Sunday, May 14, 2006

We've Got To Find A Way, To Bring Some Lovin' Here Today

The Funk BrothersI finally got around to watching the music documentary "Standing In the Shadows of Motown" which is about the far-too-long anonymous The Funk Brothers who were the group of backing musicians who played on many of Motown's greatest songs. The documentary was a fitting tribute to a group of musicians who created a revolutionary sound in rock 'n roll music that's left its imprint undoubtedly. Some members have since passed on but in the documentary, the members still living provided rich insight into the evolution of their sound. I've always always liked Motown but in the past, it's appropriation by television and film as a device towards nostalgia amongst the baby boom generation always kept me somewhat at a distance from it. Also, oldies radio and Motown's existence on the oldies concert circuit(hello Casino Rama) demystified Motown for me.

Nowadays, I can definitely say I have a larger appreciation for Motown. I can't really recall when that transition took place but it happened and I'm glad. I hear Motown's influence on bands that I listen to like The Jam and Saturday Looks Good To Me but I also have an appreciation now for artists like Marvin Gaye and The Supremes who I've grown to admire, even if I'm not that familiar with yet. What was really most affecting about the documentary for me was to hear just how intricate and emotional the Motown sound was. The modern-day collaborations in the documentary featuring vocals by Joan Osborne, M'eshell N'degeocello, Gerald Levert, Ben Harper, Chaka Khan, and Bootsy Collins were truly awesome interpretations and that's saying a lot considering I'm not a big fan of any of those artists. But man, did Joan really nail the vocals on "Heatwave"! Hearing Joan belt it out was like throwing away all my preconceived notions of Motown - oldies radio, "The Big Chill" soundtrack, Casino Rama - and saying to myself, this is fucking awesome.

While The Funk Brothers sound(at least early on) was one undoubtedly fit for the dance floor, arguably perhaps(as the documentary expresses) The Funk Brothers' finest moment came during their performance on the recording of Marvin Gaye's soulful, socially-conscious "What's Going On".

Futuro has an extended remix[mp3] of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" which retains much of the original version's sound and feeling[via DREAMTIMEMIX].

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