DVD + DVD Audio
Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama has helped create some of the most important and resonant songs of all time. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, Rick Hall brought black and white together to create music for the generations. He is responsible for creating the "Muscle Shoals sound" and The Swampers, the house band at FAME Studios that eventually left to start its own successful studio known as Muscle Shoals Sound. Gregg Allman and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals' magnetism, mystery and why it remains influential today.
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I never knew the story was so rough. Never knew that Rick Hall had such a rough life. We picked up bits and pieces about Muscle Shoals as we grew up -- it became like a magic, mystical place in our minds. It would be wonderful if the whole cut of each song could be played, but that would make the movie way too long. The photography is beautiful, the remarks made by Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Clarence Carter, Jerry Wexler, Keith Richard and Mick Jagger, and more, make you slowly realize that Muscle Shoals was almost a miracle. The first hit, the wonderful "You Better Move On" by Arthur Alexander - followed by the Rolling Stones playing and singing the same song, makes you gasp. Tears flowed, I don't mind saying. Just put aside whatever you may think about Alabama, and see this movie.
The beauty of North Alabama is shown through the shots of the nature that we are blessed to enjoy here.
Highly recommended for music fans.
I would have willingly given a rating of 5-Stars for this gem of a production, but I'm selfish. I wanted more and did not want it to end. The cinematography was beautiful. The stories that were told made me feel like I was there. The still photographs from the past were like looking through an old family album eliciting both joyful and sad memories from the past. One of my favorite things about Muscle Shoals was hearing first hand stories from the artists that were there. Wilson Picket and Keith Richards made me laugh out loud. The recounting of Aretha Franklin's first session at the studio and the build up to the first song she recorded there, had me totally mesmerized. The description of Etta James' persona, her strong will and the explosive talent she possessed were wonderfully described. Then of course there were the Swampers an unlikely group of caucasian country boys that grooved on more popular recordings than you could even imagine. Who knew?
I would definitely recommend a viewing or the purchase of this wonderful production to anyone who enjoys history, music or just the triumph of the human spirit through daunting challenges. Muscle Shoals is more than just a history lesson, it is a story of artistically gifted people discovering who they are and what they were created to do. It is a story of striving for excellence in an imperfect world and sharing the successes and disappointments that make up the journey of our lives.
I had always wanted be a session musician, like the guys in the Swampers. My own successes and disappointments led me in different directions. Muscle Shoals gave me a glimpse into a world that has always held a special place in my heart, which is music recording and performance.
Watch this and be surprisingly drawn into Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Sweet Home Alabama!