Muscle Shoals – The Movie

Read about the new movie about the legendary Muscle Shoals sound

An Extended Run

Muscle Shoals – The Movie


Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most creative and defiant music.  Even though its population is around 13,000, the music of Muscle Shoals changed the world and sold millions of copies.

In the early 1960’s, Rick Hall set up FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals.  A dirt poor farm boy, he had a big dream and boundless tenacity to succeed.  Arthur Alexander’s “You Better Move On” was FAME’s first big hit.

Within no time Hall had an output deal with Jerry Wexler and Atlantic Records and a string of high-profile artists landing on his door to infuse their songs with the famous Muscle Shoals sound.

Hall’s studio band was known as The Swampers and, between these four white boys, they played on countless worldwide hits including “Mustang Sally”, “When a Man Loves a Woman”, “I’ll Take you There”, “Respect” and “Brown Sugar”.  When the time came for them to want to set up their own recording studio, the stage was set for some high-stakes rivalry that produced countless number one hits for both FAME and the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.

Greg Camalier’s documentary captures all the heavy hitters.  Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Bono are just some of the artists who speak with candour and love about recording in the town and the stunning musical results it produced.  The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon and Wilson Pickett are just a few of the artists who travelled to Muscle Shoals during the 1960s and early 1970s to record.  Muscle Shoals tells the story of this northern Alabama town and the many hits that came out of its legendary recording spaces.


I saw the film at this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival – the music, the never-before-seen footage, the countryside, the cinematography and the larger-than-life figures of Rick Hall and Jerry Wexler are a heady mix.  It is highly recommended – I may go see it again at its current run at ACMI in downtown Melbourne.

I had hoped to visit Muscle Shoals this year but could not quite fit it in.  Next September after the Americana Music Conference might the ideal time.  It’s high on my music bucket list!

To whet your appetite, here’s the official trailer:

Muscle Shoals is currently screening at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Federation Square running from 27 December 2013 to 19 January 2014.


Read about the new movie about the legendary Muscle Shoals sound

Read about the new movie about the legendary Muscle Shoals sound



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Author: Rob Dickens

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