by Doug Coombe
Detroit Soul heads around the world are anxiously awaiting Dennis Coffey's self-titled record coming out April 25th on the Strut label. The album finds guitar legend Coffey returning to his trail blazing and innovative sounds of the late 60's and early 70's. If you don't think you've heard Dennis before you have. That awesome guitar on The Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" - Dennis. The tripped out guitar on The Dramatics "In the Rain" - Dennis. He's literally played on hundreds of classic Motown and Detroit soul jams. You can head over to the discography on Dennis' website to get a small idea of some of the tracks he played on.
Dennis was one of the early innovators using fuzz and wah-wah pedals in soul guitar and forever influenced how a heavy, tripped out and funky guitar should sound. The uninitiated should check out his timeless first four solo records - Hair and Thangs, Evolution, Goin' for Myself and Electric Coffey. And I mean records. These are criminally unavailable on CD. While your at it his soundtrack for Black Belt Jones is another must have. Dennis also produced a lot of classic Detroit records, like Rodriguez's 1970 LP Cold Fact with production partner Mike Theodore just to name one.
So far from Strut there's been an awesome teaser video of Dennis' cover of Cee Lo Green's "F*ck You" (complete with cameos by Melvin Davis on drums and a slew of Detroit hipsters). Now we get a teaser of his cover of The Parliaments' "All Your Goodies Are Gone" over at the BamaLoveSoul website. Handling the vocals is none other than former Ann Arborite/Lafayette Coney Island regular Mayer Hawthorne. Dennis returned the favor by playing on a couple of tracks on Mayer's upcoming new release. Coffey's new record also features a bunch of other great cameos, including The Dirtbombs' Mick Collins, Rachel Nagy of The Detroit Cobras and Milwaukee's neo-funk fiends Kings Go Forth.
This Friday, February 25th you can see Dennis tear it up at Funk Night at the Majestic Theater with Detroit's funk/jazz/hip hop heroes Will Sessions Band (who back Dennis up on a few tracks on the new album). Or if you like can catch them together at SXSW. It's a lot warmer down there. But I have no doubt they'll steam up the Majestic before the night is out.