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November 15, 2002 - Image 101

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-11-15

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Local Collection Goes
To library Of Congress . . 76

is &

Plymouth Symphony
Plays Jewish. Composers . . . 78

On The Bookshelf.
Exploring The Sabbath .... 82


In a new documentary, three Jewish filmmakers give the musicians who created the Motown sound
their due. Meet producer/music supervisor Allan Slutsky, whose revelatory book inspired the film.


Special to the Jewish News


very Detroiter knows the story
of Motown: how Berry Gordy
assembled the Motor City's
most talented voices and creat-
ed a pop music sensation. But do we
know the whole story?
The documentary film Standing in the
Shadows of Motown lets us in on the
story-behind-the-story of "Hitsville USA"
by chronicling the saga of the Funk
The Funk Brothers were the group of
musicians who performed nearly all of the
most popular Motown songs. Although
they were virtually unacknowledged, it is

their playing that created the familiar
"Motown Sound."
In fact, the filmmakers point out, the
Funk Brothers "played on more No. 1
hits than the Beach Boys, the Rolling
Stones, Elvis and the Beatles combined."
Even an abridged list of hit songs
reveals their significant contribution to
America's cultural jukebox: "(Love is Like
a) Heat Wave," "You've Really Got a
Hold on Me," "I Heard It Through the
Grapevine," "Shop Around," "The Way
You Do the Things You Do," "My Girl,"
"You Can't Hurry Love."
From bass virtuoso James Jamerson to
boogie-woogie keyboard player Joe
Hunter — who still plays almost nightly
in Detroit — the Funk Brothers served as

the house band for Gordy's mega-pop
machine. But their names were rarely
included on the records' liner notes, and
almost no one knows who they are.
And when Motown left Detroit to set
up shop in Los Angeles, the Funk
Brothers found out offhandedly — by a
posted note taped outside a canceled
recording session.
Based on the award-winning book of
the same name written by Allan Slutsky,
Standing in the Shadows of Motown —
which opens in Detroit Friday, Nov. 15
— is motivated by a strong desire to set
the record straight and give these musical
masters their long-overdue recognition.
The film tells the dramatic stories of
`SHADOWS' on page 72

Allan Slutsky, left,
with Funk Brothers
Joe Messina and
Eddie Willis in the
original "Snakepit"
studio in "Standing
in the Shadows
of Motown"•
"To me, the
Motown story is
the story of a dozen
musicians and a
cast of revolving
vocalists," says

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