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4.8 out of 5 stars
Standing in the Shadows of Motown [DVD] [2003]
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2004
This movie is a definitive must for anyone who has enjoyed any song produced on Motown, since most people don't know who the musicians are. THE FUNK BROTHERS played on songs like "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" by Gladys Knight & The Pips, "Singed Seadled Delivered..." by Stevie Wonder, "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye, "Baby Love", "Do You Love Me", "My Girl" etc. etc. etc. This movie is about THE FUNK BROTHERS - everything you could and should want to know about their work is featured on these two discs. There are TONS of special features (they never seem to end...); discographies, biographies, around 20 left out scenes, jam session and MUCH MUCH more. In the movie Chaka Kahn's vocal performance is spectacular and Bootsy Collins' vocal performance of "Do You Love Me" and "Cool Jerk" are very entertaining.
All I knew before I saw this movie was that James Jamerson had played bass on "Grapvine" and that he was part of the Motown studio band called "The Funk Brothers", but I had no idea they had done this much! This is definetly a missing piece in the puzzle of music history and it's not only recommended - at this price it's a must.
To regret this knowledge you would have to be insane.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2006
I'm really only writing this to answer/redress the one star review given by another reviewer somehwere in this listing.

Yes there probably is black and white film of the funk brothers, and yes, Mr. Gordy probably has it, but in typical Gordy fashion, he'll probably take it to his grave rather than let the Funk Brothers have thier rightful acclaim.

The simple fact is, and this not debatable - this is the best review of the Funk Brothers that (as of 2006) exists.

There are some great motown renditions from the live performance (and yes I was aprehensive about this before viewing, but you ain't gonna get Marvin back on stage now are you).

This film is not perfect (I believe James Jamerson deserves a film to himself!!!) by any means, but it is still pretty stunning, and a NECESSARY film.

Avoid the whinging of the one review here, it is easy to knock anything from the armchair, the chap who made this was truly passionate about his subject matter. And it's hard to get to talk to the legends who have passed on.

And I'd lay you 10-1 the Berry Gordy would not allow one peice of original motown footage to be used, heaven forbid it may be seen as an endorsement of the legendary Funk Brothers.

This is the best there is, long overdue, respect to the makers, respect to the music .... It's what's in the groove that counts!
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2003
I bought this on import from Amazon.com. If you never buy anything else on Motown, BUY THIS. For too long these musicians, who were the backbone of Motown's incredible rise to the top of the music tree, have been overlooked. Allan Slutsky deserves a medal and our undying gratitude for his film which remembers some of the greatest musicians who have ever lived. Most of these were seasoned musicians before they came to Motown & it is they, not the artists who created what we today call the Motown Sound. Allan has created a piece of history for us and has given reconition to many who had previously been overlooked by earlier authors. There are parts of this film that brought tears to my eyes, joyful tears. Listen to Jack Ashord work that tambourine as he did on Grapevine, marvel at Pistol Allen & Uriel Jones as they give the backbeat to the music, but most of all, enjoy the film as it takes you back to those wonderful days in the sixties when Motown ruled the world.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2004
How do you recognise Motown ? What defines 'Motown' for you ? Would you know Diana Ross and the Supremes ? For sure. Four Tops ? Almost certainly. Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, Martha and the Vandellas. "Yes, I know the names and the hits". Sure you do. As soon as it comes on the air you say "Motown". Not pop, not Rock n' Roll nor Blues or even, dare I say it 'soul' - you call it "Motown". Even my 11 year old knows Motown and the sound. For a couple of generations of folks it's almost a musical birth-right: Mums and Dads pass it down all over. But how did Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, Holland - Dozier - Holland et al get that sound ? Who would you credit ?
What do you think when the bass line explodes all over the place at the beginning of "Bernadette" ? Or how the snare and guitar lock in to a water tight groove to kick "(love is like a)Heatwave" onto another level of musicianship ? Remember, we're talking mid - sixties here ! We're talking a whole new definition especially from the genius but ultimately tormented mind of the great James Jamerson. This is the story of the Funk Brothers. The sound of Motown. The story of the largely un - credited musicians who were at the creative epicentre of that explosion of joy.
After many years of planning, frustrations, the will and determination of one man - Allan Slutsky - and some sad loses, the story of the guys that gave us the Motown Sound has come to light and then some. Be warned: If there is even an ounce of love of Motown in you, this film will make you cry - and laugh and sing. It is as much a emotional rollercoaster ride as any Hollywood blockbuster.
The film covers and spans the generation of Classic Motown musicians from the immense genius of James Jamerson to the incomparable Bob Babbit (the "Babbit")who alone spans two decades of too many to mention credits. From the explosive drums of Benny Benjamin to the great Pistol Allen and Uriel Jones. Do you know a sublime moment ? Take a listen to Jack Ashfords tambourine playing. Tambourine playing ! You bet and Jack gets to the heart of the matter with words, too. The six stringers are well represented as are the keyboard greats who are found in the many grooves of Classic Motown.
The latter day kudos and recognition of the remaining Funk Brothers has given these gentlemen a new lease of life and it is obvious from the film just what Slutsky's tireless persuit has meant to them. The live performance material is flawless and do you know what ? The ever present smile of Joe Messina is worth the asking price alone ! Supported by sympathetic and accurate arrangements, the Funks lay down the chops that they put to vinyl some 35 - 40 years ago. Can you imagine ?
Many may question why still - alive Motown vocal talents were not invited onto the bill: I think the point is that this film is about the Funks who long stood in obscurity and the shadows of vocal greats. The singers joining the Funks are of very gifted talent, heart and above all, respect of legends. That respect just shines through. I'm sure many of you will seek out Joan Osborne after hearing her wonderful voice. Bootsy, well, Bootsy is Bootsy - just Funkadelicious and never mind the hat, this guy laid down the groove to James Brown's 'Sex Machine' so don't knock it !

But the point of the movie is more than just musicianship and great tracks. This film is primarily about people. Extra - ordinarily talented people but people none the less with big hearts, big hurts, great stories and creators within a legend. After you have thrilled at the performance go straight to the bonus features. Listen to the dinner stories, biographies and sad human stories of those who "did not make it". In fact, my advice is go there first. It will give you a whole new perspective when you watch the film proper.
To the Funks, kudos, many more accolades and much love for giving us 'the' sound. To Dr Licks / Allan Slutsky, un - told credit is due. Get this DVD - you'll wear it out soon enough.
Telefret.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 August 2006
I'm not even a big fan of Motown records, but this film is something else. The Funk Brothers were the sessions players who played on a large percentage of the hits of the 60's and early 70's.

Sadly some of the key players died before this film was made but the remaining musicians get together and play. The contemparay film of them reformed playing motown classics is absolutely marvellous. It helps if you put the 5.1 sound on as well. The first performance brought me close to tears.

The documentary film is also interesting and the stories about the legendary bass player (who I had never heard of) James Jamerson and others are fascinating. I watched it three times in the first month of owning the DVD.

This is an essential music DVD for those interested in the history of Motown.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2006
despite being in my 40's , loving motown and northern soul, i must confess i had never heard of the funk brothers. this film was reveiwed in a wigan athletic fanzine. i went to see at the local cinema, there were 3 other people in the place! at first its documentary style seemed odd in a cinema setting, but i was soon hooked. this is a masterpiece. i bought the cd, dvd and to cap it all i went to see the funk bros when they played in manchester.

this rekindled my love for motown like nothing else. this is a moving and poignant story, but the music is as feelgood and uplifting as ever. to my suprise there is a great contribution from joan osborne , not someone you associate with soul, but her version of "what becomes of the broken hearted" is ace. the real stars are the funks living and dead.

listen out for the narrator in the introduction...."...in Detroit that sound arrived." awesome and emotional.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2005
What a abosolutly fantastic DVD and about time these superb musicians got the reconition they deserve.This DVD has a good mixture of music and interviews that makes it a must for any Motown fan or anyone who has a true interest in music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2008
Similarly to one of your other reviewers, I stumbled on this film whilst bored one night with mainsteam TV. It completely opened my eyes!! I have always loved Motown, and for these performers to get back together, and with the stories they had to tell was wonderfully mind-boggling.

People like the Funk Brothers should never die...they have real soul!!

I'd go a long way to see a concert of theirs.

Oh, and if you agree with me, you should also buy the double CD album...it has quite a bit of extra stuff that the DVD doesn't have...like superb instrumental backing tracks only...the best of which is "Love is Like an Aching in My Heart"....play it in the car and CRANK UP THE VOLUME!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2005
Just saw this on TV and have to have my own copy. The technical detail is enthralling, showing the unique styles of individual band members both alive and dead. Just to hear the surviving band build "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" after almost 40 years is truly moving to any Motown fan, and Bootsy....superb!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2004
I saw this film several times in the cinema, and burst into tears every time they show footage of the Funk Brothers playing. It is truly inspirational stuff, and although I don't have the DVD yet, I have it on good authority from our American friends that it has some amazing special features.
If you are only slightly interested in Motown, go and buy this DVD, as you won't see anything else like it. I'm going to see the Funk Brothers in Manchester next week and I can't wait. YOU SHOULD TOO!
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