Chickie" / "Bonnie" CD1/7
5029 Magic Sam "Easy Baby" / "21 Days in Jail" CD1/18
5030 Otis Rush & His Band "Double Trouble" / "Keep on Loving Me, Baby" CD1/1
5031 Betty Everett & Willie Dixon Band "I'll Weep No More" / "Tell Me, Darling" CD1/20
5032 Otis Rush & His Band "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)" / "My Baby's a Good 'Un"
1959...
5033 Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm "Walking Down the Aisle" / "Box Top" CD1/6 & CD2/9
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`DOUBLE TROUBLE'
The Cobra Records Story 1956-1959 contains 40 Original Recordings by the original artsist.
As the title tells you the tracks are over 50 years old and are public domain.
But the Amazon Track listing is a bit cluttered and hard to read so this list may make it easier?

CD1

01 Double Trouble - Otis Rush
02 Have A Good Time - Shakey Horton
03 Look Whatcha Done - Magic Sam
04 Messed Up - Harold Burrage
05 My Love - Betty Everett
06 Walking Down The Aisle - Ike Turner's Kings Of
07 Little Chickie - Jimmy Kelly & The Rock-A-Beats
08 Fine Girl - The Calvaes
09 Shake It - Duke Jenkins Orchestra
10 Little Girl - Little Willie Foster
11 Changing Love - Clarence Jolly
12 Betty Jean - Harold Burrage
13 Fishin' In My Pond - Lee Jackson
14 You Don't Treat Me Right - Guitar Shorty
15 Rock And Roll Boogie - The Clouds
16 I Can't Quit Baby - Otis Rush
17 Something Else - Duke Jenkins Orchestra
18 Easy Baby - Magic Sam
19 It's You Baby - Sunnyland Slim
20 I'll Weep No More - Betty Everett And The Willi

CD2

01 She Knocks Me Out - Harold Burrage With The Will
02 It Takes Time - Otis Rush
03 Don't Leave Me - Clarence Jolly
04 The Duke Walks - Duke Jenkins Orchestra
05 Ain't Gonna Cry - Betty Everett
06 Irma Lee - Guitar Shorty
07 All My Whole Life - Magic Sam
08 Lonely Lonely Village - The Calvaes
09 Box Top - Ike Turner's Kings Of Rhythm
10 I'll Just Keep Walkin' - Lee Jackson
11 I Do - The Clouds
12 Crying The Blues - Little Willie Foster
13 Stop For The Red Light - Harold Burrage
14 All Your Love - Magic Sam
15 Three Times A Fool - Otis Rush With Willie Dixo
16 Tell Me Darling - Betty Everett And The Willie
17 Mambo Fiesta - The Calvaes
18 Need My Baby - Shakey Horton
19 Highway - Sunnyland Slim
20 I Need A Man - Gloria Irving
21. I Don't May and the Glentones.
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on 16 February 2016
HISTORY:

The Cobra label was founded on Chicago’s West Side in 1956 by Eli Toscano. As a record-shop owner he had his finger on the pulse of what was selling. Chicago is , historically, the hub of the blues. The signings of Otis Rush, Magic Sam and Buddy Guy fired a warning shot across the bows of established Chicago labels Chess and Vee-Jay.

The arrival of the mass-produced solid-bodied electric guitar in 1950 in the shape of Fender’s Telecaster rewrote the rulebook, and country blues became an urban, electric music. Cobra’s sound may have had an impact, but its shelf life was to be brief. Willie Dixon returned to Chess after the label encountered financial problems and folded in 1959. Eli Toscano died in 1967. But the influence of Cobra Records was far in excess of its 34-single output, as evidenced here.

CONTENT:

This is a 2 CD set with 40 songs. I have compiled a detailed listing (with chart position, year and my personal comments), which is as follows:

Disc 1:
01 Double Trouble – Otis Rush (uncharted, 1958)*rare gem; 4 Otis Rush songs in this compilation.
02 Have A Good Time – Shakey Horton (uncharted, 1956)
03 Look Whatcha Done – Magic Sam (uncharted, 1957)*rare gem; 4 songs of Magic Sam in this compilation.
04 Messed Up – Harold Burrage (uncharted, 1957)*rare gem; his only charted it Got To Find A Way (R&B 31/1965)
05 My Love – Betty Everett (uncharted, 1957)*rare gem; her first charted hit You’re No Good was in 1963.
06 Walking Down The Aisle – Ike Turner’s Kings Of Rhythm (uncharted, 1958)
07 Little Chickie – Jimmy Kelly & The Rock-A-Beats (uncharted, 1958)
08 Fine Girl – The Calvaes (uncharted, 1956)
09 Shake It – Duke Jenkins Orchestra (uncharted, 1957)
10 Little Girl – Little Willie Foster (uncharted, 1957)
11 Changing Love – Clarence Jolly (uncharted, 1957)
12 Betty Jean – Harold Burrage (uncharted, 1958)
13 Fishin’ In My Pond – Lee Jackson (uncharted, 1956)
14 You Don’t Treat Me Right – Guitar Shorty (uncharted, 1957)
15 Rock And Roll Boogie – The Clouds (uncharted, 1956)
16 I Can’t Quit You Baby - Otis Rush (R&B 6/1956)*rare gem; his only charted hit.
17 Something Else – Duke Jenkins Orchestra (uncharted, 1957)
18 Easy Baby – Magic Sam (uncharted, 1958)
19 It’s You Baby – Sunnyland Slim (uncharted, 1956)
20 I’ll Weep No More – Betty Everett & The Willie Dixon Band (uncharted, 1958)

Disc 2:
01 He Knocks Me Out – Harold Burrage & The Willie Dixon Band (uncharted, 1957)
02 It Takes Time – Otis Rush (uncharted, 1958)
03 Don’t Leave Me – Clarence Jolly (uncharted, 1956)(b-side to Changing Love)
04 The Duke Walks – Duke Jenkins Orchestra (uncharted, 1957)(b-side to Something Else)
05 Ain’t Gonna Cry – Betty Everett (uncharted, 1957)
06 Irma Lee – Guitar Shorty (uncharted, 1957)(b-side to You Don’t Treat Me Right)
07 All My Whole Life – Magic Sam (uncharted, 1958)
08 Lonely Lonely Village – The Calvaes (uncharted, 1957)
09 Box Top – Ike Turner’s Kings Of Rhythm (uncharted, 1958)(b-side to Walking Down The Aisle)
10 I’ll Just Keep Walkin’ – Lee Jackson (uncharted, 1956)(b-side to Fishin’ In My Pond)
11 I Do – The Clouds (uncharted, 1956)(b-side to Rock And Roll Boogie)
12 Crying The Blues – Little Willie Foster (uncharted, 1957)(b-side to Little Girl)
13 Stop For The Red Light- Harold Burrage (uncharted, 1957)
14 All Your Love – Magic Sam (uncharted, 1957)
15 Three Times A Fool – Otis Rush & The Willie Dixon Band (uncharted, 1957)
16 Tell me Darling – Betty Everett & The Willie Dixon Band (uncharted, 1958)(b-side to I’ll Weep No More)
17 Mambo Fiesta – The Calvaes (uncharted, 1956)(b-side to Fine Girl)
18 Need My Baby - Shakey Horton (uncharted, 1956)(b-side to Have A Good Time)
19 Highway 61 – Sunnyland Slim (uncharted, 1961)
20 I Need A Man – Gloria Irving (uncharted, 1957)

The sound is well remastered with no hiss.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

If you like the blues and sound of electric guitar, this set is for you. This set is recommended for blues lovers.
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on 18 October 2014
This is a very welcome release of 40 tracks from Eli Toscano’s short-lived Cobra Records that he founded in the late 1950s in West Side Chicago. There is some cracking music on this double CD including two of the giants of electric blues guitar - Otis Rush and Magic Sam. Other blues stars include pianist Sunnyland Slim, harp player extraordinaire Walter ’Shakey’ Horton and the irrepressible Big Willie Dixon. Ike Turner has a couple of tracks as does Little Willie Foster who deserves more recognition than he often gets, and Harold Burrage.
One Day Music is gaining a good reputation for releasing bargain-priced CDs featuring many American labels of the 1950s and 1960s. This is a very good release and if you like Chicago Blues then this is an essential purchase.
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Cobra Records operated out of Chicago for four years only, from 1956 to 1959. The period may have been brief but the flame burned very brightly during that timeframe. The first release from the label, "I can't quit you baby" from Otis Rush, is an acknowledged classic and a statement of intent for the music that generally gets classified as West Side Chicago Blues. Whilst using much of the same instrumentation as the then recognised Chicago greats, the performance is differentiated by strident guitar work and an "impassioned" vocal from Rush. That adjective is the one that most critics use and I'm not in dispute. Others like fervent, intense or agonised work equally well. Rush would sometimes use minor keys on his mood pieces in order to deepen the gloom.

Otis' co-founders of West Side blues were Buddy Guy and Magic Sam. All three owed a debt to B.B. King particularly in their guitar pyrotechnics but they brought added emotion to the party. The former's first couple of singles were recorded for Cobra's Artistic (their name not a description) subsidiary and are not included here. Magic Sam, however gets three tracks, one of which "All your love" is NOT the same track as the one with that name recorded by Otis Rush - though both are excellent examples of the West Side sound. All three of the West Side gents utilised their guitars to great effect - Magic Sam can usually be distinguished via his usage of tremolo.

Several others here including Guitar Shorty, Clarence Jolly, Little Willie Foster and Lee Jackson show aspects of the West Side sound on these selections. Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm, who get a couple here, supplied backing for some of the artists. Walter "Shakey" Horton was a different kind of artist, an expert on blues harmonica who could give Little Walter a run for his money. We get both sides of his fine Cobra single.

There's R&B present from Harrold Burrage (near rock'n'roll), Jimmy Kelly and others. And last but far from least, Betty Everett, yes she of the "Shoop Shoop Song", weighs in with four early but very nice tracks, which show a good grasp of blues as well as gospel.

A splendid selection of music from a far from prolific label whose entire output (not counting subsidiaries) numbered 34 records. The fact that all round blues hero Willie Dixon was involved in numerous capacities is undoubtedly no coincidence.
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on 14 March 2015
This is like a primordial swamp of fecund musical inventiveness that so much more developed from over the next half century. I didn't even know that Guitar Shorty was recording that far back. It's a real good find for me from a whole different place in time where the talent was rife but, as yet, unrecognised by the wider public. These are 40 tracks from Cobra Records that were made when I was just an infant between the ages of 4 and 7. I am very happy that I stumbled across this album. I now need an mp3 copy of this to play in my car too.

Eamonn
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on 10 September 2013
Great compilation of known & lesser known.Some sound a little dull but at this money
you cant beat it.I think im going to work through all in the series
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on 27 December 2013
great.bit of oldies music, Love this old stuff this sort of sound will always be around. it is always nice to here
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on 4 August 2013
If I'd have been able to listen to the tracks before purchase I probably wouldn't have bought it but it's OK.
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on 26 December 2014
Not as good as others in this series.
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