Various Artists

King Cobras

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This collection brings together a delightful batch of sides recorded for Eli Toscano's Cobra, Abco and Artistic labels between 1956 and 1958. Although Chess had Little Walter, Toscano had more than his share of great harmonica blowers in his label's roster, few of them greater than Walter Horton, who appears on six of the 14 tracks collected here. Besides two takes of his "Need My Baby" and "Have a Good Time," Walter blows magnificently behind Sunnyland Slim on "It's You Baby" and "Highway 61" and Arbee Stridham on "When I Find My Baby." Under the auspices of producer Willie Dixon, Chess artist Sonny Boy Williamson makes a couple of maverick appearances on a Cobra record, playing behind singer Charles Clark on two takes of "Row Your Boat" (which also feature Otis Rush on guitar) and two unissued solo cuts, "Keep Your Hand Out of My Pocket" and "Steady Rollin' Man." Completing the package are two tracks each from Louis Myers (the instrumentals "Bluesy" and "Just Whaling") and Little Willie Foster ("Little Girl" and "Crying the Blues").