What an incredible musical adventure. The new Muscle Shoals documentary tells the almost unbelievable story of a small town with a big sound. You know the magical voices of Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Cliff and Percy Sledge, but did you know that it was a group of southern white boys, The Swampers, who were behind so many of the great musical memories from these legendary performers?
A few years back, Debbie and I were in a 8th row center Nashville Symphony Hall seat to watch The Swampers, along with Booker T. & the MGs, Buddy Holly’s Crickets, and Dwayne Eddy inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame. What a night it was including surprise introductions by Keith (small and twitchy) Richards and Kid (shockingly good) Rock.
Muscle Shoals tells the amazing story of The Swampers, how Rick Hall put the whole incredible show “on the road” from day one, and how Jerry Wexler (Mr. Atlantic Records) helped facilitate The Swampers’ surprise departure from Rick.
The documentary paints Wexler in a better light than I would have in that he’s the guy who played such an enormous part in ruining Stax records and finishing off its co-founder, naive to be sure, Jim Stewart.