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Standing In The Shadows Of Motown review

Unsung heroes for 40-odd years, Motown's multi-ethnic `house' band The Funk Brothers have played on more hit records (`My Girl', `Bernadette') than The Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys and Elvis combined. Assembled from Detroit's auto plants and jazz clubs, they virtually invented the sound of countless '60s classics but, unlike groomed-for-success frontmen such as Marvin Gaye, were segregated from their hits. This documentary homage finally throws the spotlight where it belongs.

Whether riffing on the creation of their legendary tunes or powering through them at a special reunion concert - accompanied by second-string musos like Joan Osborne and Bootsy Collins - the sheer character and charisma of the surviving Brothers effortlessly propels this doc forward. It matters little that there are some awkward dramatic reconstructions and that surviving Motown stars, particularly label svengali Berry Gordy, are conspicuously absent. What does matter is that Standing In The Shadows emerges as both an overdue correction to the history of soul music, and an invaluable testament to its power.

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