Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: While not fortunate enough to own one, I have long been fascinated with the history of the 1960s Cobra sports car, the pride of automaker Carroll Shelby.

There is a wealth of information online about the Cobra, from production statistics to the millions of dollars being paid for originals, as well as fairly recent reproduction models (2002) selling for hundreds of thousands.

Also available are mentions of the Cobra's many appearances in TV, movies, and other areas of pop culture.

Yet with all of these resources, I can't find documentation of the recordings about the Cobra, other than “Hey Little Cobra,” by the Rip Chords.

Can it be there are no others and “Hey Little Cobra” stands alone in this regard?
—Phil Delmonico, York, Pa.

DEAR PHIL: The Rip Chords' “Hey Little Cobra” does stand alone in terms of being a hit, but it is not the only Cobra recording.

Alphabetical by artist, here are seven others for your want list:

Belmont Five: “Cobra;” Chains: “Carol's Got a Cobra” (HBR 460); Dragsters: “Crazy Cobra” (Wing LP 12269); Marketts: “Cobra” (Warner Bros. 5365); Redcoats “Cobra” (Mae 1002); Rockin' Continentals: “Cobra 289” (Casino 10); Versatones: “Cobra” (Kenco 5015).

Except for the Belmont Five, all of these came between 1963 and '66, the peak production years for the Cobra.

Though the Belmont Five recorded “Cobra” in 1965, it remained unreleased until the 2005 Sundazed CD “Dancehall Stringbusters, Vol. 2” (B000BJS4KI).

Other songs exist with “Cobra” in the title, but they center more on a reptile than a roadster

DEAR JERRY: Duane Allman has been dead over 30 years, yet I am only recently discovering what a great guitar player he was.

Who are some of the singers that hired Duane for their recording sessions?

How does he compare to other Rock guitarists?
—Wade Jackman, Columbia, S.C.

DEAR WADE: In a few weeks, October 29 to be exact, it will be the 36th aniversary of Duane Allman's death.

On that day in 1971, 24-year-old Duane suffered fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia.

Though young in years, Duane's guitar wizardry was very much in demand for early '70s sessions, especially ones in the southeast.

Besides the Allman Brothers Band, he is heard on recordings by: Eric Clapton; Aretha Franklin; Boz Scaggs; Delaney & Bonnie; Herbie Mann; King Curtis; Otis Rush; Wilson Pickett; Clarence Carter; John Hammond; Johnny Jenkins; Lulu; Derek & Dominos, and Cowboy.

Depending on who you ask, a ranking of Rock guitarists will likely vary a bit. But you asked me, so here are my 10 selections, listed alphabetically:

Duane Allman; Jeff Beck, Chuck Berry; James Burton; Eric Clapton; Dick Dale; Duane Eddy; Jimi Hendrix; Jimmy Page; Keith Richards.

Since they are listed alphabetically, I guess you could say Duane Allman tops the list.

If I could have added just one more, it would be John Fogerty, formerly of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Our topic here is Rock guitarists, so I did not include a few greats who I tend to put more in the Blues category.

Among these are: Bo Diddley; Robert Johnson; B.B. King; Freddy King; Ike Turner; and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

IZ ZAT SO? One of the co-writers of “Carol's Got a Cobra,” a 1966 single by the Chains, is Carol Connors (a.k.a. Annette Kleinbard of the Teddy Bears). So it's easy to see why it is Carol who's got a Cobra in the title.

However, when being spoken or sung, there is no difference between Carol and Carroll.

Knowing the Cobra's creator is Carroll Shelby, HBR (Hanna-Barbera Records) produced a limited run of this single titled “Carroll's Got a Cobra.”

This special “Carroll” edition has a value in the $200 range, which is about four times the worth of the more common “Carol” version.

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