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The Funk Brothers

The Funk Brothers

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The Funk Brothers were Motown's in-house band and are featured on fairly all the Motown records from 1959 up to 1972. Joe Hunter was the bandleader from 1959 to 1962, Earl Van Dyke from 1963 to 1972. When Motown moved from Detroit to Los Angeles in 1972, The Funk Brothers were disbanded. In 2002 a music documentary was released about The Funk Brothers, called "Standing In The Shadows Of Motown".

In the booklet of the 1994 4-CD compilation "Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: 35th Anniversary Collection" there is a survey of all of the members of The Funk Brothers. It is presented by Motown scholar Harry Weinger. Weinger divides the history of the group into three parts:

1959-1962
Joe Hunter, Richard "Popcorn" Wylie, Earl Van Dyke (joining in 1962)- keyboards
Robert White, Eddie Willis, Joe Messina, Marv Tarplin- guitars
James Jamerson, Clarence Isabell, Joe Williams- bass
Benny Benjamin, Richard "Pistol" Allen- drums
Jack Ashford, James Gittens- vibes
Herbie Williams, John "Little John" Wilson, Marcus Belgrave, Russell Conway, Johnny Trudell- trumpets
Bob Cousar, George Bohanon, Paul Riser- trombones
Hank Cosby, Andrew "Mike" Terry, Kasuka Mafia (Norris Patterson), Thomas "Beans" Bowles, Teddy Buckner, Ronnie Wakefield, Lefty Edwards, Eli Fontaine, Ernie Rodgers- saxophones

Note: Dave Hamilton also played vibes.

1963-1967
Earl Van Dyke, Johnny Griffith- keyboards
Robert White, Eddie Willis, Joe Messina, Marv Tarplin -guitars
James Jamerson, Bob Babbitt- bass
Benny Benjamin, Richard "Pistol" Allen, Uriel Jones- drums
Jack Ashford, Eddie "Bongo" Brown- percussion
Jack Ashford, Jack Brokensha- vibes
Johnny Trudell, Herbie Williams, Floyd Jones, Maurice Davis, Billy Horner, John "Little John" Wilson, Marcus Belgrave, Russell Conway, Don Slaughter- trumpets
George Bohanon, Bob Cousar, Jimmy Wilkins, Paul Riser, Don White, Carl Raetz, Patrick Lanier, Bill Johnson- trombones
Dayna Hartwick- flute, piccolo
Hank Cosby, Andrew "Mike" Terry, Kasuka Mafia, Thomas "Beans" Bowles, Teddy Buckner, Eugene Rodgers, Dan Turner, Bernie Peacock, Larry Nozero- saxophones

1968-1972
Earl Van Dyke, Johnny Griffith- keyboards
Robert White, Eddie Willis, Joe Messina, Marv Tarplin, Dennis Coffey, Melvin "Wah Wah" Watson, Tony "Touchdown" Drake- guitars
James Jamerson, Bob Babbitt- bass
Uriel Jones, Richard "Pistol" Allen, Andrew Smith- drums
Jack Ashford, Eddie "Bongo" Brown- percussion
Jack Ashford, Jack Brokensha- vibes
Johnny Trudell, Russell Conway, Herbie Williams, Floyd Jones, Maurice Davis, Billy Horner, John "Little John" Wilson, Marcus Belgrave, Don Slaughter, Eddie Jones- trumpets
Bob Cousar, Jimmy Wilkins, Paul Riser, Don White, Carl Raetz, Patric Lanier, Bill Johnson- trombones
Dayna Hartwick- flute, piccolo
Hank Cosby, Kasuka Mafia, Thomas "Beans" Bowles, Teddy Buckner, Lefty Edwards, Eugene "BeeMee" Moore, William "Wild Bill" Moore, Angelo Carlisi, Ernie Rodgers, Dan Turner, Bernie Peacock, Larry Nozero, Eli Fontaine, Lanny Austin- saxophones

Concertmaster Gordon Staples and the Detroit Symphony Strings handled the strings throughout the era.

Sites:history-of-rock.com , funandmusic.biz , MySpace , Wikipedia , marvellousmotown.com , Imdb
Aliases:Detroit City Limits, Don Davis & His Groovers, Soul Brothers Inc. (2), The Magnificent Seven (5), The Motown House Band, The Soul Brothers (17), Twistin' Kings
Members:Andrew "Mike" Terry, Andrew Smith (4), Anthony L. Drake, Benny Benjamin, Bill Johnson, Carl Raetz, Dave Hamilton, Dennis Coffey, Don White, Earl Van Dyke, Eddie "Bongo" Brown, Eddie Willis, Eli Fontaine, Eugene 'BeeBee' Moore, Henry Cosby, Herbie Williams, Jack Ashford, James Jamerson, Joe Hunter, Joe Messina
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