Doug Coombe/Courtesy of the artist
Legendary funk guitarist Dennis Coffey plays live on today's
Legendary funk guitarist Dennis Coffey plays live on today's World Cafe. Doug Coombe/Courtesy of the artist
- "It's Your Thing"
- "All Your Goodies Are Gone"
It's hard to overstate the influence of Detroit guitarist Dennis Coffey. Coffey was one of the original Funk Brothers, the Motown house band that introduced a new sound to the label in the 1960s. Coffey's wah-wah guitar lines on Temptations hits like "Psychedelic Shack" and "Cloud 9" were as innovative as they were distinctive, defining the psychedelic and funk sound of the era.
Coffey also had his own hit in 1979 with the instrumental single "Scorpio," a funk classic whose frequently-sampled breaks became a foundation of hip hop.
Now 70 years old, Coffey continues to write, perform and record. Earlier this year, Strut Records released Dennis Coffey, a new album of funk classics and Coffey originals featuring a multi-generational all-star cast of guest musicians, from master session players to newcomers like neo-soul singer Mayer Hawthorne.
On today's World Cafe, Coffey plays live with the Will Sessions Band and discusses his role in shaping the sound of Motown.