Yesterday I posted video clips by eight electric-blues guitarists. Today, a new release by Dennis Coffey, a guitarist who played on numerous Motown, funk and soul hits of the late 1960s before going out on his own in the '70s and beyond. What makes Coffey's guitar stand out is its metallic twang and psychedelic funk-rock swagger. The last time I posted about Coffey was in January 2017, when he released Hot Coffey in the D (Resonance).
One Night at Morey's: 1968 (Omnivore) was recorded the same night as Hot Coffey in D, at Morey Baker's Showplace Lounge in Detroit in 1968, when the Lyman Woodard Trio was playing there three nights a week. The trio featured Coffey, organist Woodard and drummer Melvin Davis. All the tracks on the new live album are previously unreleased and are from the vaults of Coffey and producer Mike Theodore. They include Coffey originals (Big City Lights, Union Station and Mindbender) and covers of the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby, the Meters' Cissy Strut, the Isley Brothers' It's Your Thing, the Young Rascals' Groovin', Bobby Womack and Wilson Pickett's I'm a Midnight Mover, Charlie Parker's Billie's Bounce and Richard Evans's Burning Spear, which runs 14 minutes.
Among my favorites are Big City Lights and It's Your Thing/Union Station. Both songs sizzling rock-funk wailers. On the former track, we hear what made the trio special in '68. Coffey could get a deep rock groove going on his Gibson Byrdland guitar while Woodard matched him on his bluesy Hammond organ. On the latter track, Coffey uses distortion to superb effect, giving his guitar texture. If Union Station's riff sounds familiar, it would turn up on Queen's Another One Bites the Dust in 1980. And dig what Coffey does with Groovin', transforming it from a sunshine pop hit into a snarling, funky boat-shaker.
JazzWax tracks: You'll find Dennis Coffey's One Night at Morey's: 1968 here.
You'll also find the album at Spotify.
JazzWax clip: Here's Big City Lights...
And here's It's Your Thing/Union Station...