Pop & Hiss

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Pop & Hiss Premiere: Funk legend Dennis Coffey's 'Knockabout'

April 7, 2011 | 12:04 pm

STRUT075CD_cover_small As DJ Jazzy Jeff opined on the intro to DJ House Shoes' recently released "The A to Z of Dennis Coffey" (Mix): "Do you know who Dennis Coffey is? I mean seriously ... do you know who Dennis Coffey is? If you don't know who Dennis Coffey is, and even if you do know who Dennis Coffey is ... you definitely need to check this out."

And who are you to argue with the man who once declared his love to a woman on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" TV show  by reciting the poem, "Roses are red, violets are blue, let's get some BBQ and get busy." Especially considering the four-decades-deep legacy of the Detroit guitarist -- session man on seminal recordings from the Temptations, the Dramatics and the Parliaments. He played wah-wah on "Psychedelic Shack," and if you haven't heard that, say a votive to the gods of soul and YouTube.

Forging a viable solo career in his own right, the onetime session man recorded the Top 10 funk workout "Scorpio." This song may be best known as supplying the breakbeat for a litany of rap records, including Double Dee & Steinski's "Lesson 3," LL Cool J's "Jinglin' Baby," Young MC's "Bust a Move" and Public Enemy's "Night of the Living Baseheads." It was even sampled on Rage Against the Machine's "Renegades of Funk."

You can build an enviable legacy off those accomplishments alone, but he even managed to produce the cult classic "Cold Fact" by Rodriguez. Ever-prolific, Coffey's 14th studio album is fittingly self-titled, with the Strut release offering the chance to reintroduce himself to a third generation. 

Featuring guest spots from Mayer Hawthorne (covering Parliament's "All Your Goodies Are Gone"), Scottish singer Paolo Nutini and Detroit rock anarchists the Dirtbombs, Coffey's funk has a fresh coat of paint, but remains dirty as ever. This classic Motor City groove is evidenced on "Knockabout," a four-minute Molotov cocktail of supernatural guitars, V8 drums and gospel organs.

Other than the the Charles Bradley record, you might not hear anything with a nastier groove all year. After all, no normal mortal can make people dance like this.

Download: Pop & Hiss Premiere
MP3: Dennis Coffey --"Knockabout"

Constellations -- "The A to Z of Dennis Coffey: A Mix by House Shoes" by Strut

-- Jeff Weiss