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Jack Ashford's band has played on more number-one hits than The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys combined! Is that hard to believe? Well believe it!
Jack is one of the Funk Brothers, the house band at Motown Records. They provided music for Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Temptations, Glady Knight and the Pips, The Contours, The Miracles, Junior Walker & the All Stars, The Temptations, Martha & the Vandellas, Jimmy Ruffin, The Isley Brothers, The Marvelettes, and many others.
Jack plays vibes, and he also plays an instrument highly underestimated and misunderstood in most of the United States (New Orleans and the South Carolina and Georgia Sea Islands being two exceptions) and which came to define the Motown sound, the tambourine. When you listen to those great old songs and you hear that unmistakable jangle in there, you're hearing Jack. Jack tours nowadays with HIS Funk Brothers band.
Jack's book 'Motown: The View from the Bottom' is essential reading for anybody who really wants to understand the story (stories) behind the fabulous music and the people who made it.
Jack Ashford throwin' down some moves on the tambourine before the Funk Brothers and Ben Harper move into a rendition of Ain't Too Proud to Beg. This scene is taken from the documentary 'Standing in the Shadow of Motown'.