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DENNIS COFFEY (CLARK SUMMIT) MY FIRST RECORDING AS AN ARTIST

dennis

April 25th, 2015

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DENNIS COFFEY (CLARK SUMMIT) – MY FIRST RECORDING AS AN ARTIST
I spent my last year of service in the Army at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. One night I went to the non-commissioned officers club because I had been promoted to Spec-4 (Corporal) and sat in with a local band. The band leader was a keyboard player named Johnny McCullough. After hearing me play, Johnny hired me to join his band. They were working at different clubs in the area. Johnny and his partner Phil Gernhard were also record producers so they used me on recording sessions too. They were recording local acts and used a studio built by sound engineer Homer Fesperman in a Quonset hut on Shakespeare Road. They just had a monster hit record called “Stay” on one of their artists Maurice Williams.

Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs

Maurice Williams

Dennis Coffey and his Gretsch guitar

Dennis Coffey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One day Johnny and Phil asked me if I would like to record a song I wrote called “Holding Hands”. I agreed and they booked the session. We recorded “Holding Hands” and another song I wrote called “Why Not”. They took the master recordings to NYC and got an artist deal for me on May Records, a label owned by Colpix. The only condition was I had to use the name Clark Summit. The people at the record label said I couldn’t have a hit using a name like Dennis Coffey. They released the first single but nothing happened with it. I finally moved back to Detroit when my tour of duty was up and started looking for a job with a band. I was out of work for two weeks and then got hired to play six nights a week at The Wayne Show Bar. That was the beginning of my full time music career in Metro Detroit.
One day I started looking through my record collection and recently found my copy of “Holding Hands” and put it on YouTube. I also found my copy of “Why Not” and put that on YouTube too. It is the first time I have listened to both of these songs since 1961. I hope you enjoy them and my blast from the past.

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Dennis Coffey