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Funk - Released April 16, 2011 | Strut

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Funk - Released April 11, 2011 | Strut

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Soul - Released May 4, 2018 | Omnivore Recordings

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Rock - Released November 23, 2018 | Omnivore Recordings

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Funk - Released April 26, 2011 | Strut

Too rarely, some small justice gets meted out in the music biz; in the 21st century, legendary Detroit guitarist and Motown Funk Brother Dennis Coffey is getting some. Hip-hop and electronic music fans have long sought his seminal recordings for Sussex and his voluminous session dates. His appearance in the 2002 film Standin' in the Shadows of Motown, his autobiography Guitars, Bars and Motown Superstars, and three different late-2000s compilations re-upped his profile. Dennis Coffey, the guitarist's debut for Strut, places his guitar front and center in a multi-generational group of musicians from Detroit and elsewhere. Coffey lays his trademark psychedelic soul wah-wah-and-fuzz guitar to 11 tracks. Some new; others being new versions of legendary jams he played on. The set opens with ultra-funky instrumental orgy "7th Galaxy" (with ex-Big Chief guitarist Phil Durr and Motor City session gods Rayse Biggs and David McMurray on horns, and a rhythm section of session masters bassist Tony “T-Money” Green, drummer Nate Winn, and percussionists Larry Fratangelo and Dennis Sheridan). Other instrumentals include the moody groover "Space Traveler" (with Deadstring Brothers' Jim Simonson on bass and Eric Hoegemeyer on drums), the big horn and guitar burner "Miss Millie" (with Milwaukee's Kings Go Forth), and the wah-wah bass and percussion blowout "Knockabout." These tracks are on a par with Coffey's legendary "Scorpio" and his Black Belt Jones soundtrack. The vocal tracks are no less spectacular. There is the Parliaments' "All Your Goodies Are Gone," with soulster Mayer Hawthorne, and Funkadelic's "I Bet You," featuring the Detroit Cobras' Rachel Nagy and the Dirtbombs' Mick Collins. Fanny Franklin of Orgone lends her voice to a sultry cover of Wilson Pickett's slow-burning "Don't Knock My Love." Rodriguez's venomous "Only Good for Conversation" features Paolo Nutini in a knockout performance, and the Bell Rays' Lisa Kekaula offers a boiling, raw read of Holland-Dozier-Holland's eternal, "Somebody's Been Sleeping" (Coffey played on the 100 Proof (Aged in Soul) original. "Plutonius," a cosmic funk jam, is another Coffey original sung by Herschel Boone and includes a ripping guitar solo by, Durr, and groove alicious B3 by Detroit keyboard master Luis Resto. The album is co-produced to maximum kinetic effect by Al Sutton and Hoegemeyer at Detroit's Rust Belt Studio. Dennis Coffey is overflowing with inspiration and the molten pathos, passion, humor, volume, grit, and nasty grooves that Detroit is famous for. As an artist, Coffey, at 70, is at the top of his game as a guitarist and composer; he proves that he can not only hold his own with the youngbloods, but push toward a new level. This self-titled offering is monster; a masterpiece of tough, psychedelic soul~ Thom Jurek
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Soul - Released March 1, 2019 | Omnivore Recordings

Booklet
Platform boots and afros for the eyes, filtered guitars and the wah-wah pedal for the ears - Dennis Coffey’s vintage funk would be the ideal backing track for Huggy Bear, the flamboyant informant in Starsky and Hutch. With his wide array of pedal effects, this crazy arsonist was Motown's lethal weapon, composing psychedelic solos for the 70's soul stars on Berry Gordy's label: The Temptations, Diana Ross, Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, the list goes on… And when he wasn't out hustling, Coffey was “resting” in the clubs of his native Detroit with his own trio... Now at an age where many of his peers have hit retirement, our groove arsonist still has more left in the tank, as shown by this live album from the Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit on May 20, 2006. With Demetrius Nabors on keyboards, Gaelynn McKinney on drums and Damon Warmack on bass, Dennis Coffey gives a funky performance by revisiting his classics (such as the anthem Scorpio), jazz standards by Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis and Jimmy Smith, as well as soul classics by The Temptations (Just My Imagination) and The Crusaders (Way Back Home). © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Soul - Released June 8, 2018 | Omnivore Recordings

Booklet
2017's archival Resonance release of Hot Coffey in the D: Burnin' at Morey Baker's Showplace Lounge, was a healthy dose of Funk Brother Dennis Coffey's work with organist Lyman Woodard's trio at the famed Detroit venue in 1968. It caught the band reinventing soul, jazz, and funk covers and originals in their Motor City image to reveal a highly individual, collective, in-the-pocket exploratory artistry. The tapes were from Coffey's own vault, recorded and produced by longtime musical partner Mike Theodore. The guitarist struck up a relationship with Cheryl Pawelski and her Omnivore label, then went back into the safe for One Night At Morey's: 1968. This is the other half of the gig on the earlier recording. The music here exists as it was recorded. There are no overdubs, and no tunes from the earlier volume are repeated. Unlike typical soul-jazz organ trios from the era, this music is raw: It is to jazz-funk what the MC5 and Stooges were to Detroit rock. As the band crosses from the opening rave-up of "I'm a Midnight Mover" to a brooding yet explosive cover of "Eleanor Rigby," it's easy to hear why. Coffey's playing in particular, with its signature fuzzy distortion and trademark funky wah-wah style, would be emulated by Isaac Hayes during the early '70s. They shift into groove-and-grind mode on their improvisational nine-minute read of the Meters' "Cissy Strut." The interplay between Woodard and drummer Melvin Davis is uncanny. The organist is tough and inventive with his left hand, laying down angular basslines that fly right at the drummer's taut breakbeats. Coffey's idiosyncratic tone inspires unusual and iconic phrasing that goes far afield; he travels inside a tune's harmony to bring out its nuances even when the band is reinventing the rhythmic structure. Check the simmering segue between the Young Rascals' staple "Groovin'" (where Woodard makes the organ virtually sing) and the rocked-up modal funk of Richard Evans' classic "Burning Spear" that winds on for nearly 14 minutes. This band delivers intense focus and so much passionate good-time energy, you can feel them. (In the liner note interview, Coffey claims no one danced to this music; they listened intently instead.) After a fuzzed-out, early Deep Purple-esque read of the Isley's "It's Your Thing" in a medley with the punchy original "Union Station," they stay with the homemade tunes that include the intensely psychedelic "Mindbender" and the rave-up soul of "Big City Lights" before closing on the jazz tip with a fingerpopping take on Charlie Parker's bop classic "Billie's Bounce," proving that the Lyman Woodard Trio could play virtually anything and play it well. Anyone wise enough to pick up the Resonance set will absolutely want this volume in order to fill out the hard-grooving trio's aural portrait. Anyone who hasn't yet will find One Night at Morey's: 1968 a fine -- perhaps preferable -- place to start. All killer, no filler. ~ Thom Jurek