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article imageReview: The birth of Muscle Shoals sound hits the UK

By Eileen Kersey     Oct 27, 2013 in Entertainment
Muscle Shoals - Most people have heard of the Motown Sound, a reference to sixties soul music, but what about the Muscle Shoals Sound? A documentary retelling the birth of Alabama's Muscle Shoals Sound is set to change that.
Muscle Shoals is a town in Alabama. It was a small place with a population of 8,000, when a mixture of musicians first hot-footed it to the town to record at its studios.
During a period of racial segreation in the USA a recording studios in the town, operated by white musicians, made sweet music with the likes of Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett.
Rick Hall founded the studios -- the FAME studios. The white-skinned studio band became known as the Swampers.
The mix of musical styles and colour made for a unique musical experience. Hip-hop meets hillbilly meets soul but it was the 60s, long before such terms entered our vocabulary.
Sunday in the UK the Guardian features Muscle Sounds ensuring that the docmentary reaches a wide audience in the UK. Rather than an audience of music buffs Muscle Sounds will draw viewers from across the board. People who simply love music and this films' hypnotic soundtrack.
The documentary does not receive glowing reviews in the Guardian sadly. Instead the Guardian compares it to other documentaries in this field, such as Standing in the Shadows of Motown, and finds Muscle Shoals Sound lacking.
However, if nothing else the documentary excels musically, especially if you are into soul music and rhythm and blues.
The soundtrack features now legendary artists such as Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, the Allman Brothers, the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Dylan and Etta James, who all recorded at the studios, some time or another. The tracks used are stunning.
Footage in the film also features the late Dr Martin Luther King, Bono and the late Otis Reading. Three giants in their field of expertise.
Move on a few years though to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Muscle Shoals is still a favourite recording venue for some artists:
Sure, people go to New York to record, big deal, go to Muscle Shoals where you can actually get lunch at a meat and three. Experience the southern way of life, there’s nothing like it said Ed King, Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist.
Described in the Guardian as an engaging documentary Muscle Shoals is directed by Greg Camalier.
The documemtary was made in the USA and has a running time of 102 - 111 minutes. In the UK it has been certified as PG for Parental Guidance.
From January 2013 it played at various film festivals in the USA and Australia but from October 25 it is playing at a limited number of UK cinemas.
Check it out.
More about Alabama, American music, Soul Music, Motown, Aretha franklin
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