[fearnwhiskey] Standing in the Shadows of Motown (long)
- Finally saw this documentary about Motown's Funk Brothers last
night. Lots of great footage, tastefully woven in dramatizitions
and historical background, but the best thing about it for me
was just seeing the guys playing together (in every sense of the
word). It's clear that these dudes were happy to finally get
some recognition and their love and respect for one another is
quite palpable. When bassist Bob Babbitt is asked by Me'Shell
Ndeg�Ocello about being a white guy in a largely black band, and
what that was like after MLK was shot, he can barely answer.
This is probably the emotional hotspot of the movie, and it
crystallizes much of what made the Funk Brothers special. In a
culture where we're encouraged to divide ourselves based upon
notions of race, the FBs saw themselves as a family. White and
black didn't factor in, so to be faced with that question was
like asking what it would be like to be kicked out of your
family. Great filmmaking.
For those of you who haven't seen it, there was a tribute
concert for the Funk Brothers held a year or so ago, and footage
of it is interspersed throughout the movie. The surviving FBs
backup various singers: Gerald Levert, Me'Shell Ndeg�Ocello, Ben
Harper, Joan Osborne, Bootsy Collins, Chaka Khan, and Montell
Jordan. Personally, I liked Me'Shell Ndeg�Ocello's singing the
best. Maybe because she's a bass player she's predisposed to
singing behind the beat. I don't know, maybe not. But I thought
she was pretty cool.
Speaking of bassists, lots of great stories about the late,
great James Jamerson. Hard to believe that when he played on all
those songs - in so doing revolutionizing how the bass would
sound for years to come - he only played with ONE finger!! We're
not talking about playing Happy Birthday either. These were
pretty sophisticated arrangements, made by and for jazz trained
dudes, and he only needed his right index finger to blaze that
trail. Simply amazing. I wonder if Paul McCartney and Rick Danko
knew that when they were digesting those runs?
Anyway, suffice it to say that y'all should check this movie
out. I came away with the belief that their contribution to the
Motown Sound was, in fact, the Motown Sound!! Which I think was
"Now there are seven kinds of Coke
500 kinds of cigarettes
This freedom of choice in the USA
Drives everybody crazy."
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail Plus � Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now.