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‘Soulful’ films highlight history of record labels

A TRIO of films is to track the history of three iconic record labels, taking in music legends such as the Supremes and Bob Marley.

A TRIO of films is to track the history of three iconic record labels, taking in music legends such as the Supremes and Bob Marley.

In its mini-season programme billed as “a juicy range of films, succulent with soul”, Side Cinema near Newcastle Quayside is celebrating three classic independent labels – Motown, Chess and Island – on successive Tuesdays between October 13 and 27.

Each will be introduced by Chris Phipps, pop historian and former producer of North East music showcase The Tube, who co-produced and wrote the third film, Time Will Tell, a biopic of Chris Blackwell’s Island Records which showcases previously unseen footage of the label’s biggest star Bob Marley.

But first up, next Tuesday, in the Independents Day line-up is Standing in the Shadows of Motown, a 2003 film by Paul Justman which re-united the Detroit label's original session musicians for a one-off performance.

It was the label dubbed the sound of young America; getting people dancing in the streets by backing talents such as Marvin Gaye, and the Supremes (who are soon to be the focus of a new exhibition at Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead).

Then, on October 20, it’s the turn of Chess’s Cadillac Records.

Darnell Martin’s 2009 film re-creates the days of Chicago’s Chess Studios where blues and R&B stars like Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry were snapped up by the enterprising Chess brothers and went on to inspire a trans-Atlantic generation of young musicians from the Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin.

The film stars Adrian Brody alongside Beyonce as blues belter Etta James.

“All Chess artists played Newcastle in the 60s. A young Mark Knopfler was profoundly influenced by seeing Chuck Berry at the Odeon and City Hall,” says Phipps who still has an album signed at the performance.

His 1991 film Time Will Tell will screen on October 27 for the first time in 18 years. It focuses on Marley, the biggest star on the Island Records label which showcased every genre from rock, folk and beat to U2, Grace Jones and Amy Winehouse.

The story of Marley, whose inspired universal roots reggae was cross- marketed to the world via Island, is told in his words and through his own performance - much of it previously unseen.

Phipps explains: “The film dates back to The Tube and the relationship I had with the Jamaican music scene.”

The film screenings all start at 7pm. Visit www.amber-online.com for more information.


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