FILM: Muscle Shoals
Located in one of the most unlikely places – the backwoods of Alabama, along the Tennessee River – is one of the most legendary and influential music recording studios of the past 50 years. FAME Studios, located in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, is the focus of the new documentary, Muscle Shoals, by filmmaker Greg “Freddy” Camalier. This excellent film features in-depth interviews with several of the artists who recorded at FAME, including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bono, Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, Clarence Carter, the house band The Swampers, and many others.
Overall, the film does a great job of discussing every aspect of the studio’s history. It talks about the effects of its remote location on the music, the way it brought together black and white musicians during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, and the way the studio’s popularity grew from being a place where mostly black soul and R&B musicians recorded to being a place where popular British rock bands like the Rolling Stones recorded. The film also delves into founder Rick Hall’s life a bit, explaining what a rough life he had growing up and how those difficulties fueled him to achieve all that he did in the music industry.
For anyone who loves rock and soul music from the 60’s and 70’s (and who doesn’t?!), this film is highly recommended. Interspersed between interviews with the musicians, the film features great archival footage of some of the original recording sessions. As the studio that recorded such songs as “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “Brown Sugar,” “Kodachrome,” “I’ll Take You There,” “Mainstreet,” “Freebird,” “Mustang Sally,” “I Never Loved a Man the Way That I Loved You,” and countless others, Muscle Shoals truly is a special place.
Muscle Shoals opens September 27, 2013 at the IFC Center in NY and nationwide on VOD, and October 11th in LA.