CD Live Wire: The Westbound Years 1975-1978 (CD 4338186),
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Live Wire: The Westbound Years 1975-1978

  • 1. Some Like It Hot
    2. Wings of Fire
    3. Live Wire
    4. Wild Child
    5. If You Can't Dance to This
    6. Sweet Taste of Sin
    7. Someone Special
    8. Our Love Goes on Forever
    9. Back Home
    10. Free Spirit
    11. Finger Lickin' Good
    12. Boogie Magic
    13. Gimme That Funk
    14. Calling Planet Earth
    15. High on Love
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 148

  • Credits

    He might have been thought of as a two-shot artist for his early-'70s hits "Scorpio" and "Taurus," but ace session guitarist Dennis Coffey continued to put out albums and singles throughout the 1970s, including several for the Westbound label in the mid- to latter part of the decade. Live Wire has 15 tracks from his time with the company, a period that saw the soul and funk with which Coffey had made his reputation mutate to disco. Though "Scorpio" was a great single, and Coffey a distinctive guitarist on that and numerous Motown sessions, as a solo artist his range was rather limited. The material on this compilation -- all written or co-written by Coffey -- is mostly instrumental in nature, though there are some vocals from session singers that sound more like incidental atmospheric afterthoughts than purposeful lyrics. As songs, these are pretty much generic disco vamps that serve as beds for the quite accomplished and tasteful guitar licks, which combine funk, soul, rock, and even some bluesiness. It's kind of like hearing average background disco instrumental music that happens to have a much better than average guitarist possessed of much more imagination than anything else going on in the arrangements. So this really doesn't make a compelling listen unless you're digging for nifty riffs and effects to sample, as you'll admittedly hear on a number of passages throughout the CD, like the mix of chicken-scratch rhythm/synth-sounding distorted licks that kick off the incredibly suggestive "Finger Lickin' Good," or the soaring flutters above a cooking rhythm section on "Free Spirit." Dean Rudland's thorough liner notes make for a good and sympathetic overview of Coffey's work during this period, but you need more than fine guitar playing to make fine recordings, and it could have really done with some better and more fully thought-out tunes to get the most mileage out of Coffey's considerable talents. ~ Richie Unterberger

  • Critic Reviews
    Record Collector (magazine) (p.101) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[H]e sculpted ostentatious instrumentals and party grooves that sizzled with sass, flair and excitement."
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