Cobra Records

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Cobra Records
I Can't Quit You Baby.jpg
Label of first single issued by Cobra with distinctive name design
Founded1956 (1956)
FounderEli Toscano
Defunct1959 (1959)
StatusDefunct
GenreBlues, rhythm and blues
Country of originUnited States
LocationChicago

Cobra Records (together with its Artistic subsidiary) was an independent record label that operated from 1956–1959. The label launched the careers of Chicago blues artists Otis Rush, Magic Sam, and Buddy Guy and "signaled the arrival of a new generation of blues artists and a new sound ... to be called the West Side Sound."[1]

Cobra was started on Chicago's West Side in 1956 by Eli Toscano, a record-store- and television-repair-shop owner, with help from promoter Howard Bedno.[2] When his previous record label, Abco Records, failed to generate much interest, Toscano approached Willie Dixon about working for Cobra.[3] Dissatisfied with his arrangement with Chess Records, Dixon joined Cobra. There he served in many capacities, including talent scout, producer, arranger, songwriter, bassist, and became "the artistic vision behind Cobra Records."[4]

First to record for Cobra was Otis Rush. His single "I Can't Quit You Baby" became a hit, spending six weeks in the Billboard R&B chart, where it reached number six in 1956.[5] Rush recorded another seven singles for Cobra, described as "defining moments of Chicago blues."[6] In 1957 Magic Sam recorded his signature song "All Your Love" 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 and several blues veterans. However, by 1959 financial troubles overtook the company and it went out of business. The Cobra catalogue was subsequently purchased by Stan Lewis of Jewel/Paula/Ron Records. Most of the Cobra (and Artistic) recordings (57 tracks, including several alternate and outtakes) were released on The Cobra Records Story: Chicago Rock and Blues 1956–1958 by Capricorn Records in 1993.[4] In 2013, 40 songs from the Cobra catalogue were released on a two-CD set, titled Double Trouble: The Cobra Record Story.[7]

Discography[edit]

Cobra Records[edit]

List of Cobra singles
Catalogue number Artist Title (A-side / B-side) Year released
5000[8]
Otis Rush "I Can't Quit You Baby" / "Sit Down Baby" 1956
5001
The Clouds "Rock and Roll Boogie" / "I Do"
5002
Shakey Horton "Have a Good Time" / "Need My Baby"
5003
The Calvaes "Fine Girl" / "Mambo Fiesta"
5004
Harold Burrage & His Combo "One More Dance" / "You Eat Too Much"
5005
Otis Rush & His Band "Violent Love" / "My Love Will Never Die"
5006
Sunnyland Slim "It's You Baby" / "Highway 61" 1957
5007
Lee Jackson "Fishin' in My Pond" / "I'll Just Keep Walkin'"
5008
Gloria Irving "I Need a Man" / "For You and Only You"
5009
Duke Jenkins Orchestra "Something Else" / "The Duke Walks"
5010
Otis Rush "Groaning the Blues" / "If You Were Mine"
5011
Little Willy Foster "Crying the Blues" / "Little Girl"
5012
Harold Burrage "Messed Up" / "I Don't Care Who Knows"
5013
Magic Sam "All Your Love" / "Love Me with a Feeling"
5014
The Calvaes "Born with Rhythm" / "Lonely Lonely Village"
5015
Otis Rush "Love That Woman" / "Jump Sister Bessie"
5016
Clarence Jolly "Changing Love" / "Don't Leave Me"
5017
Guitar Shorty "You Don't Treat Me Right" / "Irma Lee"
5018
Harold Burrage "Stop for the Red Light" / "Satisfied"
5019
Betty Everett "My Life Depends on You" / "My Love"
5020
Duke Jenkins Orchestra "Where Can My Loved One Be" / "Shake It"
5021
Magic Sam "Everything Gonna Be Alright" / "Look Whatcha Done" 1958
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"
5025
Magic Sam "All Night Long" / "All My Whole Life"
5026
Harold Burrage & His Band "I Cry for You" / "Betty Jean"
5027
Otis Rush "It Takes Time" / "Checking on My Baby"
5028
Jimmy & Kelly the Rock-a-Beats "Little Chickie" / "Bonnie"
5029
Magic Sam "Easy Baby" / "21 Days in Jail"
5030
Otis Rush & His Band "Double Trouble" / "Keep on Loving Me, Baby"
5031
Betty Everett & Willie Dixon Band "I'll Weep No More" / "Tell Me, Darling"
5032
Otis Rush & His Band "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)" / "My Baby's a Good 'Un"
5033
Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm "Walking Down the Aisle" / "Box Top" 1959

Artistic Records[edit]

List of Artistic singles
Catalogue number Artist Title (A-side / B-side) Year released
1500
Charles Clark & Willie Dixon Band "Row Your Boat" / "Hidden Charms" 1958
1501
Buddy Guy & His Band "Sit and Cry (The Blues)" / "Try to Quit You Baby"
1502
Shakey Jake Harris & Willie Dixon Band| "Roll Your Moneymaker" / "Call Me if You Need Me"
1503
Buddy Guy & His Band "This Is the End" / "You Sure Can't Do" 1959
1504
Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm "(I Know) You Don't Love Me" / "Down and Out"

Abco Records[edit]

List of Abco singles
Catalogue number Artist Title (A-side / B-side) Year released
100
Arbee Stidham "I'll Always Remember You" / "Meet Me Half Way" 1956
101
Herby Joe "Smoke Stack Lightning" / "Dreamed (Last Night)"
102
Zona Sago's Modern Sounds "Short Order" / "Jivin' at Random"
103
Freddie Hall & the Aces "Can't This Be Mine" / "Playin' Hard to Get"
104
Louis Myers & the Aces "Just Whaling" / "Bluesy"
105
Rip-Chords "I Love You the Most" / "Let's Do the Razzle Dazzle"
106
Morris Pejoe "Screaming and Crying" / "Maybe Blues"
107
Arbee Stidham "When I Find My Baby" / "Please Let It Be Me'" 1957

References[edit]

  1. ^ Haig 1993, p. 14.
  2. ^ Haig 1993, pp. 2, 8.
  3. ^ Dixon & Snowden 1989, p. 105.
  4. ^ a b Haig 1993, p. 2.
  5. ^ Whitburn 1988, p. 361.
  6. ^ Coda 1996, p. 230.
  7. ^ Heatley 2013, p. 1.
  8. ^ Otis Rush's "I Can't Quit You Baby" was also issued as Chief 8000 in 1956. Hoppula, Pete (May 31, 2006). "Cobra Records – Discography". WangDangDula.com. Retrieved August 10, 2009.

Bibliography[edit]