Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Jango Song Of The Day-The Funk Brothers
Song:What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted
Album:Original Soundtrack: Standing In The Shadows Of Motown
Even those familiar with The Motown Sound may not be aware of the musicians who played on those records from 1959-72. And that's what Paul Justman's 2002 documentary Standing In The Shadows Of Motown is about. They were known as The Funk Brothers. But they were never credited on all those classic Motown hits. When Berry Gordy Jr. started Motown in 1959, he knew that he needed great musicians that could play almost anything. That's what Willie Dixon did at Chess. So he went to Detroit jazz clubs and formed his group in 1959. The leader of the group for most of the 60s was pianist Earl Van Dyke. Other regulars included the groundbreaking rhythm section of bassist James Jamerson and drummer Benny Benjamin. There was also pianists Joe Hunter and Johnny Griffiths, guitarists Robert White, Joe Messina and Eddie Willis, drummers Richard "Pistol" Allen and Uriel Jones and percussionists Jack Ashford and Eddie "Bongo" Brown. Not only did The Funk Brothers play on all the records but they toured with the Motown acts as well. Things changed in the late 60s with Norman Whitfield adding psychedelic overtones to his records with guys like bassist Bob Babbit and guitarists Dennis Coffey and Wah Wah Watson. Also Benjamin and Jamerson were having drug problems and became unreliable. Benjamin died in 1969 and Jamerson died in 1983. It all ended when Gordy moved Motown to Los Angeles in 1972. Marvin Gaye's What's Going On was the final recording with The Funk Brothers and the only recording that listed them in the credits. Standing In The Shadows Of Motown gives The Funk Brothers that long overdue credit. The centre of the film is a reunion concert held in Detroit featuring guest vocalists Joan Osborne, Gerald Levert, Bootsy Collins, Chaka Khan and Montell Jordan. This track featuring Joan Osborne is from the film. The DVD is highly recommended and so is the soundtrack. Some of the guys are still around. Eddie Brown died in 1984. Earl Van Dyke died in 1992. Robert White died in 1994. Richard Allen and Johnny Griffiths died in 2002 right after the filming. Joe Hunter died in 2007 and Uriel Jones died in 2009. Here's The Funk Brothers with Joan Osborne performing What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted from Standing In The Shadows Of Motown.