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D. Rees (UK)
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The Motown Anthology
The Motown Anthology
Price: 11.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Funks at their best, 27 Sep 2011
This is the Funks at their very, very best and without orchestration to spoil the enjoyment. They cover every style. The first disc is the one. Listen to this as you would look at one of those strange pictures, where it is only after achieving a kind of trance that a picture appears.

They never, ever play the same phrase the same way twice. The interplay between, on the one hand, Jamerson and the guitars and then the guitars as between themselves is extraordinary. Fabulous; intriguing; probably completely unplayable by anyone else. Ever. Period.

Disc one, tracks to focus on:

3: raw, raw funk. Basic blues structure. Simple tune. But dripping with complexity and subtlety...
4: energy-riven, high octane, with fabulous drum beat and Eddie on bongos
9
13: 'are you lonely for me baby'
15: gentle, minimalist blues/soul.
19: extraordinarily melodic. The ripple between bass and guitars has to be heard to be believed
21: ditto. You ache to hear the opening phrase again. And you do...eventually.


Ain't No Sun Since You've Been Gone (Album Version)
Ain't No Sun Since You've Been Gone (Album Version)
Price: 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Funks at their best, 27 Sep 2011
This is the Funks at their very, very best and without orchestration to spoil the enjoyment. The first disc is the one. Listen to this as you would look at one of those strange pictures, where it is only after achieving a kind of trance that a picture appears.

They never, ever play the same phrase the same way twice. Plus the interplay between, on the one hand, Jamerson and the guitars and then the guitars as between themselves. Fabulous; intriguing; probably completely unplayable by anyone else. Ever. Period.

Disc one, tracks to focus on:

3: raw, raw funk. Basic blues structure. Simple tune. But dripping with complexity and subtlety...
4: energy-riven, high octane, with fabulous drum beat and Eddie on bongos
9
13: 'are you lonely for me baby'
15: gentle, minimalist blues/soul. The ripple between bass and guitars has to be heard to be believed
19: extraordinarily melodic. You ache to hear the opening phrase again. And you do...evntually.
21: ditto


Standing in the Shadows of Motown [DVD] [2003]
Standing in the Shadows of Motown [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Joe Hunter
Price: 5.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Watch the film; then buy the CD!!, 23 April 2009
I was an out and out Motown afficionado when I was younger and when in 'cool' circles it was deeply unfashionable to be so (I kept fairly quiet about it!!). At the time, this was what my children might today call 'chav' music; working class stuff that was considered (by those supposedly 'in the know')to be pap.

This film (and the breathtaking CD of the same name) starts to put all of that in a stunningly different perspective. It also explains a few reactions I had at the time.

Reactions first. I remember thinking back then 'what an incredible bass line'. Now I understand I was listening to Jamerson. I also remember thinking, round about 1971, 'this has all gone off'. That must have coincided with the move to Los Angeles and the unceremonious 'dumping' of the Funk Brothers.

Now a bit of socio-political comment. In Britain in the late 60s/early 70s being 'cool' was about aping the working class. Yet Motown was a no-go area in this 'coolness'. The odd thing is that the Funk Brothers (and others in the Motown team) clearly had dragged themselves up. These were guys who had worked in the car factories, who carried guns (see the film), and (per Smokey Robinson)had sung as a way out of slipping into the Detroit gang culture.

But these musicians were, by any standards, virtuosos. I can see this must have infuriated and frustrated the (presumably largely white) US music establishment. Here were guys who quite obviously could outplay anybody and who were succeeding in spite of things like the 10% TV time quotas that were imposed on black acts (curious though, that a fair number of the original TV performances quite obviously did not use the Funks. Where this happens, the tracks are usually quite feeble and really highlight just what the Funks were adding).

Although even around 1970/1 I wonder how Motown was really viewed in the US. On YouTube there is a clip of the Marvin Gaye 'What's Going On' concert (also showing Jamerson playing). I was staggered to see (as the camera panned round to the audience) that there was barely a white face to be seen in the huge crowd.

I find all this a fascinating background to music whose texture and subtlety is mind-blowing. You need to listen to the CDs here. The second is better here, because it peels away the layers and reveals the original masterpieces (that include Jamerson). As someone in the film says 'these [backing tracks] are musical entities unto themselves'

The second CD needs to be listened to as a 'package' with the film and read together with the terrific sleeve notes. Doing it this way, you can see who is playing what and appreciate more fully the enormity of the skills on display here. You can also appreciate how unassuming and genuinely pleasant this bunch of guys were.

The test of any music is how often you can listen to it without it starting to sound banal. The more you listen to this, the richer it sounds and the more you hear (and feel). If I was on a desert island, this is the one I'd take...

I only hope that Alan Slutsky and his colleagues can dig more of this stuff out of the archive and give it the exposure it deserves.


Standing In The Shadows Of Motown [Deluxe Edition]
Standing In The Shadows Of Motown [Deluxe Edition]
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 20.69

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtuoso musicianship!!, 2 July 2007
I was an out and out Motown afficionado when I was younger and when in 'cool' circles it was deeply unfashionable to be so (I kept fairly quiet about it!!). At the time, this was what my children might today call 'chav' music; working class stuff that was considered (by those supposedly 'in the know')to be pap.

This CD (and the breathtaking film of the same name) starts to put all of that in a stunningly different perspective. It also explains a few reactions I had at the time.

Reactions first. I remember thinking back then 'what an incredible bass line'. Now I understand I was listening to Jamerson. I also remember thinking, round about 1971, 'this has all gone off'. That must have coincided with the move to Los Angeles and the unceremonious 'dumping' of the Funk Brothers.

Now a bit of socio-political comment. In Britain in the late 60s/early 70s being 'cool' was about aping the working class. Yet Motown was a no-go area in this 'coolness'. The odd thing is that the Funk Brothers (and others in the Motown team) clearly had dragged themselves up. These were guys who had worked in the car factories, who carried guns (see the film), and (per Smokey Robinson)had sung as a way out of slipping into the Detroit gang culture.

But these musicians were, by any standards, virtuosos. I can see this must have infuriated and frustrated the (presumably largely white) US music establishment. Here were guys who quite obviously could outplay anybody and who were succeeding in spite of things like the 10% TV time quotas that were imposed on black acts.

Although even around 1970/1 I wonder how Motown was really viewed in the US. On YouTube there is a clip of the Marvin Gaye 'What's Going On' concert (also showing Jamerson playing). I was staggered to see (as the camera panned round to the audience) that there was barely a white face to be seen in the huge crowd.

I find all this a fascinating background to music whose texture and subtlety is mind-blowing. The second CD is better here, because it peels away the layers and reveals masterpieces. As someone in the film says 'these [backing tracks] are musical entities unto themselves'

The second CD needs to be listened to as a 'package' with the film and read together with the terrific sleeve notes. Doing it this way, you can see who is playing what and appreciate more fully the enormity of the skills on display here. You can also appreciate how unassuming and genuinely pleasant this bunch of guys were.

The test of any music is how often you can listen to it without it starting to sound banal. The more you listen to this, the richer it sounds and the more you hear (and feel). If I was on a desert island, this is the one I'd take...

I only hope that Alan Slutsky and his colleagues can dig more of this stuff out of the archive and give it the exposure it deserves.


This Old Heart Of Mine & Soul On The Rocks
This Old Heart Of Mine & Soul On The Rocks
Offered by adrians_records
Price: 15.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing!!, 19 Jan 2007
I heard neither of these LPs first time round, and so I only knew the Isleys from their more famous hits, which, frankly, had always irritated me. Many years later, we are all starting to grasp that every Motown song (no matter who sings) is really the 'work'of the Funk Brothers. A number of tracks on these LPs are a classic example of this. They sound breathtakingly modern, but with the added twist that they are better than modern. They are better because - being expert jazz musicians - the Funk Brothers were better than probably any modern rock or pop session musician. The first track sets everything off on the right course. It's a complete rework of some of the more popular renditions of the song and is distinguished by the mindboggling energy of the basswork (presumably Mr. Jamerson). The second track to look out for is 12 ('Seek and you shall find'). The precision (of the guitar chops and snare) and 'build' of the track blows you away. There is also a gaggle of songs (20 to 23 inclusive) which have a modernity that it is hard to believe. What is also stunning about this material is how the Isleys come across as having a rawness and power (in the James Brown Mould) that outdoes even exponents such as Junior Walker (although we must never forget that the foundation for all these songs is really Earl, James, Joe, Bob and the rest). Extraordinary! Buy one! Buy one for your music-loving friends!


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