"The Fabulous Funk Brothers: Finally stepping out of the shadows."
Standing in the Shadows of Motown is a long-overdue tribute to the Funk Brothers, the studio musicians who were key to the hundreds of hits that came out of Detroit between 1959 and 1973 but until now were denied the recognition they so richly deserve.One of the participants in Standing in the Shadows quipped that the songs could have been performed by Deputy Dawg and still been successful because of the brilliant work of the Funk Brothers. That may have been an overstatement, but unlike many covers that are simply annoying when compared to the originals, it was a pleasure to hear young artists such as Joan Osborne, Me'Shell NdegeOcello, and Ben Harper perform the classic Motown hits that I've loved since I was a kid and still love to this day. Where I would have thought no one could replace Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Ruffin, or Smokey Robinson, "Heard It Through the Grapevine," "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?" and "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" (among others) sounded just swell when performed by, respectively Ben, Joan, and Me'Shell, and backed by that sensational Funk Brothers sound.
For any fan of the Motown Sound from the '60s, the Standing in the Shadows of Motown soundtrack makes a wonderful companion piece to the original Hitsville USA CD box. Understanding the contribution of the Funk Brothers to the music's timelessness, it's a joy to listen to all the original hits on a whole new level, and savor every bit as much (or more) the same songs with new voices that do credit to the music and the musicians who perform it.The sound is exactly the same, but it is every bit as fresh today as it was so many years ago.