Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Random Review #47 Soundtrack to Standing In The Shadow Of Motown

C9S2CD5 another pick from @alnwickist and she’s be pleased to see this one isn’t an Pop Idol winner, in fact these musician are the responsible for more number 1 hits than The Beatles and yet most of us wouldn’t even know their names.

This CD is the Soundtrack to a Motion Picture of the same name Standing In The Shadows Of Motown which brings back together the House band that played on all of Motown songs that we know and love for over 14 years without getting any real acknowledgement. These guys or The Funk Brothers as they were know and they played in the Motown Studio in Detroit or The Snake Pit as they called it. The film is a beautiful documentary bringing back together the living members of the group to discuss their experiences and for a celebration concert using guest vocalists to replace the original Motown artists. The Documentary won 2 Grammy’s and if you watch it (and I recommend you do) you will understand why, the emotion of bringing these guys back together and the fact that the industry is acknowledging their contribution is truly heart-warming.

The CD (I have the deluxe version) covers the concert and also additional tracks that the band played on, conversations with the band members and also instrumental versions of the Motown hits so you can really hear the guys play.

The guest vocalists are Joan Osborne, Ben Harper, Me’shell Ndegello, Chaka Khan, and Bootsie Collins, and although they do a good job but they are always going to struggle when you are covering tunes by Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and Smokey Robinson. Special mention must go to Joan Osborne and Ben Harper who work hard on covers of What Becomes Of The Broken-hearted, and I Heard It Through The Grapevine. The concert is true to the DVD but what you miss is the sheer enjoyment of the faces of The Funk Brothers as they play.

The rest of CD as I say is made up a couple of cover tracks they played on, Boom Boom by John Lee Hooker, and Jackie Wilson’s Higher and Higher and then a number of instrumentals the version of Bernadette which is principally just the bass on the song is especially interesting as you really get to hear the Motown beat that was so integral to what made Motown so great.

If I’m honest I would recommend that you buy the DVD as this really is where the beauty is, but I suspect once you have seen the film you’ll want the Soundtrack as well.

Mark 7/10

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