May 16th, 2015

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Another project Mike and I did was on me as the artist. I was working with the Lyman Woodard Trio at the Frolic Show Bar in Detroit. Lyman played a Hammond B3 Organ and Melvin Davis played drums and sang. We were getting great crowds four nights a week. I had left a top forty band because I was getting tired of playing cover songs. When producer and guitarist Don Davis invited me and Mike to hear his group at the Frolic, we drove down there. The Frolic Show Bar was on the John C Lodge Service Drive close to Claremont in Detroit. Don was playing guitar, Lyman Woodard was playing organ, and George McGregor was playing drums. When I heard all the funky instrumentals they were doing, I was impressed. Don invited me to sit in that night and the crowd really dug what I was playing. Later that Don told me he was leaving the band to focus on producing and they would need another guitarist. He introduced me to Lyman who was taking over the band. Lyman offered me the gig and I agreed to do it.

We played jazz and R&B four nights a week at the Frolic. The crowds loved it! I later added the Wah Wah pedal and a fuzz tone pedal to go with my Gibson Byrdland guitar and Fender Bassman amp. We went from jazz and R&B to funk and psychedelic jazz. We even opened up for the MC5 at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit. We were doing a funky version of “It’s Your Thing” a hit released by the Isley Brothers at the Frolic. The crowd really responded well to our version so Mike and I decided to record it with Lyman and Melvin at Tera Shirma Studios.

The song turned out great and Mike sent a copy of the tape to Clarence Avant and I gave a copy to Hank Cosby at Motown. When Clarence heard the tape, he offered us a production deal with Maverick/Venture Records owned by MGM. We had signed the contracts and were ready to record an album when Hank approached me on a session at Motown. He told me Berry Gordy loved the tape and wanted to sign me to a contract at Motown. I told Hank they were too late. I had just signed a contract with Maverick/Venture Records. “It’s Your Thing” was a number one R&B hit in Detroit but that was it. Here are links to “It’s Your Thing”, “Iceberg’s Thang”, and “Let the Sunshine” from the “Hair and Thangs” album we recorded for Maverick/Venture Records.Other musicians on the album are Funk Brother Bob Babbitt and Tony Newton on bass and Andrew Smith on drums. I hope you enjoy this album.

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Dennis Coffey