Muscle Shoals

September 23, 2013 0 By Fans
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A documentary that celebrates Rick Hall, the founder of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and the signature sound he developed in songs such as “I'll Take You There”, “Brown Sugar”, and “When a Man Loves a Woman”.

Release Year: 2013

Rating: 6.4/10 (127 voted)

Director: Greg 'Freddy' Camalier


Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America's most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the 'Singing River' as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals changed the world and sold millions upon millions of copies. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, he brought black and white together in Alabama's cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations while giving birth to the 'Muscle Shoals Sound' and 'The Swampers'. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Bono, and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals' magnetism, mystery, and why it remains influential today.

The incredible true story of a small town with a big sound.


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Rating: 10/10

Have you ever heard of Muscle Shoals, Alabama? Let me rephrase the
question – have you heard an Aretha Franklin song? Have you ever
grooved to Wicked Wilson Pickett's Land of 1000 Dances? Have you ever
thought "Yes Percy Sledge, that is EXACTLY what happens when a man
loves a woman!" Have you ever driven way to fast while the Rolling
Stones' Brown Sugar blasted through your speakers? If you answered yes
to any of those questions, then you have heard of Muscle Shoals,
Alabama or at least you're heard the Muscle Shoals sound, the subject
of the documentary Muscle Shoals from director Greg 'Freddy' Camalier.

In the interest of full disclosure, these are my people ya'll! I grew
up just east of Muscle Shoals, also on the banks of the Tennessee River
– "The Singing River" to the Native Americans who made their home there
for millenia before Rick Hall founded FAME studios. Driven by a need to
escape the crushing poverty and overwhelming tragedy that befalls him,
Hall is the central figure in the story of the famed "Muscle Shoals
sound" – well him and a group of homegrown, white as cotton studio
musicians known as the "Swampers". These men shaped what ultimately
proved to be some of the finest rock, soul, and R&B America would ever

Music docs can really go either way, depending on such bureaucratic
mundanities as rights and clearances. Muscle Shoals is a triumph,
though. All personal bias aside, present day interviews with music
luminaries, expertly deployed found footage and stills, and the
greatest soundtrack a movie could hope for, all make Muscle Shoals one
of the finest music documentaries you'll ever see. Let the
participation of such bright lights as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett,
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bono, Jerry Wexler, Percy Sledge, Alicia
Keys, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, and Etta James serve as a
testament to the enduring magic that is Muscle Shoals, FAME studios,
and that greasy, soulful sound. The only puzzling thing about Muscle
Shoals is how this story went so long without being told.