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The Funk Brothers
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    Born in Detroit, Michigan
    House band for Motown Records
    Recorded the album 'That Motown Sound' (1965)
    Principal members:
    Joe Hunter (November 19, 1927-February 2, 2007), keyboards and band leader (to 1964)
    Earl Van Dyke (July 8, 1930-September 18, 1992), keyboards and band leader (after 1964)
    James Jamerson (January 29, 1938-August 2, 1983), bass guitar
    Benny Benjamin (July 25, 1925-April 20, 1969), drums
    Richard 'Pistol' Allen (1932-June 31, 2002), drums
    Uriel Jones (1934- ), drums
    Robert White (1936-1994), guitar
    Eddie 'Chank' Willis (1936- ), guitar and sitar
    Joe Messina (1928- ), guitar
    Jack Ashford (1934- ), vibraphone and percussion
    Eddie 'Bongo' Brown (1932-December 28, 1984), percussion
    Subject of the documentary 'Standing in the Shadows of Motown' (2002)
    The few times they recorded their own records, they were billed as the 'Soul Brothers' because Berry Gordy did not like the connotations of the word 'funk.'
    They did not receive credit for their session work until the release of Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On.' (1971)
    'Bongo' Brown could not read music and during recording sessions replaced his sheet music with nudie magazines.
    Benjamin and Jamerson became increasingly unreliable due to Benjamin's heroin use and Jamerson's alcoholism.
    'Standing in the Shadows of Motown' declared that they 'played on more number one records than The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys combined.'
    Jamerson was the first sideman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2001). Benjamin followed him three years later.
    Jamerson's melodic bass playing was cited as an influence by Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Jaco Pastorius.

Credit: C. Fishel

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