MUSCLE SHOALS (2013) – Review

The Incredible True Story of a Small Town With A BIG Sound.


muscle-shoals-posterGreg “Freddy” Camalier‘s MUSCLE SHOALS (2013) Take a trip down the Tennessee River to a tiny town in Alabama that gave birth to some of the greatest songs of all time.  It is a common belief by many who’ve been there that there is a unique energy that flows out-of-the-river to create a distinct style of music notably the “Muscle Shoals” sound.  Producer Rick Hall‘s life told brilliantly in this documentary and how his hardships led him to form the company FAME Studios. A must see for music fans and especially for fans of the soul music genre.

From very humble beginnings, Rick Hall has always been passionate about music. Many of his former colleagues paint Hall as an obsessed workaholic. After the tragic death of his first wife, and during his spiral into depression, all he could do was write songs and wander the streets. Soon, he would find his place again and record the hit song that would forever cement Muscle Shoals as a monument in the music world–Arthur Alexander‘s “You Better Move On.” This song would be a cover song The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, introducing the world to the Muscle Shoals sound.

The band The Swampers left FAME Studios to create Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Etta James and many others would leave their musical mark. The rich music history that mentioned in this documentary is all too inspiring just as the beauty of the imagery emphasizes the locations natural surroundings. Many celebrities such as Bono, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Alicia Keys appear in the documentary and facilitates the origin story of Muscle Shoals and its distinct sound.

Muscle Shoals–two hours worth of music history waiting to be experienced.


MUSCLE SHOALS (2013) special DVD features include:

•  Additional Scenes and Interviews
•  Commentary with director Greg “Freddy” Camalier
•  Commentary with Rick Hall, Jimmy Johnson, David Hood, and Spooner Oldham
•  Trailer

The additional footage contains even more beautiful imagery, especially the extra going into a very emotional recording session with Aretha Franklin. Candi Staton and Donnie Fritts tell of how they began to work with Rick Hall, and Harvey Thompson demonstrates his saxophone skills. A montage shows the town via a quick glance around, the environment within the recording studios are described, songwriter Spooner Oldham tells of some of his experiences working with famous artists, and The Spooners and Rick reunite after many years.

Art and supplementary materials courtesy ©2014 of Magnolia Pictures. All rights reserved.

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 3.5 stars
  • Very Good

  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 2014-04-10

Review Summary:

Take a trip down the Tennessee River to a tiny town in Alabama that gave birth to some of the greatest songs of all time.

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