Standing in the Shadows of Motown

Rated NR

Did you ever wonder what Stevie Wonder’s "Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Do-Da-Day" would sound like without its energized, feet-stomping backbeat on the drums, or Diana Ross’ "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough" without its recognizable rhythm on the guitar? I never did until director Paul Justman presented this important documentary about the Funk Brothers, the five-man back-up band responsible for putting the soul into the greatest Motown hits that came out of Detroit in the 1960s. Through exclusive interviews, archival footage and staged re-enactments, see where it all began in the makeshift recording studio of Berry Grady, Motown Records’ founder. Witness the sound flourish in local dives like The Chit Chat Club and 20 Grand. Learn how it later glorified Motown greats like Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson. Thanks to Justman, the formerly faceless five Funk Brothers—bass player James Jamerson, drummer Benny Benjamin, pianist Joe Hunter and guitarists Eddie Willis and Joe Messina—are rightfully exposed and given their long overdue credit.

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