Saturday, August 2nd, 2003
Standing In The Shadows Of Love
The DVD had been sitting on my shelf for weeks now, but I finally found the time to sit down and watch Standing In The Shadows Of Motown. Telling the tale of the Funk Brothers, the musicians who played on all of Motown’s records until the label’s move to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, Shadows is a celebration of some of the greatest music ever to come out of America. These musicians are justifiably proud of the work they’ve done and their legacy in popular music, and bask in the attention and acclaim that’s long overdue. The celebration is bittersweet, though, as they remember their fellow Funk Brothers who’ve passed on over the years, including keyboardist Johnny Griffith and drummer Richard “Pistol” Allen, both of whom appear in the film but died before its release. They’re given special tribute in one of the DVD’s bonus features.
The musical performances featuring the Funk Brothers backing up current R&B/soul singers mostly came off well, though Ben Harper’s cuts were just too stiff to do the originals any sort of justice. It was on the final performance of the film, Montell Jordan and Chaka Khan taking on Marvin and Tammy’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” that I realized just why I loved Motown yet was left utterly cold by modern soul and r&b. Today’s music just doesn’t have the Funk Brothers, and the magic they created in that little basement studio, that musical alchemy that just moves you and makes the world feel like a better place. Motown, man.
np – Broken Social Scene / You Forgot It In People