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Dennis Coffey

Dennis Coffey

By Stuart Munro
Globe Correspondent / May 3, 2011

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A man known mainly to crate-diggers and obsessive readers of liner notes, Dennis Coffey had his heyday four decades ago as a Detroit session guitarist (including time as a member of the legendary Motown studio ensemble known as the Funk Brothers), producer, and solo recording artist. His first record in over 20 years is a two-sided affair. On the one hand, it offers more-or-less carbon copies of songs that Coffey had a hand in — such as Wilson Pickett’s 1971 hit “Don’t Knock My Love,’’ the Parliaments’ “All My Goodies Are Gone’’ — reprised with a stunning roster of contemporary artists handling the vocal duties, including Fanny Franklin (singer for West Coast funk outfit Orgone), neo-Motown youngster Mayer Hawthorne, and dirty soul specialists Rachel Nagy of the Detroit Cobras and Lisa Kekaula of the BellRays. Sitting alongside those covers are several new instrumentals that offer a full serving of the fuzzed-out, wah-wahed, stinging, spacey pyrotechnics of Coffey’s guitar playing. (Out now)

ESSENTIAL “Knockabout’’

Coffey plays the Brighton Music Hall June 5.