A month or so ago, I saw the movie "Muscle Shoals" down at the Showroom in Asbury Park and sincerely apologized to you for my delay in writing the review of this priceless documentary.
As a result of my delay, by the time my review was posted, the film was gone.
Yesterday, I trekked to Asbury Park in the snow to see "20 Feet from Stardom" which played at the Showroom about 3 months ago and I couldn't make it.
Thrilled it was back.
The movie opened right up with no previews (which was fine with me) as I was the only one in the house in this "most comfortable" movie theatre. I was happy about that so I could put some notes on my phone during the film without disturbing anybody.
So it is snowing outside, I'm in Asbury Park, I'm about to watch a film about music from my era (60's & 70's) and Bruce comes on the screen to talk. RIGHT THEN, I knew this was going to be a magical film that I promised myself I'd have the review written within 24 hours.
Simply this was a marvelous and I mean marvelous tribute, explanation, sharing of the story of background singers and specifically the African-American background singers integration into the white singing world.
The interviews of the singers today telling of their journey spliced in with video from the 60's and 70's of them with their groups actually singing is AWESOME!!!! That somebody took AND SAVED these grainy video's is just remarkable (and speaks to our constant need to preserve and document history.
The first black, or african-american backup singing group was the Blossoms with Darlene Love.
Her story alone is worth the price of admission. Some singers stayed as background singers while others attempted the solo route like Lisa Fischer (right up their with Aretha in talent), Other solo focuses included Merry Clayton, Tata Vega, Claudia Lennear.
Go hear them sing in this film and you'll melt that these talents really never reached us individually. Later in the film they focused on the journey of contemporary Judith Hill who exploded on the world singing at Michael Jackson's funeral.
Other legendary background singers that truly helped make the artist they were supporting were the Raelettes (Ray Charles), The Waters, and many more.
The journey of the background singers is awesome whose early exposure to inspired singing from their days in church (most of these ladies dads were preachers) sets the foundation to soulful singing brilliance.
The interviews with the major artists speaking with reverence to the talent and importance to these background singers is fabulous. Bono, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, David Bowie and more is off the charts (no pun intended). And how the freelancing of rock and roll lent itself to vastly enhanced role of the background singers is fascinating.
There are so much to tell from this film but if you are age 45-70 and loved music from your youthful era, you will be in utter heaven. Plus the influence of war, civil rights, politics, assassinations and more on the "times" and the music is ridiculously insightful.
I could go on and on. This film is a must. You'll be smiling, singing throughout as transformed back in time to the fascinating role and world of brilliant background singers.
You'll have a whole new appreciation for that art form.
Turn off the computer, bag NFL football today and race to Asbury to catch this film before it leaves...you'll thank me.