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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not too sure how much this film will mean to those who didn't grow up with Motown songs as a soundtrack to his or her life- I myself discovered the catalogue in my late junior year when the label was beginning its slow decline through all of the "Greatest Hits" compilations.


This film addresses the inequity (still surviving) of no sidemen credits on Motown records. I had frequently wondered who played the instruments, but figured it was a series of faceless sidemen in Detroit. Well, the sidemen were remarkably constant, and were known as the "Funk Brothers", and this film is based on the book of the same name that tells their story. Lots of talking heads- though they tell fascinating stories- intermingled with the survivng band members backing up a number of young contemporary singers and semi-oldsters like Bootsy Collins, Chaka Khan and Joan Osborne singing to the old arrangements, and a few re-enactments.


Most of the men lived lives of fulfillment playing the jazz they loved, but there was always an edge of melancholy as they realized that their contribution to one of the greatest catalogues of American popular song was not noted. Some of them died sad and addicted, but happily not alone, for the love the band members had for each other survived the years. Two of the men in the film died before its premier. Berry Gordy was given thanks in the credits for his cooperation. It's interesting to wonder if he would have cooperated had the book not preceeded the film. By all accounts he was a real [pick your expletive] and Motown succeeded despite him- and apparently largely due to the efforts of the "Funk Brothers".


This is a great movie, one of the best rock and roll films of all time, and if you remember this era at all you should not miss this picture. It is an enormous emotional experience.
 

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Thanks for the review. I'm originally from Detroit and the music of Motown was definitely part of my family. There are so many movies out right now that I want to see and my schedule is tight, so I probably won't make it to this one before it goes. Thanks for the review and I will definitely pick it up when it comes to dvd as a rental.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Went to see it again last night, two nights in a row. A couple of friends wanted to see nothing else. This enabled me to figure out more fully just what instruments all of the people in the film actually played. Came home afterwards and listened to disc one of a 4-disc CD set of Motown hits and tried to listen for the unbelievable James Jamerson basslines...


Go see this
 

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I am from the era, I was wondering does it have any of the details on Phil Spectors Wall of Sound. Phils arrangements with the Crystals, Ronettes, Darlene Love when she split from the Crystals.



Favorite motown song *Uptown Festival* and had a number of songs that I roller skated many hundreds of times, it was the favorite at our roller skating rink Skateaway in Allentown, PA circa 1979.:)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by hob
I am from the era, I was wondering does it have any of the details on Phil Spectors Wall of Sound. Phils arrangements with the Crystals, Ronettes, Darlene Love when she split from the Crystals.
I haven't seen the movie, but as Phil worked almost exclusively in New York (and had no Motown connections that I know of) it's unlikely he will be featured in this movie.


I for one am interesting in seeing how they treat James Jamerson, the bass player for the Funk Brothers, and one of (if not the most) influential electric bass players in music history. Not a bad feat considering most have no idea who he is!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yep, hob, no mention of Phil. Plenty of other good stuff- among them, finding out that the Funk Brothers were the backup on Jackie Wilson's Higher and Higher, one of the greatest singles of all time.


Jamerson was given a prominent place in the film, as the book the film was inspired by was about him. There is nothing left of his presence visually but stills and a few film clips with no synced sound, but all of his comades spoke of him in a tone that mixed awe and amused annoyance at his tendency to go over the top on various occasions (one of the various "recreation" scenes concerns a snowy ride from a gig, Jamerson, and pickled pig's feet). There was fascinating footage with Jamerson's son and daughter, recollecting their father.


But the last scene, probably the encore, shows the band members taking the stage and being introduced along with large B&W photos of the departed "Funk Brothers". The bassists were introduced last, as I recall, and Jamerson's introduction was "Ladies and Gentlemen, the greatest bassist in Music History, James Jamerson."
 

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There were similar sets of studio musicians in the various music cities. They could do a similar film about the LA session scene, where most of Phil Spector's recording were made.


I've always been fascinated by the story of Carol Kaye , the bassist who has recorded more than 10,000 sessions. "Good Vibrations" and a bunch of other Beach Boys songs, that cool "boom-boom-boom" bass line from "These Boots Are Made For Walking", "Wichita Lineman", "Last Train To Clarksville", "River Deep, Mountain High", "Doo Ron Ron", and too many others to list.


These people are some of the greatest musicians you've never heard of. Drummers tell the story of being heartbroken finding out that their six favorite drummers were all Hal Blaine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Even as a young person I wondered who played the bass on Light My Fire, as there were only four members, one was on keyboards, and Morrison played nothing. A few years ago I heard an interview with Carol Kaye, and sure enough, it was she. Wotta woman. I believe she was part of Phil Spector's "Wrecking Crew", who Brian Wilson wanted and usually got for the Beach Boys sessions.
 

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I've heard nothing but good about this film, so I'm really looking forward to seeing it. There were a lot of anonymous folks who you heard all the time but never knew, so it's nice that some of them finally get their day in the limelight. I think that Darlene Love is a big one, speaking of the Spector crowd.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Williams
I've always been fascinated by the story of Carol Kaye , the bassist who has recorded more than 10,000 sessions.
OH MY!

I have seen Beach Boys Docs. with Carol Kaye and thought wow... how neat!!! A female bass player!


But (thanks for the URL!), I had NO idea that this 'artist' contributed SO much to my listening pleasures!


What a dis-service to her and all of the other (countless!) studio musicians that we have all heard and taken for granted in anonymity (sp)! Very sad...


But, thanks for the URL and insight!
 

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This DVD is in DTS ES and DD EX right? How much surround is in the DVD and how well is it arranged?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by MaxC
This DVD is in DTS ES and DD EX right? How much surround is in the DVD and how well is it arranged?
I only have a 5.1 system, but the sound is incredible. It has great volume from all speakers.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by kevinivey
I only have a 5.1 system, but the sound is incredible. It has great volume from all speakers.
Agreed, it's an aggressive yet very tasteful mix and the recording is outstanding. The movie, while not a masterpiece is entertaining and informative as well. It gives me warm fuzzies all over to see these guys getting their due finally-- especially James Jamerson, one of the all-time geniuses of the bass. The stuff these guys are gushing about him in the movie are not exaggerations; without him and McCartney there would be no modern electric bass at all.
 

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One of the best musical examples on DVD I have seen for a while. The DTS ES performances (which are seperately accesible via seperate menu) have some great mixes and excellent picture quality. A pleasant surprise.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Shaded Dogfood
Even as a young person I wondered who played the bass on Light My Fire[/I..........

I belive it was the keyboardist in the Doors. He played a Rhoades keyboard bass. I saw them in concert and he played it also. If you listen it does sound like Fender/Rhoades bass on the recording.


I played it with my band in '67 for a battle of the band using a Rhoads keyboard. We won!!!!!


Philmar
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Philmar
I belive it was the keyboardist in the Doors.
His name is Ray Manzarek. And I believe you're right. He played both the bass and keyboard parts to many of their songs.


The Doors - Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger, John Densmore


BTW - Standing in the Shadow of Motown is a great film and DVD.
 

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I watched it on a DTS-ES system and was let down by the quality of the audio.

The concert scenes sounded like they recorded them with 2 speakers.

The movie was great but I wish they would have used more of the real music instead of C list talent (man Osborne is not aging well).


The only songs that sounded like a multi track should were the ones in the studio (You Really Got a Hold on Me).


Doug
 
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