Movie review: The hits just keep on coming in 'Muscle Shoals'

For the News-DemocratOctober 30, 2013 

What It's About

Music lovers are familiar with the big-city sounds of Detroit, Memphis, NYC and L.A., but a tiny Alabama town on the banks of the Tennessee River has created a rich musical legacy as well -- "Muscle Shoals."

In a compelling documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Rick Hall, founder of the hits-making FAME Studios, and varied singers explain just what the Muscle Shoals sound is, and why it has attracted superstar recording artists in rock, R&B, and country.

What Works

The clips and anecdotes keep the movie entertaining, and the hits just keep on coming. To learn that "I'll Take You There" by the Staple Singles, Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman," and Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" were created there is interesting, as well as stories about The Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

To find out how influential it was during the '60s and '70s is a fascinating walk down memory lane, and the music, of course, stands out.

This is the kind of documentary that makes you add more songs to your iTunes library, and they become more special because of their beginnings on the muddy banks of a Southern state.

3 stars out of 4

Director: Greg "Freddy" Camalier

Starring: Rick Hall, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Bono, Clarence Carter, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Paul Simon, Steve Winwood

Length: 1:51

Rated: PG for thematic elements, language, smoking and brief partial nudity

Where: Now playing at the Landmark Tivoli Theater in St. Louis

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