This film is similar to Buena Vista Social Club in that it provides an excuse to reconvene these men for a reunion concert. Contemporary performers such as Joan Osborne, Montell Jordan, Ben Harper, Meshell Ndegeocello and Gerald Levert handle the vocals while the old-timers vamp on the tunes, which include "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "What's Going On," "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg."
In between concert segments, a mixture of interviews and archival footage traces the history of the musicians back to 1959, when Berry Gordy first got Motown going. As was the case with black musicians in Chicago, most of the men were Southerners who had come north for the factory jobs. But, as pianist Joe Hunter says, "We didn't want to work in no factories. We wanted to play music."
And play they did. While the film makes an excellent case for the Funk Brothers' place in musical history, the film's agenda is too celebratory to offer more than glancing attention to how poorly these men were remunerated by the record company that eventually abandoned them in the early 1970s. A number of these men fell on hard times in later years, including the group's most brilliant member, bassist James Jamerson, who is remembered the survivors with sadness and awe.