Shadows Of Mowtown

Damo and I arrived right on the dot of seven, as we were keen to maximise our drinking and schmoozing time with the other “very important people”. Damien said he was particularly impressed by the white wine, declaring it “the best Rosemount I’ve ever tasted”. While he was, at first, more polite when it came to gulping down food – I had no such qualms – he was eventually grabbing two pieces of food, just to be sure. We became best friends with the short Irish girl and the bleach-blonde-tips gay boy who looked after us all night. Unfortunately, they didn’t provide ice-creams, but they did open up another bottle of wine so we could sip wine during the movie.

And what a movie it was. It was called Standing In The Shadows Of Motown. According to the publicity blurb from the website, Fourteen years in the making, this film is based upon a book of the same title that won the 1989 Rolling Stone / BMl “Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award”, STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN was shot in 35mm film, on location in Detroit and elsewhere. This one hour and forty-eight minute documentary and performance film tells the Funk Brothers’ saga through archival footage and still photos, narration, interviews, re-creation scenes, 20 Motown master tracks, and twelve new live performances of Motown classics with the Funk Brothers backing up Chaka Khan, Ben Harper, Bootsy Collins, Montell Jordan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, and Gerald Levert.

There were some wonderful anecdotes, some fantastic insights into the construction of the “Motown sound”, and some great performances. One of the real surprises was Joan “What If God Was One Of Us” Osbourne. Although she seemed like a bit of a “try hard”, her vocal performances were truly remarkable, especially one of my favourite songs, “What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted”.

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