A review of “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ***

Rating: PG for mature themes

Run Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

 

 

The Funk Brothers may be the most undervalued studio musicians in the history of melody-making.  Over a 14-year period in and around the 1960s, the Brothers played backup for two-thirds of the hits released by Motown (including famed Studio A hit-meisters The Temptations, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson), not to mention jamming on more number one hits than the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley combined. 

Someone has finally seen fit to pay homage to these unsung heroes of the American music scene; that someone is indie filmmaker (specializing in music-related videos) Paul Justman. 

Combining rare vintage footage, photographs, and contemporary interviews, Justman hits all the right notes, especially with narrator Andre Braugher’s deep baritone backing up the visuals.  It’s nothing shy of a thrill when the Funk Brothers are reunited for the first time in three decades to harmonize with pop performers such as Ben Harper, Chaka Kahn and Joan Osborne. Get your groove on with the unmistakable Motown sound and a rediscovered treasure trove of talent.