FOLLOW-UP: …I Want To Sing With the Funk Brothers!

Like a wish inscribed on a paper, slipped into a bottle and thrown into the sea, my little story about the Funk Brothers was picked up on another shore and taken to heart…I had to share it with you all.

With the Sturm und Drang that punctuates too much in the world today, it’s sometimes hard to focus on the brighter, more uplifting, elements of life; those moments that remind you of good people, the notion that someone’s paying attention, the simple hope that a little dream long held might still, inexplicably and unexpectedly, come true. Given that systemic cynicism that attempts to hijack our time and ponderings, I wanted to post this addendum as a reminder that moments of thrill and surprise can happen from time to time.

If you haven’t already read the original story, please do and then come back to this…it will make much more sense that way: Enough With Politics… I Want To Sing With the Funk Brothers!

Hummm-hum-humm (I’m humming as you get caught up with the story…but it is a Motown song I’m humming.).

OK, done? Great. So anyway, I wrote the story mainly because, as noted, I’m inspired by these guys and the music they’ve made and any chance I get to throw a little attention their way, I’m gonna do it. I mean, just yesterday I was listening to “Standing in the Shadows of Love” as loudly as my Ipod and ears could handle and as I bopped down the street like an aging Lada Edmund Jr. in Nikes and a sweatband, I was again in full thrall of the funk that is the Funk Brothers (and tell me, besides my sister Mary, how many of you can say you remember Lada Edmund, Jr.?:)

I posted the story here on Rock+Paper+Music, as well as my column at the Huffington Post (HuffingtonPost.com/Lorraine-Devon-Wilke/Funk-Brothers) where, regardless of my wish that my own blog garnered such numbers, I clearly get more play. And lo and behold, about three days after it posted there – this story that not only extolled the Brothers but went on to declare my Bucket List wish to sing with them – came this message on the comment board:

Lorraine-my name is David Spero and I have managed the Funk Brothers for years. I promise that the next time they play the west coast you WILL sing with them! 

Meet us at the soundcheck for a trial run, and if you have ‘the goods’ we’ll invite you up at the show as well. 

Pause for a moment of awed silence.

You can imagine my reaction. Message in a bottle.

David Spero is a longtime and highly respected manager and all-around music entrepreneur who has worked with a staggering list of bands and musicians we’ve all listened to over the years. Still very active in the music world, his attachment to the Funk Brothers somehow led him to my article and his unexpected and smile-inducing comment. He later contacted me via my website and we were able to have a more in-depth conversation about my background, his, mutual people we knew, etc., and it was a delightful conversation left with this:

Lorraine…thanks for bringing the Funks to so many people’s attention! That alone gets you a shot on stage…but then when I realized you can really sing, well…let’s fill that bucket. We may be doing (a gig) in April in LA…when it’s finalized I’ll let you know. The gigs are far and few between, the guys all have health issues now, so this would be the best shot. It is so appreciated what you did for them…the guys loved it!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, made my day, week, month, year….knowing “the guys loved it.”  Seriously, it does not get much better than that.

So I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the potential LA gig in April will include my humble and appreciative participation but, for this moment, Mr. Spero’s reaching out made clear that life can still surprise me. That’s really nice to know. Almost as nice as picturing the venerable old Brothers reading my piece and smiling.

More later…(but I tell ya, I’m warming up those vocal cords!).
LDW w glasses


Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.

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36 thoughts on “FOLLOW-UP: …I Want To Sing With the Funk Brothers!

    1. LDW

      I know! So cool, isn’t it? I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out but even just the idea incited a little thrill. Thanks for being happy about it, David…so nice. LDW

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  1. How thrilling this has to be for you! I might now have incentive to drive down to LA (You know how we Northern Californians think of LA . . lol). Congrats for being brave enough to throw out your line and have reeled in your dream!

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    1. LDW

      Hey, thanks, Loren! If it actually comes to pass (we know how life can be!), I’ll be blathering on about it all over the place so you SFers (I have lots of them in my circle!) can do sort of a Woodstock thing and by the time you get to LA you’ll be half a millon strong. Or maybe more like 5 or 10! 🙂 Appreciate your kind words! LDW

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  2. Lane Aldridge

    Lorraine, FANTASTIC! Truthfully, I’m not at all surprised it happened this way: what goes ’round, comes ’round–and you put out mighty fine vibes. How I would love to come see this play out!

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    1. LDW

      Thank you, my friend! Really touched me to have something good and sweet like that happen. Regardless of where it goes from here (and I surely hope it does happen!), just the reach-out had a certain impact…always nice. And thanks for making note of it, Lane. xxoo L.

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  3. Cris

    April is a horrid month for me at work, but it would be so worth it for a recharge evening watching you rock it. Make sure if tickets are needed you let us know.

    Stopping…in the name of love. xxoo

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    1. LDW

      Thanks, Cris…love to have you there if it happens and it’s a public gig. It may be a private party, I’m not sure at this point. But will certainly keep you posted. If it is a public gig, I’ve already said in the original piece that I’d “social media” it to death and I’m still obligated to bring mixed nuts! 🙂 xxoo L

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    1. LDW

      It IS fun, isn’t it? The thought of actually getting the opportunity to rock it out with the Funk Bros! I’ll keep you posted as things evolve and THANK YOU, Steve, for your cheerful support. Means a lot! xxoo LDW

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  4. Corina

    Cute story. Nice to know those bottle we throw out sometimes get picked up. I’m still waiting but I’m happy for you!

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  5. Lane Aldridge

    “…and I’m still obligated to bring mixed nuts!….”

    That should be easy with all your friends who want to show up! 🙂

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  6. Say, the Niece

    Lorraine! That is so awesome! Don’t you just love the internets? And spreading the love, putting your dreams out there – Amazing. I hope it all happens for you (no less because of the Amandes funkophile genes).
    But no matter what you have a piece of Motown history of your very own.
    Love you, & congrats!

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    1. LDW

      Hey, Say! It is kinda awesome, isn’t it? And yes…what would we do without the internets, all of ’em? 🙂 I hope it happens too but I do love you closing statement, that now I have a little piece of Motown history of my own. I hadn’t thought of that and you’re right. How cool is that?? love, L.

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  7. Leslie Suer

    I read both your articles and it was a fun chapter to hear that the manager of the Funk Brothers actually got in touch with you! Congratulations and I’d say it was a good end of the story but I have a feeling that part is yet to come. Good luck and thanks for a good read.

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    1. LDW

      Hey, Leslie: Glad you enjoy the articles and thank you for your positive spin on what’s left to come! I always appreciate a positive thought! LDW

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  8. Tina Romanus

    One of our mutual teachers once told us, “It is crucial for artists to persist, not just in order to find success, but so you live your life creatively and enjoy the process.” I guess it was another way to say “Find and follow your bliss.” He had us look up the word persisting: To hold firmly and steadfastly to a purpose, state, or undertaking despite obstacles, warnings, or setbacks. You paid attention. I have never known anyone who has worked so tirelessly with such courage, continually discovering new expressions of your creative self: never giving up. I am a witness. I’ve watched you for years on your journey for self discovery. I’ve seen the disappointment, the frustration and cheered the triumphs. You keep going and continue to find new outlets for expression; not for the money, which would be nice, but because you understood that life is a work of art. I hope I can be there to hear you sing with the Funk Brothers. You are my funk sister. Love you…T.

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    1. LDW

      Tina. Wow. That is one of the most beautiful comments anyone has ever left. I am so truly, deeply touched. I guess all our many years of friendship together have given you particular insight into my tragedies and triumphs, so many of which you’ve traversed with me. To so beautifully assess that journey, though, takes the heart and soul of a poet and you are surely that, amongst many other beautiful things.

      I’m so glad you’ve been my witness. Stay healthy, sister, cuz we’ve got lots of territory yet to cover together! 🙂 Love, L.

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  9. Unknown: “Never frown, even when you’re sad, because you never know when someone is falling in love with your smile.” Kind of a statement about putting out good stuff only to find it coming back to you. Seems like that’s what you did. May the Funk Brothers fall in love with your smile.

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  10. evden A

    All I can say is I hope you really do get to sing with the Funk Brothers! That would be a dream come true and who doesn’t like to see that happen?

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    1. LDW

      Hey, Eveden: Thanks for the cheer from the sidelines…and I’m with you. I LOVE seeing people’s dreams come true and am always delighted when one of mine can too. Thanks for the note. LDW

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  11. rena b

    When anybody gets a Bucket List wish responded to, my day is made. Cheers to you, especially after a great article on some of my favorite musicians (“STanding in the Shadows of Love” HAS to be the BEST song Motown ever produced!!!). Keep us posted.

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    1. LDW

      Rena: thanks for your great comment. And I agree with you about “Standing In the Shadows Of Love” being one of the best…certainly is a favorite of mine! Very sweet of you to cheer on my Bucket List! I look forward to being able to write a piece all about how this plays out…which should be a fabulous gig! Thanks so much. LDW

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  12. armie a.

    Standing in the Shadows of Motown is one of my family’s favorite movies. We’re all big Motown fans and really appreciated the way this film uncovered the true heart and soul behind the music. It’ll be fun to hear about your performance with them when it happens. Will you write about it?

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    1. LDW

      Armie: I always love hearing from people who share a love for this music and this particular film, also one of my favorites. I will absolutely write another follow-up as soon as I have new information. And I love that so many people want to hear about it…thanks so much! LDW

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  13. Keenan Bielak

    This is such a great story. I’m a huge fan of Motown music so I would love to hear a great performance of the Funk Brothers! I really hope you get the chance to sing with them. Wouldn’t that be a perfect ending?

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  14. erwin s

    So when are we going to hear about that gig?? This is a great story and I’m waiting to hear how it all turns out. I hope you’ll do a follow up when the next step happens.

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    1. LDW

      Erwin: As soon as I have something to tell you I promise I WILL write a Follow-up Part 2! Hopefully something coming up next month but we’ll see how it goes. I’ve got my fingers crossed so thanks so much for your cheers from the sidelines. I’ll keep you all posted! LDW

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