Legendary Motown Guitarist Talks New Archival Jazz Funk Release
Dennis Coffey is truly one of the unsung heroes of the guitar. In the late Sixties, he became a member of the famed “Funk Brothers” – the backing musicians that played on all the Motown hit singles. His unique style can be heard on “Ball of Confusion” by the Temptations, “War” by Edwin Starr, and “Someday We’ll Be Together” by the Supremes, just to name a few. He also had a solo career, scoring the million-selling instrumental “Scorpio” in 1971.
Resonance Records, usually known for their excellent jazz releases, has just issued “Hot Coffey in the D: Burnin’ at Morey Baker’s Showplace Lounge,” a previously-unheard live album from 1968, featuring Coffey, plus Lyman Woodard on organ and Melvin Davis on drums.
We talk why it took so long for this fantastic recording to see a proper release. Plus, he tells us how he first got involved with Motown Records, and how he helped discover the enigmatic singer, Rodriguez.
Enuff Z’Nuff arrived at the height of hair metal, but had more in common with bands like Cheap Trick, emphasizing melody over guitar trickery. They scored a couple of radio hits in the early Nineties with “Fly High Michelle” and “New Toy.” The band has continued releasing albums full of great melodic hooks. Their latest release, Clowns Lounge, goes back to the beginning, featuring songs that were written and recorded during sessions for their debut record, but never released. We talk with leader Chip Z’Nuff about the archival project, which also features one of the last known vocals by Warrant vocalist Jani Lane on a song called “Devil of Shakespeare.” There’s also a sign of things to come, with a brand-new track called “Dog on a Bone.”
Our first show of 2017 is a joint collaboration between Icon Fetch and Dan Miles of the Friends of Dan Music Podcast. We profile several of the legendary artists that passed away in the brutal year that was 2016. Through the magic of modern technology, Dan and Tony (in Arizona and Ohio, respectively) trade off giving tributes to Prince, Glenn Frey of the Eagles, David Bowie, Maurice White of Earth, Wind, & Fire, Leon Russell, Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane, Merle Haggard, and Keith Emerson & Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
Here’s the “Icon Fetch” version of the program:
A much more in-depth version of the show is available at the Friends of Dan Music Podcast by clicking here
When you’re ranking the Best Christmas records of all time, The Ventures Christmas Album is definitely near the top of the list. Not only is it incredibly clever, the way the guys used current songs of the Sixties and morphed them into holiday classics, but it’s also a whole lotta fun to listen to. Real Gone Music has just reissued the classic album in remastered form, and for the first time, the set includes both the stereo version, and the must-sought after mono version of the album. From Real Gone Music, we welcome in Gordon Anderson, who is co-president of the label. Gordon spent over 17 years overseeing things at Collectors Choice music, before co-founding Real Gone. We chat how this Ventures reissue came to fruition, and future projects.
Gayla Peevey was all of ten years old when she recorded the now-classic Christmas song, “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.” She cut the track back in 1953 for Columbia records and even performed the single on the Ed Sullivan show. The song’s popularity allowed her hometown zoo to obtain a real hippopotamus.
But, Gayla found following up her hit song difficult, and trying to break out as a serious singer even more challenging. She eventually wrote and recorded songs under a different name before walking away from the business altogether to raise a family.
But then something funny happened: the Hippopotamus song continued to grow in popularity, until now it’s one of the most played Christmas songs of all time, and she even has reconnected with the Oklahoma City Zoo to perform the song there as a holiday tradition.
You could say it’s been one hell of a ride for Dwight Twilley. Emerging from Tulsa, Oklahoma in the mid Seventies, he scored a big hit right out of the gate with “I’m On Fire” – establishing right away Twilley’s keen way with a melody, something he’s been doing for over 40 years. After souring on the bright lights of the big city, he returned home to Tulsa near the close of the last millennium and began making records on his own terms.
The Best of Twilley: The Tulsa Years sums up one of the most fruitful chapters of his career. The two disc set also contains several bonus tracks as well. Twilley also gives his memories of the late Leon Russell.
Big Star’s first two LPs were full of chiming guitars, heavy drums and melodic hooks, yet somehow both albums failed to meet the high expectations. Those failures loomed large as Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens went to work on their next project. Eventually called Third or Sister Lovers, the songs recorded for these sessions seemed at times to be the polar opposite of their first two records – alternating between haunting moments of despair, and fragile beauty. The album, never officially completed, has been issued over the years in many forms and track listings. But, Omnivore Recordings has assembled quite possibly the final word on the legendary project.
Complete Third is s three-disc set, bringing together virtually every note recorded for these sessions. Through acoustic demos, rough mixes, and about as final version of the album as we’ll ever hear, we get a peek behind the scenes of this fractured masterpiece. We talk to Big Star drummer Jody Stephens about recording the album, what producer Jim Dickinson brought to the project, and how a song he wrote, “For You,” helped shape the rest of the record.
Remember when an album was a collection of great songs that you wanted to play over and over? Seth Walker does, and he’s recently issued Gotta Get Back, his ninth album, full of his signature soul-blues hybrid. The new record finds him returning to his roots, enlisting family members to play on the album, and embracing the music that set him down his life’s journey.
We talk to him about some of the unique stories behind these great new songs, and how Stevie Ray Vaughan changed his life as a young college student.
John Hall has been able to live two distinctly different lives. In one, he led the Seventies soft-rock outfit Orleans, co-writing their two big hits “Dance With Me” and “Still the One.” In the other, he was a US Representative for New York’s 19th District from 2007 to 2011. John’s just put out his memoir, Still the One: A Rock n’ Roll Journey To Congress and Back.
In it, we find several times where his two worlds intersect. We also find out how he struck up a friendship with Janis Joplin, and also had a large hand in the No Nukes concerts that featured heavyweights like Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne.
Well, they say that everything old is new again – that holds true for Banjo Nickaru & the Western Scooches, who have combined elements of country, bluegrass, western swing, rockabilly, and Dixieland jazz. The result is an infectious blend of styles that will get you dancing. They’ve just issued a new EP called The Very Next Thing, and from the band we talk with both Nick Russo, who plays guitar and banjo, and Betina Hershey, one of the singers.
Both Russo & Hershey are also in the Hot Jazz Jumpers, so we talk the differences in both bands. Plus, Hershey tells the story about how the two met, and eventually got married (also turning out the ironically titled “I Don’t Believe in Love”).