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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon May 11, 2004
Hip-O Records presents the long awaited deluxe edition "Standing in the Shadows of Motown", featuring a compilation of fifteen original soundtrack tunes from The funk Brothers ~ plus bonus tracks with John Lee Hooker, Jackie Wilson, Dennis Coffey & The Detroit Guitar Band ~ and that's just the first disc ~ "COOL JERK" (Bootsy Collins), "(LOVE IS LIKE A) HEAT WAVE" (Joan Osborne), "CLOUD NINE" (Meshell Ndegeocello) ~ all in all an original Grammy Award winning album.
Disc two takes us "In The Snakepit: naked instrumental remixes of the original hits ~ "I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE", "FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE", "I WAS MADE TO LOVE HER" ~ twenty four tracks of non-stop Motown memories with dialogue introducing each cue ~ the last track "YOU'RE MY EVERYTHING", featuring The Temptations & James Jamerson is a rare highlight ~ you can't help but fall for this double beautiful collection of what made Motown so great...gotta love it!
Total Time: 2-CD-Set ~ Hip-O Records 66365 ~ (5/11/2004)
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on September 25, 2003
I must be listening to a different album to some of the other reviewers here but here goes
Am a huge fan of Motown and decided to purchase this purely on the basis of the Funk Brothers involvement. Certainly there is nothing wrong in the instrumental side of the album, but there is in the choice of some of the vocalists and their interpretations of some of the tracks. Joan Osbourne is the exception to the rule and her two tracks are fantastic. Less to be said about Chaka Khan though, as her reading of "What's Going On" is tepid to say the least, never mind her and Montell Jordan trying to do a Tammi and Marvin on "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". It is quite simply awful, and to think of all the excitment and enjoyment the original version creates.For me not even Marvin could do a good live version of "Grapevine" so lord only knows how Ben Harper would. Myself being a HUGE Marvin Gaye fan I focus on these three songs for obvious reasons, but overall it is a very weak package indeed. If you are after a high quality Motown orientated album then the very best is "Marvin is 60" fantasic stuff.
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on August 29, 2003
I'm so sorry I missed this one on the big screen. The story told is wonderful, and you'll gain a new appreciation for the musicians who made Motown what it was. If you can watch this and sit still, you've got a hole in your soul. The old standards come across just as we remember them, but the current artists who perform - Chaka Khan, Gerald Levert, Montell Jordan, the inimitable Bootsy Collins, Ben Harper and Joan Osborne - rock the house just as their predecessors did. MeShell Ndegeocello is the only weak link in the movie; she just does not belong in this company. Yet the movie is done with the joy and the love that the Funk Brothers clearly have for each other, even now, forty years later. The back-story could have been infused with the bitterness that doubtless exists toward Berry Gordy and his exploitive ways, but this is fortunately excluded, making the movie a powerful celebration of the men and their spectacular music that so many of us grew up on. This one is not to be missed. Buy it today.
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on March 17, 2003
Great cd except for the performances by chaka khan & ben harper. I think ben harper's annoyed me because in the movie he was very stiff during his performance, he didnt move aorund at all!! Also, Chaka kahn's performance bugged me too, maybe because in the movie she was smiling through What's Going On. not sure why that annoyed me. In my opinion that song is the worst remake on the whole cd (which actually is saying quite a lot), and it is the only one to be nominated and win a grammy. Go figure. I can think of a few other songs that deserved it more (What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, Cloud Nine, & Reach Out I'll be there particularly stand out in my mind). Oh well. Still a great CD. Many of the performances on the cd were WAY better than the originals. I would rate it 4 1/2 if I could. Also, Montell Jordan really surprised me, considering the dumb songs he's sang have showcased his voice like Aint no Mountain High Enough. He has a way better voice than I thought.
PS: to quote my dad, "Bootsy Collins IS the Cool Jerk!" :-D
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on March 14, 2003
I was nine years old the first time my heart was broken and Motown's "What becomes of the broken hearted?" became my anthem. More than twenty years later I have found myself singing in the street to the same song, not because of a broken heart but in jubilation to the musicians of Motown and Joan Osbourne's voice. Standing in the shadows of Motown is more than just a phenomenal album, it is praise in church, a testament to the musicians that made Motown a hit factory. Hearing the funk brothers play behind some of this generations amazing voices makes you believe in every cliche ever written about the transformative effects of music. You'll believe that for love, "Ain't no mountain high enough", you'll understand how "Shotgun" could cause a spike in the birth rate and you will put your hand out to the lover who "Ain't to proud to beg." Every time you listen to this album you will shake your hips, stomp your feet, raise your voice and thank God that you're Standing in the shadows of motown.
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on March 9, 2003
This cd is essential for any fan of soul music and for any bass player. James Jamerson is called "the greatest bass player of all time" in an introduction on the cd and that is not far from the truth. His bass lines were pure genius, the essence of many Motown hits and his influence remains many years after his death. This album presents great live versions of the some of the best of Motown plus a couple instrumental remixes from the Motown vault featuring The Funk Brothers rhythm section along with The Funk Brothers theme song. Every track is outstanding and the vocals by various artists are surprisingly good. Joan Osborne would not have been my choice but she does a super job as does Chaka Khan, Ben Harper, Gerald Levert, and Montell Jordan. Two of the best living bassists, Bootsy Collins and Meshell Ndegeocello, sing instead of playing bass, and pull it off quite well. The arrangements stay faithful to the style of the original songs and the live performance actually sounds better that the original version in many instances even though Marvin Gaye and the great Motown singers are missing. The song selection is the best of Motown soul--no Jackson Five lightweight pop. Many of the Funk Brothers, including Jameson, are no longer with us but their sound survives on this album. Bob Babbit, almost without exception, faithfully reproduces Jamerson's great bass lines and the band revives the Funk Brothers sound on this classic cd.
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on March 5, 2003
I learned of this soundtrack after viewing the film's trailer online. First off, I cannot believe that I missed an opportunity to experience the film in a theater. The trailer moved me to tears and the soundtrack is every bit as incredible. Who knew that the core of the Motown sound was the music so masterfully supplied by The Funk Brothers. Not to take anything away from any of the legendary singers of the original songs, but the truth is in the music. This soundtrack is a celebration of that. Meshell Ndegeocello's blues inspired re-interpretations of "You've Really Got A Hold On Me" and "Cloud Nine" capture the cautionary elements of those songs. Joan Osborne's rendition of "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted" takes us to church. She reaches deep inside herself towards the end and comes up with a emotionally charged performance that simply moves. Just when I didn't think it possible to do so, Chaka Khan and the Funk Brothers breathe new life into the once again relevant "What's Going On." Congratulations on the Grammy award for this song! Chaka and Montell Jordan's duet on "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" is a near carbon copy of Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell's classic version. My jaw just dropped from the opening cords of "Reach Out I'll Be There." The Funk Brothers and Gerald Levert are absolutely on point. On "Shotgun" Gerald Levert again reminds us what a real gut bucket soul singer sounds like. Tom Scott tries his best but comes up just a little bit short, but who can really compete with the memory of Jr. Walker's sax? After several listenings, I learn to love it though. You can hear in Gerald's voice the joy he must have felt in performing with such an unheralded, but truly treasured group of musicians that are now deservedly receiving their due.
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on February 16, 2003
... I'm a fusspot, a 46-year old guy born and raised in Detroit and its suburbs and living in the city now. Most of the time when I hear a Motown cover, I wonder why the artists bothered; they usually sound fourth-rate. This CD, however, is worth every dime and then some. In addition to highlighting the incredible unsung musicians who toiled in the Snakepit, the new vocalists generally do an outstanding job. Special props to Joan Osborne -- if anything, her version of "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" actually surpasses the original, and I NEVER thought I'd say that about a Motown cover. The first time I heard it, it brought tears to my eyes, and I've played it at least a dozen times since.
I saw the great Rudy Robinson's last live gig the afternoon before he died last year; I recently saw Joe Hunter play keys in that same room with musicians young enough to be his kids or grandkids, but he sounded like he'd played with them his whole life. These men, and their funky brothers, are finally getting out from the shadows. And it's about time.
Please buy -- don't download -- this disc. And I can't wait for the DVD!
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on December 19, 2002
Some of the best music ever created in the studio has been recreated live? I had my doubts. So I actually got out 22 different live records by other artist and this is without a doubt the best live music ever recorded. Bar none.
I am one picky SOB and can find fault with everything...but this is the one time I have to put my clipping comments aside and tell it like it is.
First it was a good move to add younger singers. It opens the power of the music. If you are not moved by Joan Osborne grab a cab to the closest funeral home because you are dead.
Second this is the most faithful live production of music created and recorded ever. The faithfulness gives you a hint at how really tight these men were as a musical unit. There isn't a note out of place. In fact that said should make it static..But again, it is not. It has all of the viberance per note that you would expect from a band that is in it's 20's not 60 and 70 year old men.
You don't like it? You are a punk kid that hasn't learned to play in tune and think that music started with Pearl Jam. Take note new players the bar has not been raised. You have just avoided walking up to it. You made your excuses about solo's being dead and clean sound being boreing. It's time to go take a few lessons and come back with some skill.
The Funk Brothers smoked you. Clean up you dirty ash and show us what your made of. Toss that bass system out of your trunk, because one note is not a bass line. And your turntable is just a percussion tool and not a full blown jam.
Call yourself a musician? Buy this and listen to what it takes to be called a musician.
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on December 18, 2002
Probably one of the last great untold stories in the history popular music, is of the group of musicians that played on nearly every hit record that Motown Records released from 1959 to 1971. The Funk Brothers were the engine that helped made this little Detroit record label into a cultural icon. Recorded and filmed in December of 2000, this soundtrack features the surviving members playing several Motown classics backing such guest vocalists as Gerald Levert, Joan Osborne, and Chaka Khan. Gerald Levert delivers gritty performances on "Reach Out I'll Be There" and "Shotgun", while Joan Osborne delivers one of the shows emotional high points with her interpretation of "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted". The only artist who seems a bit out of place is Ben Harper with his performance of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", sounding tentative and lacking the urgency and fire of Marvin Gaye's version. The band themselves are excellent. These guys are all in their 60's and 70's, and still play with the same energy they did all those years ago. One of the other highlights of the album are the instrumental mixes of the Four Tops "Bernadette" and the Supremes "You Keep Me Hangin' On". Hearing these tracks without the vocals gives you an entirely different picture and appreciation for the Funk Brothers musicianship. This project was obviously done with a great deal of love and respect for the creators of this amazing music, so Dr. Licks and the other people involved with making this happen should be applauded for their efforts. This album and the film come highly recommended.
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