Muscle Shoals (2013)
Critic Consensus: Essential for soul fans and entertaining for novices, Muscle Shoals offers a compelling, warts-and-all glimpse at one of the most fascinating stories in modern American music.
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Critic Reviews for Muscle Shoals
It's fitting that the first track we hear in this celebratory but emotionally dappled documentary is Wilson Pickett's Land of 1000 Dances. The rich, elemental energy of the recording encapsulates what would become known as the Muscle Shoals sound.
Even with its disappointments, Muscle Shoals can't help but make a hopeful sound.
Hall's backstory, riddled with tragedy, gets the proper attention and respect here. But it's the music that won't let you stop watching.
Camalier makes an excellent job of combining talking-head interviews with music, anecdotes and folklore.
The anecdotes work without the music, but if you like the music... Dang, it's a stairway to heaven.
Audience Reviews for Muscle Shoals
Shortly after streaming this music documentary I also streamed The Wrecking Crew. I have rated this one a full star higher because every part of it is simply a step above that other rock doc. The studio session musicians at the center of this doc produced more essential tracks for more hit records and artists. The storytelling aspect is more interesting with great interview clips and archival materials. FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama was ambitiously, independently managed by Rick Hall. It is thrilling if you only know the big name singers/bands who recorded songs at FAME to get a behind the scenes peek and meet the work horse session musicians who are actually responsible for the sounds we know and love.
There have been a tremendous amount of music documentaries created over the last five years and Muscle Shoals adds to that memorable list. Here deep in Alabama, a unique sound emerges causing all the big names in music to come, record and pay homage. This is also a homage to those individuals who stayed in the community and contributed to that greatness.
Documentary explaining how two studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama became hit factories, supplying us with number one singles from Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, and others. This goes deeper into the music business and its history than the more celebrated 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, and Anthony Arendt's unexpectedly great cinematography makes this tiny hamlet and its environs into a character every bit as intriguing as the rural music moguls.
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