Eli Toscano

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Eli Toscano co-owned the Cobra label, whose roster listed top blues artists such as Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, Guitar Shorty, and Harold Burrage. Based on Chicago's west side, Toscano had a TV repair…
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Eli Toscano co-owned the Cobra label, whose roster listed top blues artists such as Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, Guitar Shorty, and Harold Burrage. Based on Chicago's west side, Toscano had a TV repair and record shop that was the base of his one-stop (meaning that record store owners could buy the various label releases that needed from one location -- making "one stop" -- rather than going to the different label branches to buy the releases) distributorship and eventually his record label.

Toscano's first label, Abco, was co-owned by Joe Brown, who issued sides by Louis Meyers and Morris Pejoe. Next came the legendary Cobra label, co-owned with Howard Bedno, which started in 1956. Betty Everett ("The Shoop Shoop Song It's In His Kiss") recorded for the label in the mid-'50s before Cobra folded in 1958. Magic Sam then brought Buddy Guy to Toscano's attention. Guy recorded several sides for Cobra's Artistic imprint, including the 1958 singles "This Is the End," "Try to Quit You Baby," and "You Sure Can't Do," which were all produced by Willie Dixon.

Toscano was killed in a boating accident in the early '60s. The Cobra Records Story which features sides by the aforementioned artists as well as Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm and titles in the Chicago Projects series from Jewel-Paula-Ronn Records.