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Review: Standing In The Shadows Of Motown

Review: Standing In The Shadows Of Motown magazine cover

Thanks to Dave M, a chance to read a great review of "Standing In The Shadows Of Motown" that was posted on Soul Talk

Take it away Dave.........

I waited nearly a year to see this was it worth the wait........read on........


Styrene45 and myself have just spent an hour and half in the company of a group of Detroit's finest,(via celluloid mind!), and for those who are unfortunately not in a position to see the movie yet, here is our review. As a devotee of TSOYA for most of my "fully growed up" life, and a musician (bad one at that), that has listened in awe to "The Bros" for more years than I care to remember, this will obviously be a completely unbiased view! The film hits the spot in just about every way. It is obvious that everyone involved has treated it as a labour of love. The music obviously speaks to a new generation of fans and will probably continue to do so long after the disappearance of CDs, DVDs, Laser Discs, Techno music, synthesized music or the latest "en vogue" musical fashion whatever it may be.

But the real stars of the movie (and in fact the subject matter), are The Bros themselves. There are a number of hair on neck raising incidents in the film and without spoiling it for the likes of my fellow Amigos, DF, DC, and NB etc, Jack Ashford gelling the guys on an impromptu version of Ain't too proud to beg" was worth the admission fee alone. The criticism of the vocal performances and the question of their relevance has missed the whole point of the magic. To have had Diana, Martha, Levi, Stevie etc heavily involved in performing would have turned the whole thing into a Motown" revival theme and once again placed the Bros back into the Shadows of Motown as opposed to the spotlight which was the intention.To see the likes of Uriel Jones banging the skins next to (The Late) Richard "Pistol"Allen while keeping time with Jack Ashfords tambourine and Joe Messinas guitar I wouldn't have missed for the world.The sight of Joe Hunter attempting the splits in a brilliant impromptu flashback to the "Snakepit days" said it all for me. I felt privileged to own their records. He is indeed a man amongst men!

The final stage performance of the movie is a little gut wrenching (I won't spoil it for Alan Pollard), and I now remember why I fell in love with their music in the first place. The vibrancy, the little impromptu licks, the identifiable pick ups, complete control no matter how frantic the pace, and, probably the most important ingredient...the teamwork and enjoyment.If you're a fan of Benny and James, see the movie.

The "Heartbeat and breath of TSOYA" is getting on a bit and I for one am extremely grateful to Mr Slutsky and his team for recording moments in time, with the people who created them, that shaped my life before they all shook off this mortal coil. They really did reach down inside you, grab your soul with their immense talent, rip it out, plant a big wet kiss on it and replace it with the force of one of Bennys sticks on the snare drum!!






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