I saw this film twice in small cinemas and it still holds as a film. There's so much to take in, so much background to divulge and if you don't want to hop on a plane and visit Alabama then you must be mad! If you love music, and particularly the likes of Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Percy Sledge etc, then this film will entertain you. For those who don't or, like me, don't know the background and influence of this small recording mecca on music, it serves as a wonderful form of education.
Slightly disappointed that the DVD extras didn't extend to a 2-DVD set given the obvious depth and amount of interviews that must have been conducted. The extras amount to just 33 mins. However, there are two interesting commentaries from both the director and the key characters of the documentary - Rick Hall and the Swampers.
What is it about Muscle Shoals that has made it on the map for musicians? This small Alabama town on the banks of the Tennessee River has two music studios, FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. The man with the last name of Hall is mentioned often for the success of Muscle Shoals, and we hear him talk about his life and success. One musician likened the water of Mersy in England tonged water of the Tennessee for making the music what it is. An old folklore has the river singing like none other.
The list of musicians appearing in 'Muscle Shoals' who tell us of their experiences include, Gregg Allman, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Keith Richards and John Paul White of the Civil Wars. Aretha Franklin speaking of its allure. We may never know, but the sound of rhythm and blues is long associated, and this documentary is excellent. For lovers of music, this us a film to see.
This is a wonderful film . So many insights into how musical magic happened. I would have been happy to have seen more of Dan Penn and a lot less of Bono but that is a personal preference . Highly recommended regardless of which form of music you have interest in.
I stumbled across this film on BBC4. I had missed the first half hour, but was drawn in to this atmospheric affair that was akin to dealing out a pack of cards. Just when you thought that you knew what was going to happen next, a new musician turns up and the programmes shifts into another direction. Personally I loved it. I was delighted to find it on DVD so soon after its transmission on BBC4, and have watched it a number of times, each time discovering something new. For those considering buying it, just look down the list of artists featured. Although not all of them get equal amounts of screen time, consider how they are linked and whether that link is something that would interest you. Essentially the thread is the life story of Rick Hall who founded Fame Records and was responsible for the Muscle Shoals sound. A range of artists (talking and playing/reprising their music) help to carry the story forward, with Rick Hall and the Mississippi River (and its environs) filling the gaps. Enjoy.
This is a really interesting documentary that peaks behind the soundboard of Muscle Shoals Studio. Avoiding naming the plethora of musicians that have recorded there this doc tells a fascinating story for anyone interested in the 'golden age' of making records and that indescribable 'thing' that musicians search for when playing...a feeling!
Would have liked a 'hard copy' of this film but looks like it's not released in the UK until 2014; But, it is available in digital format now on iTunes for £9.99.
I saw this at the London Sundance 2013 Festival. Although my musical tastes include soul it's not my favourite genre but I found this film completely engrossing and very entertaining. It's well told, with ego trips by the stars who've recorded at Muscle Shoals kept to a minimum so that the music and how it came to be made is in the foreground. I'll certainly be buying this next year - but no blu ray version?