Movie Review: 'Muscle Shoals' -- 3.5 stars
Documentary by Greg "Freddy" Camalier
Playing at IFC Center
Lynyrd Skynyrd famously sang of the Swampers in Muscle Shoals, Ala., who "pick me up when I'm feeling blue."
If you're not an expert on modern rock 'n' roll, there's a very good chance you've probably spent a lifetime being mystified by what the band was talking about in "Sweet Home Alabama."
"Muscle Shoals," a new documentary from Greg "Freddy" Camalier, has your answer.
It's a rollicking movie that looks at the extraordinary musical heritage of Muscle Shoals, a small town on the Tennessee River that has hosted many of the most famous musical recordings of
the past half-century at FAME Studios and the former Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.
We're talking everything from Wilson Pickett's "Land of 1,000 Dances" to the Rolling Stones' "Sticky Fingers" album, from Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" to Aretha Franklin's "Respect."
The Swampers are the iconic rhythm section who could mold themselves to whatever sound the artist required.
The movie tells the Muscle Shoals story. It's mostly centered on FAME founder Rick Hall, while featuring interviews with The Swampers, Mick Jagger, Franklin and other luminaries.
But it's really about music at its most primal and mystical essence, exploring the way the soul of a place -- the song of a river, the noises of the forest, the mud of the earth -- seeps into and informs the sounds that come out of it.