Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Funk Brothers

The Funk Brothers at the Grammys

When I think of the Funk Brothers, the first thing I want to know is this. Did the Funk Brothers back more hits than any other group of musicians ? Had to be.

A few years ago, I was clicking on the nighttime t.v. and found. a special on the Funk Brothers. They were discussing the "old days". The guys were talking of their work, their peers, the folks who had passed and the fellows who preceded and moved on. They told stories about how things worked at "Motown" when the place was a hit factory.
Some of the Funk Brothers

The film showed scenes from "Hitsville USA" recording sessions and performances. The film folks brought in a few singers to work with the present day Funk Brothers. The only one I can remember is a young woman who was new to me. Since the Funk Brothers are session men they needed a singer for the film. I assume the director chose a relative unknown but talented young lady to simulate what the guys would have been dealing with in the old days. Someone found Joan Osborne and put her in the film. I'm sure glad they did otherwise I might never have heard of her tremendous talent.  

The Funk Brothers plus

I was particularly interested in the way the Funk Brothers, the senior statesmen of the recording world, helped this young woman feel at home. They seemed to go out of their way to make a fresh new talent feel more confident. It was obvious in the way they treated Joan it was not their first rodeo. They knew what they were doing.

I wish I had ordered that film. It was a lesson in rock and roll history that may never be duplicated. That film was rated a four and a half on a five star rating and is called "Standing in the Shadows of Motown".  I am including a link to my favorite cut "Broken Hearted". I bought Miss Osborne's c.d. the next day. 

The Funk Brothers

This video shows off the singer and she rightfully deserves the show case, oh my, that Funk Brothers sound is just so damned complete. Two drummers killing it, the base pounding through the head phones, all the instruments hitting just where they should for maximum and minimum effect...That's the Funk Brothers.  Joan Osborne's recording is just another example of how these consummate professionals do their job. They stay in the background, sound fantastic, while highlighting the talents of the artist. 

The Funk Brothers at work

In other words she's damned good but they make her look so much better. It's why the Funk Brothers were so good. It's why they were the best. I would love to see more from them but time is starting to get in the way. Let's see, in a perfect world Smokey produces a c.d. called Joan and the Funk. If it were up to me, I would have them do nothing but MoTown covers. It would sell with people like me but I don't know if today's radio people would get it. 

The Funk Brothers

So back to the original question. How many hits did they back ? My official answers is, "I don't have a clue" !  Wiki has them backing something like 97 Number One records. There is no visible record for how many non #1 hits they played on. Maybe a thousand ? Who knows ? Maybe Berry Gordy. 

The Funk Brothers and Little Stevie Wonder

Thirteen of the Motown multitude were added to the Grammy Hall of Fame as the Funk Brothers. But you would have to ask them who they would count, because over the years, there were far more than thirteen.

The Funk Brothers Album

Well here we go again. I don't find them in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  So here goes....Dear Funk are now officially welcomed to the only hall of fame you will ever need:


                             Welcome to 

     "The Fan's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame"


       The Funk Brothers....  There is no better body of work !!!!

    Broken Hearted     Film   Mo Info    Videos    Web site

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