This is the story of a band that everyone has heard and yet most people don’t even know their name. They played on more hit records than Elvis, than The Beach Boys, than The Rolling Stones or the Beatles ….combined. They were responsible for the driving beat of the Motown hit factory. The riffs you remember to so many songs were arranged and performed by them; yet if I mentioned some of their names, James Jamerson, Richard Allen, Joe Messina, to name a few there would be no flash of recognition in your mind.
They were the real drive behind Motown’s music, the bass in “I heard it Through the Grapevine.” The drums, brass and organ behind “Stop, in the Name of Love,” and almost every hit produced by Motown records from 1959 until 1979. Without them there would be no “Motown Sound.” Despite their skills they received little respect from the company that employed them. They found out they were unemployed when they showed up for work and found the doors locked, the studio had moved from Detroit, the home of the Motown sound, to L.A. without telling them. They were known as the Funk Brothers, and “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” is their story.
I believe that “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” is a must see for anyone who loves music. It is a chance for these unknown stars of the music world to shine brighter than the singers who sung the songs they played on. It goes without saying that the music is great, but so are the people. You see in their eyes as they talk about old times the love that they have for the music and for each other. This DVD cumulates with a concert featuring all of the surviving members of the Funk Brothers. You can see it in their eyes; “It’s all about the music.” And that, perhaps, is just as it should be.