If you’ve ever envisioned yourself playing thumping, deep, soulful, heart-shaking music on your guitar or bass, then you simply have to see the movie “Muscle Shoals” in theaters now, and perhaps (regretfully) for not too long, although the movie is currently available for rental on Amazon and iTunes.
Produced by Stephen Badger and Greg “Freddy” Camalier, who is also the director, “Muscle Shoals” is an inspiring, uplifting, and lush paen to the music made at both Rick Hall’s Fame Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, established, owned, and operated by Fame’s legendary rhythm section (The Swampers – immortalized by Lynyrd Skynyrd), consisting of Jimmy Johnson (guitar), David Hood (bass), Barry Beckett and Spooner Oldham (keys), and Roger Hawkins (drums). Whether or not you play the guitar, or, for that matter, any instrument, it’s safe to say that you will certainly be moved by any, some, or all of the music that poured through the walls of those iconic buildings – the latter being a former casket factory, and we can’t encourage you enough to see the movie for a brilliant narrative, by many of the principals involved in the experiences that created the music.
Among those interviewed in the movie are: Rick Hall, Jimmy Johnson, Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Jerry Wexler, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Clarence Carter, Jimmy Cliff, Candi Staton, Greg Allman, and Steve Winwood – all of whom sing the praises of the studio owners, the studio musicians, and the hauntingly rich environs of the deep-rooted Muscle Shoals habitat and community.
Here’s a partial list of songs that came out of the Muscle Shoals community – songs that could populate their own wing of The Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame – in no particular order:
- When a Man Loves a Woman – Percy Sledge (Recorded at Quin Ivy’s Norala Studios with distribution facilitated by Rick Hall
- I Ain’t Easy To Love – Candi Staton (Fame)
- Patches and Slip Away – Clarence Carter (Fame)
- I Never Loved a Man and Do Right Woman – Aretha Franklin (Fame)
- Hey Jude, Mustang Sally, and Land of a Thousand Dances – Wilson Pickett (Fame)
- Tell Mama – Etta James (Fame)
- You Better Move On and Anna – Arthur Alexander (Fame)
- Brown Sugar, Wild Horses, and You Gotta Move – The Rolling Stones (Muscle Shoals Sound)
- Sitting in Limbo – Jimmy Cliff (Muscle Shoals Sound)
- Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd (Muscle Shoals Sound)
- Kodachrome – Paul Simon (Muscle Shoals Sound)
- I’ll Take You There – The Staple Singers (Muscle Shoals Sound)
- You Left the Water Running – Otis Redding (Fame)
- Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me and Stop and Smell the Roses – Mac Davis (Fame)
- One Bad Apple – The Osmond Brothers (Fame)
- Take a Letter Maria – R. B. Greaves (Muscle Shoals Sound)
- Night Moves, Katmandu, Old Time Rock n Roll, Night Moves, and Main Street – Bob Seger (Muscle Shoals Sound)
- Loan Me a Dime – Boz Skaggs (Muscle Shoals Sound)
- Atlantic Crossing – Rod Stewart (Muscle Shoals Sound)
- 3614 Jackson Highway – Cher (Muscle Shoals Sound)
- Gotta Serve Somebody – Bob Dylan (Muscle Shoals Sound)
- Fancy – Bobbie Gentry (Fame)
Muscle Shoals is a wonderful movie that is sure to touch your emotions, uplift you with its music, and inspire you with the the heart, soul, humor, and perseverance of those responsible for that music.