If you’re into Motown or 1970’s funk, you know that name Dennis Coffey well. He supplied the guitar work when Norman Whitfield was inventing his style of psychedelic soul and went on to an impressive career as a solo artist and producer. His new, self-titled album will unite the old and new, with Coffey recording new material and reworkings of old favorites with a cast of today’s best and brightest nu-soul practitioners. Guests on this set include Rachel Nagy of the Detroit Cobras, Paolo Nutini and Kings Go Forth. Read on for all the fret-scorching funk details…
DENNIS COFFEY: S/T
RELEASED APRIL 25TH
Catalogue No: STRUT075CD/LP
Format: 1xCD / 2xLP / digital
Strut is proud to announce a priority release for 2011, the new studio album by Detroit guitar legend, Dennis Coffey. Guitarist of choice for major artists as diverse as Del Shannon, Funkadelic and The Temptations, Coffey was a member of the original Motown ’Funk Brothers’ backing band and was key in bringing heavy wah wah guitar to soul and R&B during the late ’60s. The canon of classics featuring Coffey’s work is immense – from Temptations’ ’Ball Of Confusion’ and ’Cloud Nine’ to Edwin Starr’s ’War’ and Freda Payne’s ’Band Of Gold’, the list is a roll-call of classic soul and R&B landmarks.
As a solo artist, Coffey is perhaps best known for a series of rare groove classics during the early ‘70s including the million-selling breakbeat staple ‘Scorpio’ and soundtrack to cult action flick ’Black Belt Jones’. Alongside producer Mike Theodore, his ‘70s ‘Theo-Coff’ productions and his prolific guitar work ranged from raw funk to classic disco, including CJ & Co’s ‘Devil’s Gun’ and The Sylvers’ ’Boogie Fever’.
For 2011, Dennis Coffey’s new self-titled album is a revelation, a dense, fuzz-heavy haze of incendiary psychedelic soul. Much of the set recalls the sentiments of earlier solo work such as his seminal, trippy ’Hair ’N’ Thangs’ album. For these sessions, in addition to a host of new compositions, Coffey personally cherry-picks tracks upon which he first appeared and enlists an illustrious guest list for all-new interpretations. Stones Throw’s new soul hero Mayer Hawthorne takes up The Parliaments’ poignant mid-tempo swayer ’All Your Goodies Are Gone’, Fanny Franklin from killer Hollywood funk combo Orgone voices a new version of Wilson Pickett’s psych-soul jam ’Don’t Knock My Love’ and Lisa Kekaula from California garage-soul band The Bellrays takes on the 100 Proof Aged In Soul stomper ’Somebody’s Been Sleeping’. The Detroit connection looms large throughout the set – Mick Collins from the Dirtbombs alongside Detroit Cobras’ Rachel Nagy unleash a dark, brooding take on Funkadelic’s ’I Bet You’. UK chart sensation Paolo Nutini contributes a passionate version of Rodriguez’ ‘Only Good For Conversation’. Completing the list of collaborations, Milwaukee funk sensations Kings Go Forth (Luaka Bop) mould an intense funk jam around some heavy Coffey licks on ’Miss Millie’.
For his new compositions on the album, Coffey revisits the uncompromising instrumental style he is renowned for. Album opener ’7th Galaxy’ echoes the hard guitar ’n’ breaks of his Detroit Guitar Band recordings for Sussex, ’Knockabout’ whips up an epic funky soundtrack groove and ’Space Traveller’ simmers on a sleazy, guitar-drenched, slo mo workout.
Dennis Coffey will be touring internationally throughout 2011.