Near the Louisiana-Alabama border on the banks of the Tennessee River lies one of the greatest recording meccas in music history: the sleepy hamlet of Muscle Shoals. A place so rich in history that the killer tunes created there seemed to just come up from the water. Its famed recordings at both the iconic Fame Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound are told here as a filmed oral history from those who were with it from the beginning to the end.
The early days with impresario and former farm boy Rick Hall making iconic records for the likes of Clarence Carter, Etta James, and Wilson Pickett (just to name a few of the very many) with his famed studio band The Swampers eventually gives way to the equally interesting story of his band leaving their boss behind to jump on the Southern Rock bandwagon at their own studio right down the street.
It might be a bit long in the tooth, but these films often are since they are made specifically with the completist in mind. Those who know about Muscle Shoals and its particular sound will find a lot of anecdotes and facts they never realized before, but it bounces around a bit at times and newbies might have a hard time fitting in. Still, any film that talks about how The Rolling Stones wrote “Wild Horses” and manages to make Bono look humble is an accomplishment in itself. It’s a delight for music buffs and casual fans alike.
And be sure to stay all the way through to the very end of the credits