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I picked up the DVD "Standing In The Shadows Of Motown", and it's probably one of the best music documentaries I have ever seen. It focuses on the musicians responsible for the "Motown Sound". A tight-knit band of musicians known then (and now) as the "Funk Brothers". They weren't really acknowledged in the heyday of Motown, forty years later this documentary was made to correct that. The original singers of the songs have been left out, replaced with some lesser known singers as to let the spotlight really shine on the musicians themselves. Me'Shell Ndegeocello knocks the living hell out of Smokey Robinson's "You've Really Got A Hold On Me", and Ben Harper does a surprisingly soulful "Ain't Too Proud To Beg". His performance of this song makes you really believe he's singing it to an individual woman as opposed to an audience. Joan Osborne does a passable, (if not somewhat, whitebread, blue-eyed soul) version of "(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave". Myself, I prefer Martha Reeve's version. More powerful. Gutsy.

Bootsy Collins (ex Parliament Funkadelic) does a good cover of the Contour's "Do You Love Me" in a 'you have to see it to believe it' blue sequinned jumpsuit, top hat, and star shaped sunglasses. Chaka Khan (and her hair) does a velvet-y cover of Marvin Gaye's "What?s Going On?" and does it proud.

It (the DVD) was special for me as, Detroit is only 15 minutes from my home. "Hitsville U.S.A" is only about 25 minutes. Berry Gordy created magic in that house. And Smokey Robinson will forever be one of Soul's most authoritive voices. Makes today's offerings seem cheap, contrived, and just plain shabby. I'm glad to have this in my collection as a counterpoint to the poor offerings floating around lately. If you are a fan of Motown, or even curious as to how it all started, this is a must for your collection.


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That sounds amazing. I love Ben Harper's voice, and "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" is one of my favorite songs. When my daughter is crying, I'll sing it to her and she usually calms down. Of course, she might be so horrified by my singing that she is stunned into silence, but that's another story.

Anyhoo, I looked the DVD up on Amazon, and they have it for only $12. Not too shabby. Here is a link to it...Amazon. Thanks for the referral!

Peaches :thumbsup:

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Peachy, makes me wish I lived in the 'States sometimes. HMV soaked me for 39.00 plus tax last weekend. Ah well, it was worth it. The song I used to sing my infant son was Seger's "Jody Girl", to the same effect....

Have a peaceful weekend.


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Even if you don't think you're a motown fan....which I didn't..you should for sure check out a compilation CD called Motown #1's. I found myself singing along to all the songs...it's so much fun to listen to and all the artists/songs are great. 26 tracks of classic Stevie WOnder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross... It really is a great album. I think it came out about a month ago. I just heard about it and picked it up. Check it out.

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  • 6 months later...

I watched Standing in the Shadows of Motown over the weekend and it was wonderful. It's amazing to me that most people never thought about the musicians who created the Motown sound...we just remember the voices. Here is the description of the movie...

"Detroit, Michigan, 1959. Berry Gordy gathers the best musicians from the city's thriving jazz and blues scene for his new record company: Motown. For the next 14 years these players are the heartbeat on "My Girl," "Baby Love," "Ooo Baby Baby," "Bernadette," "I Was Made To Love Her," "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," "Dancing In The Street," and every other hit from Motown's Detroit era. By the end of their phenomenal run, the unheralded group of musicians plays on more Number One hits than the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, and The Beatles combined, making them the greatest hit machine in the history of popular music. They call themselves the Funk Brothers. But no one knows their names...this is their story."

Mind blowing, isn't it? :bow: :bow: :bow:

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NOTE: To anyone within proximity to Philadelphia. The Funk Brothers will be appearing on Feb. 20th, 7 PM at The Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA. (Glenside is about 1 1/2 miles past the northwest border of Phila.). If you've never been to The Keswick I assure you it will be a pleasant experience. It's an intimate venue...and not a bad seat in the house. Here's the link to the Keswick site for directions, coming acts, etc. KESWICK THEATER

Appearing with The Funk Bros. will be vocalists Larry Johnson, Darrel Bardot, Venus Ford & Princetta Jones.

Tickets are $45.00. I highly recommend that you catch these guys while you can.

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This was the first movie I got when I signed up for Netflix. It's great. I loved the moment where Joan Osborne starts singing "Heard It Through The Grapefine." She can really wail.

I thought it was interesting how these guys used to moonlight to make ends meet. These are some of the greatest songs ever recorded, and a lot of people made some big bank from them - unfortunately it wasn't the musicians. It's great that someone made this movie so The Funk Brothers can finally get their due.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yes, MOTOWN ME!!!!!!!! I have all kind of Motown compilations (Lp, cd, tape, whatever...) and I also worked in the distribution label of Motown, so I could get me a beautifull collection. "The 25 years", "The best of", etc. I´ve been hooked on Motown for years! it´s getting better now, but that Reachouts, Ain´t no mountains, Grapevine, Vandellas, Jackson Fives and so are part of my life...

I have to go to work, I´ll try to discuss it later if

(Musical Interlude)

Please Mr. server, look and see

is there a chance to get in songfacts for me?

I´ve been waiting for such a long time

Since I heard from these friends of mine...

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I've never really heard some good motown, but you all suggest it, I may have to invest that.. ::

Any of these are worth a listen::

Diana Ross

Jackson 5

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Marvin Gaye

Mary Wells

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

Stevie Wonder

The Four Tops

The Funk Brothers

The Marvelettes

The Supremes

The Temptations

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I'm a Motown fanatic. I own the full CD libraries of every Motown group from the 60's plus many from the 70's and beyond. I also have many of the compilations, especially those that have Motown artists performing the songs made popular by other Motown artists.

Foxy, I like your list. To it you can add:

The Contours

The Velvelettes

The Isley Bros.

The Spinners (their early work was on Motown)

Jr. Walker and the All-Stars

Marvin Johnson

Gladys Knight and the Pips

Tammi Terrell

Kim Weston

Eddie Holland

The Commodores

Jimmy Ruffin

Brenda Holloway

Barret Strong (No, The Beatles did not originate "Money")

The Originals

Bobby and The Vancouvers (Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong sang in this group)

Edwin Star ( War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin'!")

Don't overlook the solo work by group standouts like:

David Ruffin

Eddie Kendricks

Ms. Ross

Ms. Knight

Compilations I recommend:

Motown Sings Motown Treasures

Emperors Of Soul-The Temptations 5 discs Boxed Set

Hitsville USA I-4 discs boxed set

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I love Motown, especially the Temptations and Marvin Gaye. Their songs had such raw emotion in them. If you don't get a stirring inside when you listen to Marvin sing "Heard it Through the Grapevine", you are not alive.

Motown influenced so many artists over the years and if you give a listen to some of the compilations suggested, Trampled, I think you will find something you like.

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You know, there is still a thriving Motown dance scene in the UK, called 'northern soul'. Basically halls full of people dancing to lesser known Motown records whilst (alledgedly) popping 'happy pills'. It was especially big in the 1970s in places like Wigan (pie country), and seems to be making a comeback all over judging by posters.

Another piece of useless trivia whilst I should be working.


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The nice thing about collecting albums rather than hits compilations is that you get to hear many gems that did not crack the Top 40. For example:

The Temptations recorded a great sounding song called Cindy. It was expected to be their biggest hit since My Girl. However, David Ruffin sang lead on the song and he had just been fired from the group. So, it was never released as a single. It's on their Wish It Would Rain album/CD which also includes the smash title hit and gems like This Is My Beloved, I Truly, Truly Believe, their cover of Jimmy Ruffin's I've Passed This Way Before, and more.

Smokey Robinson's albums/CD's contain nothing but great songs whether they were Billboard hits or not.

If you're a Four Tops fan here's something you probably missed. They did an album titled Magic in 1985.

It was after they'd returned to the Motown label but it got little attention other than some play on black stations. Yet it contains some of their best work ever. Get it and listen to their version of Diana Ross's Remember Me. I guarantee you'll like it better than hers. This album also contains Sexy Ways (what a great song in which Levi sings about what he'll miss about his ex-love), Don't Tell Me That It's Over (a wonderful heart-wrenching ballad),Don't Turn Away, Easier Said Than Done, a cover of The Supremes' I'm Ready For Love, Again and more.

I can go on forever on this but I'll ease off. If you're interested I'd be happy to discuss this further via PM or e-mail. I may even be willing to share music...legally, of course.

So, as my UK friend Diggs might say....chat me up.

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Hi Rachel... I just checked the soundtrack you mention and if these are the songs, none of them are Motown hits...

* Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

* Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress

* Act Naturally

* Peace Train

* Up Around The Bend

* Spill The Wine

* I Want To Take You Higher

* A Hard Rain's A

* Spirit In The Sky

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