Dennis Coffey’s legacy is probably most tied to his legendary session work for Motown Records. As a member of The Funk Brothers, Coffey appeared on hits such as Edwin Starr’s “War,” The Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion,” and Stevie Wonder’s cover of “We Can Work It Out.” Coffey also performed on recordings by Wilson Pickett, Parliament/Funkadelic, and even produced Rodriguez’s debut, Cold Fact.
But Coffey, still active to this day, also shines as a live performer. Last summer, Omnivore Recordings shone a light on a rare 1968 live set with One Night At Morey’s: 1968. This Friday, March 1, the label will issue another previously unreleased Dennis Coffey show, Live At Baker’s, available on CD and through digital services. Recorded live in Detroit in 2006, Coffey and his band (two-time Detroit Music Award winner Demetrius Nabors on keys, Grammy-nominated Gaelynn McKinney on drums and bassist Damon Warmack) perform nine tracks, including the standard “Moonlight in Vermont” and well-chosen covers of Miles Davis (“All Blues”), Freddie Hubbard (the bossa-flecked “Little Sunflower”), and The Temptations (the beautiful “Just My Imagination,” the original recording of which featured Coffey). The set also includes an incendiary version of Coffey’s Top 10 hit from 1971, “Scorpio,” a song which has been sampled countless times over the years.
In addition to the music, Live At Baker’s includes an eight-page booklet with liner notes by music historian and author Bill Kopp, as well as a brand-new interview with Coffey himself. As Kopp writes in his notes, “Coffey’s talents never fit neatly into a single genre; typical of a top session player, his style can be subtle one moment, slashing the next. He’s played everything from country and western to hard rock to blues to soul-jazz.” The many sides of Dennis Coffey’s talent are on display on Live At Baker’s, with its varied setlist and searing performances. Coffey can still be seen every Tuesday night in Detroit, playing for appreciative audiences at the city’s Northern Lights Lounge.
A scorching sampling of one of soul’s greatest guitarists doing what he does best, Live At Baker’s is due on Friday, March 1 from Omnivore Recordings. You can check out the full track list and find pre-order links below!
- Little Sunflower
- Chicago Song
- Moonlight In Vermont
- Just My Imagination
- The Sermon
- All Blues
- Way Back Home
- Dink’s Blues