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4.4 out of 5 stars
19
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 16 January 2005
Congraulations Motown for allowing a deluxe edition of the film soundtrack, also for giving and holding back as I will explain later. First of all is the original soundtrack of the film which although mentioned in an earlier review, the uninspiring vocal performance of Meshell Ndegeocello doesnt seem to do justice to the project. The vocals of Joan Osborne and Ben Harper more then make up for these small short comings. Just to hear that original period organ used on the classic "I Heard Through The Grapevine" in the film concert will make any hardened soul fan's hair stand on end. Also included is the Funk Brothers anthem "The Flick" which see's it's first outing on a genuine Motown CD. At the end of the first disk we are treated to three bonus tracks. The main one being the rare outing of a track by Dennis Coffey intitled "Scorpio" this heavily sampled piece of funk has been a rare groove fave for many years.
Now CD2 - yes, they are billing it as a naked instrumental remixes of the original hits but there is a lot more here then meets the eye. With Motown holding back, many of these tracks are not the originally released backing tracks. Instead they are alternate takes which really show the talents of everybody involved and would please any hardend Motown collector or any soul fan. For example the Supremes track "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart" features a fantastic lead piano by Earl Van Dyke, but to Motown and Northern Soul fans you can detect the beginnings of the Northern Soul classic by The Contours "Just A Little Misunderstanding". On the track "For Once In My Life" you can sense that the band are really holding themselves back, knowing this is a vocal backing track, despite this you can feel a sense of soul and jazz fusing together - it's just happening. Thus to the trained and seasoned ear, here is a refreshing slant on the Motown Sound. So don't get hung up on what seems to be a same ole tracklisting belive me there are gems within the gems.
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on 31 July 2017
Good Album recommended some contributors are not so listenable though.
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on 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.
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on 16 May 2003
Listen to this cd just to hear the fidelity of the live sound capture. This is up there with Live Bob Marley.
Then listen to the performances. If you dont have a mirror or ability to feel for a pulse and are concerned if someone is actually dead - it is not a problem now. Play Heatwave, or indeed any of the tracks and if the body doesnt display rhythmic twitching - they are dead (or not worth keeping alive)
To say the band is tight is a huge understatement. Collective playing at its best dozens of players acting in funk unison.
The rhythm section is foregrounded to splendid effect - but then they bring in guest artists which I suspect their history will say gave some of the best perfmorances of their life. My friend said he would hold a party just to hear this CD at it.
Bought the book the film was based on (sic) and am searching for the concert DVD. A lot of the players were dying of cancers, heart problems and plain ol age but my goodness all you hear is life on this CD. Dont waste precious time get it now. I am 53 and never got into Motown the first time round .
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on 13 July 2009
Having seen the Film, recently, on the Motown night BBC3, I bought the CD purely for the Joan Osbourne versions of '(Love is like a) Heatwave' and 'What becomes of the Broken Hearted'.
I thought that I was not a lover of Instrumentals but the 'Naked Instrumentals' on Disc 2 are exceptional, and I found myself not just appreciating these but really enjoying them. Having sung through the whole of 'Love is like an itching in my Heart' as well as tracks 12,15, and 17 I can fully understand why the Vocal artists sounded so good.
The support of that band nourishing and projecting the rich vocal talents of Diana Ross et al was always going to be a winning combination.
If you like Motown you will love these Discs and you may just appreciate them from a different angle to that which you did before.
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on 7 June 2004
This 2cd Deluxe Edition of SITSOM (soundtrack), an award winning film about the unsung heroes of Motown known as the Funk Brothers-the group of musicians behind all the hits is an incredible tribute. Disc 1 consists mainly of newly recorded live versions of Motown hits by the surviving members of the Funks with a variety of guest vocal artists which recreates the magic and atmosphere of over 30 years ago. Also included are original Motown recordings stripped of the vocals, allowing the listener to concentrate on the sheer musicianship of all involved. Three bonus tracks complete this disk with recordings by the Funks made with non-Motown artists. Disk 2 is packed full of 'new' material, that is to say, you know these recordings but not like this! Continuing the idea on Disk 1 of removing the vocals we are treated to some amazing and clear musicianship alot of which gets lost in the mix when heard with vocal harmonies etc.
All the Funks get the long awaited praises, notably bass player James Jamerson (his biography was the seed that resulted in the film). Anyone who likes or is interested in Motown should buy this cd. Anyone interested in the history of pop or soul should buy this cd.....this is where it all started.
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on 17 December 2002
The record is absolutely amazing, its worth it just to hear Joan Osborne's version of what becomes of the broken hearted, I can not remember the last time I heard so much passion and raw being put into a song. It's a better cover than the original; much more powerful and moving, words just cannot express how good a version it is, amazing. On the whole the album has some fantastic reworking of old Motown songs and is well worth having in your collection
Definitely worth it
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on 13 April 2009
Having seen the film at a cinema and bought the DVD, I bought the CD on the strength that the DVD cut the songs sharply, when playing the songs only. The star guest singer is Joan Osbourne, particularly with "What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted". It's good to see most of the Funk Brothers in action, while they were still alive. Sadly, many have passed on since this album was made. Either way, if you love the music Motown played at Hitsville, Detroit, this is a recommended purchase, as you will not get this opportunity again.
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on 14 May 2013
YOU WILL NEED THIS CD FOR DISC 2 WHICH HAS MANY INSTRUMENTAL VERSIONS OF MOTOWN CLASSICS.WORTH THE PRICE FOR INSTRUMENTAL VERSION OF SUPREMES LOVE IS LIKE AN ITCHING IN MY HEART WHICH IS SENSATIONAL
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on 11 July 2009
a brilliant new album that revisits classic tracks with artists like Ben Harper and Joan Osborne it really is great music , i thought that covering heard it through the grapevine was doomed till i heard it( wow its good ) with those backing musicians even i could sound good !
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