Movie Reviews: Standing In The Shadows Of Motown




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     Artisan Entertainment (1 hr. 48 mins.)
     A documentary about Motown’s house musicians the created music that helped to define the era of the 1960s played on more #1 records than the Beatles, the Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley combined.
     Funk Brothers (Joe Messina, Johnny Griffith, Joe Hunter, Bob Babbitt, Richard "Pistol" Allen).
Bottom Line:


"Standing In The Shadows of Motown" tells the story of Motown Record’s unsung heroes — the Funk Brothers — the creators of the Motown Sound. The Funk Brothers were unsung because they were local jazz musicians playing behind Motown legend’s Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Supremes, Gladys Knight and Martha Reeves. The film finally gives the musicians who were black and white the recognition they deserve after 30 years.

One of the film’s highlights profiles bassist James Jamerson, the late Funk Brother who used only one finger to keep two times at once. Another highlight are interviews with dozens of other Funk Brothers performing many of the hit songs performed by today’s pop artists Joan Osborne, Gerald Levert, Me'shell NdegeOcello, Bootsy Collins, Ben Harper, Chaka Khan and Montell Jordan.

Nineteen seventy-two marked the abrupt end of the "Motown Sound "when Berry Gordy moved the company from Detroit to Los Angeles, without warning leaving the Funk Brothers behind and unemployed.

"Standing In The Shadows of Motown" punctuates how hard-hearted corporate America is towards its workforce. Corporations are just so thankful, and will cut workers loose without warning. Some of the Funk Brothers including James Jamerson died of a broken heart because they were never recognized during their lifetimes. The fabulous reunion performance at the end of the film by the surviving Funk Brothers will have you walking out the theater humming your favorite Motown song. Guaranteed.



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