Muscle Shoals…heard of it? Probably not and yet it is the birthplace of some of the most iconic rock songs in history. Directed by Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier, Muscle Shoals is a heartfelt tale of ambition and overcoming all odds to bring the world the best of R&B, Blues and Rock N Roll.
Strange how one finds out about all these amazing music houses, it wasn’t too long ago that I learned about Sound City through the documentary film, then there was the documentary The Wrecking Crew and now this. All these films do an excellent job of peeling away the grime that tends to build up on stories such as these. Whether bias or not, inside all these tales I’m sure is another side of the story, but stories worth listening to are never without it’s controversy.
Under the spiritual influence of the “Singing River” as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals is some of the most important and resonant of all time. “I’ll Take You There”, “Brown Sugar”, “When a Man Loves a Woman”, “I Never Loved A Man the Way That I Loved You”, “Mustang Sally”, “Tell Mama”, “Kodachrome”, and “Freebird” are just a few of the tens of thousands of tracks created there.
At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, he brought black and white musicians together to create music that would last for generations while also giving birth to the unique ‘Muscle Shoals sound‘ and the rhythm section ‘The Swampers’.
In this movie legendary artists including Aretha Franklin, Greg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Jimmy Cliff, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Wilson Pickett, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Steve Winwood and others bear witness to the magnetism and mystery of Muscle Shoals and why it remains a global influence today.
‘Muscle Shoals comes from the heart – not only the film but the entirety of the tale itself’ – Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier, Director