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4.9 out of 5 stars76
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on April 6, 2014
What a great singer (wasting time with junk like 'One of Us'). Fabulous songs and great concert footage. Must be seen to be believed. Stumbled onto the media on Youtube, and gladly laid out cash for the DVD (who says public domain footage doesn't sell product?).
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on August 27, 2004
This film is a wonderful tribute to the Funk Brothers. They are truly the 'forgotten heros' of Motown. One thing bothered me about the performances taped for the film...the director spent at least 80% of the time shooting the vocalists (who are great...don't get me wrong). It was the same mistake Motown made in the '60's when it never recognized the Funk Brothers. For this documentary/film the director should have always shot the vocalists in 2 shots with at least one of the Funk Brothers. Some nice 'low depth of field' shots come to mind. The rest should have been instrumentalist shots only. Instead we have performances that feature the vocalists instead of those people that the documentary was about...the Funk Brothers. 'Cloud Nine' is particularily bad...we have an intro about the wa-wa pedal and then no shots of the guitarist in the whole performance. I'm sure the producers and the Funk Brothers shook their heads when they screened the concert footage...too bad, they looked like they were having so much fun! An aside, Joan Osborne's performance of "What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted" is worth the price of the DVD, I just would have loved to see more interaction with the band.
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on January 20, 2015
If you are a fan of Motown this DVD is for you! This is the story of the back-up band for the greatest Motown tunes and their lack of recognition over the years. They are finally getting their due thanks to the creator of this story. A wonderful addition to any music lovers video collection.
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on April 22, 2003
As a kid growing up listening to Motown music and loving every minute of it, I will play "Standing In the Shadow of Motown" over and over to glean and burn every story told into my memory. I was awed by the love and talent of the Funk Brothers even though I had never heard of them before. Finally, they will receive the credit and recognition they deserve. It would have been fun hearing the Funk Brothers jam together in Detroit in the 60's but at least through this video, Motown fans will get an oportunity to experience a small part of those years.
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on July 15, 2004
i loved this eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at the incredible musicians responsible for so many of those #1 Motown hits.
long overdue. it's too bad that some of the guys passed on before the film was made and hardly received the respect and glory while alive.
last, hardly least: joan osborne's version of "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" just may bring tears to your eyes.
(Having been a great fan of music for many years) i am ashamed/embarrassed to admit that until this movie i had no real idea how gifted a singer this woman truly is.
i sat in awe as she belted out this song and could not stop myself from playing it a few more times after the initial viewing of the film.
i guess there is no alternative for me, but to go out and buy a CD or two by this great talent.
see this DVD. it's a gem. thank you, funk brothers, for enriching our lives through your magical gifts!
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on October 17, 2012
Wow! A wonderful bit of Rock ,N Roll History with a ton of stories, memories and Motown. The remaining Funk Brothers stand tall and have all the chops needed to make this documentary required viewing for everyone. Joan Osbourne executes an outstanding take on "What Becomnes Of The Broken Hearted" and this cut alone is worth getting this DVD.
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on May 23, 2003
"Standing in the Shadows of Motown" tells the great and virtually unknown story of the Funk Brothers - a collection of talented jazz musicians who rewrote musical history by providing the music for many of Motown's greatest hits. The Funk Brothers consisted of 10+ very talented musicians, and they definitely deserve to have their stories told. Unfortunately, despite their talent and contributions, the Funk Brothers apparently received little glory and compensation. The story is inherently interesting, but the documentary ultimately falls a bit short of greatness.
First, their contributions to Motown are not given enough context. Most of the story is told by the remaining Funk Brothers, and very few Motown artists are interviewed. I guess that the documentary makers wanted the focus to be on the Funk Brothers, but praise from artists such as Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, or some of the remaining Temptations would undoubtedly have added to the luster of the Funk Brothers. Second, the degree to which the Funk Brothers wrote the music they played was not addressed (at times, the doc makes it seem as though they wrote much of it). Third, some of the stories are told with cheesy re-enactments, which detract from their impact.
Perhaps the best part of the documentary is that the Funk Brothers re-unite to play several songs throughout the movie. When and where these live songs were recorded is not made clear, but many of them are very good. The Funk Brothers team up with several singers, such as Ben Harper, Joan Osbourne, Montell Jordan, Gerald Levert, and (best of all) Chaka Khan. Your enjoyment of these sections will likely correspond to how much you like these singers, but the performances are all pretty good. Ultimately, I think that the makers of the documentary were a bit too timid and deferential in their approach. They seem intent on avoiding angering Motown, even though many of the Funk Brothers seem to have been treated poorly by the label. The Funk Brothers deserve 5 stars, but sadly I can give the doc only 3 stars.
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on April 28, 2004
As a white Fender bass player in the South in the 60's, I had a very tough time keeping up with soul music and R&B developments. There were two sides of town, and mixing of the races was still not encouraged then-- at least, not in the South. When Motown records could be listened to, the sound, and the highly-advanced musicality was utterly fascinating and totally innovative, but it was a real challenge to learn all the parts from the primitively-mixed records (the reasons for which are explained in the DVD). Rumors abounded about how the songs were recorded. One of my favorites was that each Motown hit was recorded with TWO bass tracks: one acoustic (upright) bass, and one track with the Fender bass (electric guitar). As it turns out, this rumor was false, but to see the interplay between the bass player and the drummers, not to mention some improvised percussion "instruments" (such as plywood boxes stomped upon in time with the beat), is to understand how the listener would get the wrong impression. To see and hear the actual studio players (AKA "The Funk Brothers") is exhilarating, to say the very least. To watch this excellently-produced DVD is to have the gauze pulled from one's eyes and ears, and to be able to appreciate the Funk Brothers for their superior musicianship, in addition to that of the arrangers. The movie itself, as released to theaters, is a constant revelation and enjoyable from start to finish, jumping as it does from history to flashbacks to oral history by the participants to recreations of the original hits sounding even better than they originally did. But the DVD goes much further: It contains a whole second disk of behind-the-scenes shots taken of further interviews, social get-togethers of the Funk Brothers where their tongues get REALLY loose, and other such materials. There was only one thing on the entire package I didn't like, and that was some contemporary studio sessions of some rather dull, nowhere basic 12-bar pieces that really weren't much more than just riffing. My impression was that this was just filler. But in terms of everything else on the two disks, whether it was social history, musical history, personal histories, rare archival film footage from the 60's, or the recreations of some of the greatest Motown hits, was absolutely top-notch. I've done a lot of research on Motown over the decades, and I found the DVD's content to be factually consistent with the rest of my research, but in much more depth; and the excellent musical performances just take the presentation right over the top. I can't begin to count the "mysteries" I'd wondered about for decades that were all "solved" by watching and listening to this DVD. I play it over and over, and it gets better and better. I highly recommend it to anyone who lived through the era and wants to gain an even greater appreciation for the Motown phenomenon; and to younger people who aren't familiar with the cultural and historical contexts that made the phenomenon such an important aspect of the time.
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on November 7, 2003
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 it's very intertaining listening to Bootsy singing "Do You Love Me" and "Cool Jerk". 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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on August 10, 2003
That these men, known as the Funk Brothers have not gotten the recognition they so rightly deserve. That stirring bassline you hear on "What's Going On?" The Funk Brothers put that down. The timeless guitar lick you hear at the beginning of "My Girl"? Funk Brothers. The list goes on and on.
Right off the top, random people are asked if they are familiar with Motown. Yes, each one says. Then they are asked if they know who played the music for those Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Temptations, Marvin Gaye songs. NO, they all answer, one even guesses "The Pips". It's sad to know the world just doesn't know who these men were/are. Until now. Where was Berry Gordy during the filming of this documentary? It is heartbreaking these men got absolutely no props (awards, notable mentions) during the pinnacle of their careers. But such is the plight of a truly talented musician most times. Heard, but never seen.
I watched this movie amazed at the extreme talent these men had and still do. The live performances with them laying down the original bass grooves, guitar licks and rythym arrangements AS HEARD ON THE ORIGINAL RECORDS as they were first recorded, are amazing. They said it themselves, the music is what made the song. Anyone can lay vocals down, but the groove is what stays in your soul.
The antecdotes (with reenactments) were comical and tragic. The scene with the original FB driving in a car one snowy night reminiscing on their traveling days is priceless. (pigfeet and cigars? lol) I love the black and white shot of the little boy with a home-made guitar at the ant hill and house. There is too much to mention about this film. My advice to anyone who is a lover of real, pure, soul and wants to educate their kids on what REAL musicianship is like...Get This Film today. It's a relevant piece of history that must be told.
Standing in the Shadows is moving, enlightening and perfectly titled because "standing in the shadows" laying the foundation of a giant hitmaking machine is exactly what the Funk Brothers did. God bless them all, living and here in spirit. Peace. CLB.
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