The Funk Brothers
I’m a purist and I rarely like anything but the original songs in their initial form but the covers in this film provided by the artists were truly magical and prove the point of this film, which is that it was the quality of the music (and not necessarily the singer) that was the backbone of those hits from that era. Here are the songs covered in the film (all backed by The Funk Brothers).
-Gerald Levert (Reach Out, Shotgun) -Joan Osbourne (Heatwave, What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted) -Bootsy Collins (Do You Love Me, Cool Jerk) -Ben Harper (Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, I Heard It Through The Grapevine) -Chaka Khan (What’s Going On, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough w/Montell Jordan) -Me’Shell Ndegeocello (You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me, Cloud Nine)
If the movie didn’t prove to be educational enough for you, the audio commentary by director Paul Justman and producer (and writer of the book the film was inspired by) Allan Slutsky, delves deeper into every detail about the making of the film, the lives of these men and much more. This was a thoroughly entertaining listen and I would describe it as perfect as far as these types of commentaries go. It just adds more to an already great documentary. There is also a Song Selections/ Performances option which allows you to go straight to a desired song performance that was featured in the film. Great if you want to enjoy the song without interruption. There is also a How It All Began feature with a the photo that started it all and the video that started it all section in it. In the “photo” part, Slutsky comments on a picture that was taken back in ’89 (with some of the Funk Brothers) and how his idea for writing a book and eventually making a movie, originated from that moment in his life. In the “video” part, director Justman talks over a short promo film he made to shop the documentary to possible takers. Both are pretty short…but sweet. Finally (for those of you with DVD-ROM’s) you can slide this disc in your PC and watch BMWFilms.com Presents THE HIRE: A Series of Short Films (Hostage, ticker, Beat the Devil). A trivia track and some trailers round out disc 1.
The second disc starts off with Dinner with the Funk Brothers, which is about eleven minutes worth of the surviving Funk’s sitting around a table, having drinks and talking about everything from nicknames, their reunion, what they listen to today and much, much more. Worth a look just to see these guys hangin’ back and talking shop. Multi-angle Jam Sessions is just what it says it is, three separate sessions with these guys just rocking and rolling, you can see different brothers doing their thing by clicking on the angle button on your remote. It’s okay, but I prefer seeing them in action performing. There are 15 deleted scenes included here as well, all of which are great. The film’s length was fine as it was (a really long documentary can take its toll), but all of these scenes are worth a watch, it’s just more interesting tidbits from and about these guys; at the end of surfing through this 2-disc set you’ll feel like they’re family! The Ones That Didn’t Make It, pays tribute to the Funk Brothers who didn’t live long enough to see this film made in their honor. It’s a wonderful montage of old photographs and present-day interviews from their funky buddies. It would’ve been sacrilege had they not thought of doing something like this for the DVD extras.
At Long Last Glory focuses on the recognition, attention and acclaim that The Funk Brothers finally received after the release of STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN. After “X” amount of years in the shadows of some of the music world’s greatest superstars, it’s satisfying to see the boys getting some of the spotlight. Funk Brothers Video Biographies are individual video biographies of all the guys, complete with pictures, footage and interviews with friends and family. Man, they really went all out with these extras, this is a real treat. The director’s and producers bio’s are also thrown in. There is also a music video montage which isn’t that impressive, just snippets of the guys from the movie and the extra features set to music; nothing special. If you want a good idea of why these guys were called the greatest hit machine in the history of popular music then check out the Selected Discography feature though. It’s amazing, they list every single song (and the artists) these guys backed...even more than I even imagined. Finally, there are some Honorable Mentions, a truly classy extra, which gives some of the people who weren’t necessarily within The Funk Brothers credit for the part they played on many recordings (in studio and behind-the-scenes). More DVD-ROM features are on this second disc as well, including an interactive virtual recording studio. Phew, that’s it!