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The Detroit Cobras – Cha Cha Twist



Tell me, baby, have you seen my sis ?


Another classic reinterpretation by Michigan’s finest – and one of the late, great John Peel’s favourite bands – The Detroit Cobras!

This cover of proto-rock ‘n’ roller Hank Ballard‘s “Cha Cha Twist was released as a single in 2004 on seminal Brit indie label Rough Trade but had earlier appeared in a slightly different version on their 1998 LP Mink Rat or Rabbit.



The band’s biggest fan detroitcobracovers.blogspot writes about this track below;

Song: Cha Cha Twist

Artist: Brice Coefield

Written: Hank Ballard

Year : 1960

Album/Single: Madison # 137

Cobra’s Version

Song: Cha Cha Twist

Released: February 24th, 1998

Album: Mink Rat or Rabbit






While I can not find any specific information on today’s selection, I have found some information on Brice Coefield.

Quite frankly, the man was involved with some legendary names in the music industry – “Bumps” Blackwell (songwriter and producer of Little Richard), Herb Alpert (co-founder of A&M records, legendary trumpet player), Lou Adler (producer for, among others, Sam Cooke, Mama’s & Papa’s, the Monterrey Pop Festival) & Phil Spector (I don’t need to explain who he is, do I?). Draw your own conclusion as to why, with all these talented people around him, he wasn’t more successful himself.

He started off in 1955 in Los Angeles with his cousin, Rip Spencer, in a variety of vocal groups. It was Brice’s father who, through jazz pianist Lloyd Glenn, that put them in touch with “Bumps” Blackwell. Calling themselves the “Valiants”, they actually were the first to release “Good Golly, Miss Molly”, one of the songs Bumps had written (Little Richard had recorded it before them but the Valiants were the first to actually release it).

It was the flip side of one of two records they would every have chart – “This is the Night” (#43 R&B / #69 Pop). The other chart success they enjoyed was as members of the Alley Cats with “Puddin N’ Tain” – released in 1962 on Phil Spector’s Phillies Label (Brice was a co-writer of the song as well).

This brief bio was culled from Marv Goldberg’s excellent R&B Notebook – check it out for yourself.

Brice had 5 records released on the Madison label from 1960 to 1961. Four were as a member of the “Valiants”, with today’s record being released simply as “Brice Coefeild”.

Interestingly enough, despite the thoroughness of the aforementioned Marv Goldberg’s R&B Notebook, there is no mention of this record. The song writing credits go to the legendary Hank Ballard (thought jazz keyboardist Les McCann sometime get’s credit for writing it as well).

I would have to assume it was recorded/released late in 1960, to capitalize on the success of Chubby Checker’s massive hit earlier in the year – “The Twist” (which was also written by Hank Ballard!).









(Cha Cha Cha)

(Cha Cha Cha)

(Cha Cha Cha)

Come on baby

Let’s do the Twist

Come on baby

Let’s do the Twist

You look fine, yeah

when you go like this

Tell me, baby

Have you seen my sis ?

Tell me, baby

Have you seen my sis ?

She knows how to rock

and do the Cha Cha Twist

Hully, hully gully

Slop and Madison, too

When you do the twist

to a beat like this

You can Cha Cha with your baby too

Your Papa’s sleeping

and your Mama’s not around

Your Papa’s sleeping

and your Mama’s not around

Well come over here, baby

we’re gonna tear the house down

Hully, hully gully (shake your shoulders)

Slop and Madison, too (hit it)

When you do the twist

to a beat like this

You can Cha Cha with your baby too

Your Papa’s sleeping

and your Mama’s not around

Your Papa’s sleeping

and your Mama’s not around

Come on baby

we’re gonna tear the house down

Oh yaa Twist

Hey baby

The Cobra’s take on “Cha Cha Twist” both speeds the song and rocks it up courtesy of classic Detroit garage guitar crunch. What’s interesting on the original is all the stuff going on in the background – all the “Oooohhhhh Aaahhhh”, “Cha Cha Cha” and “Wuh Wuh” vocals that run throughout the song. If you listen closely to the Cobra’s version you will hear them doing similar things, but buried much deeper in the mix.



I understand this was used for a Diet Coke commercial a few years back. Never saw, but it had to be cool.

They did shoot a video for “Cha Cha Twist” (their only video ?) with Meg White as “Little Red Riding Hood”. Interestingly enough, it seems to be a different version of the song that was released on “Mink Rat or Rabbit”.

Some Cobras links:



The Detroit Cobras – Cha Cha Twist

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March 23, 2009 - Posted by | Brice Coefield, Hank Ballard, Music_Alternative, The Detroit Cobras, _BABE, _MUSIC, _VIDEO

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