Another interesting fact brought out by the film is that many people thought the Swampers were black, due to the funky, R&B laced grooves they were creating; in fact, they were mostly white. But they were playing and recording with many black artists at a time when the civil rights movement was at its height. Hall points out that there were no color lines in the studio, and everyone got along with each other. The Swampers became one of the most in demand backing groups in the business, even attracting the attention of Atlantic Records executive Jerry Wexler, who eventually brought them to LA to play on some sessions there.
That success caused a rift with Hall, and the Swampers eventually broke off and founded their own studio, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. They became just as successful in their own right, and the town found it now had two studios producing memorable music by Paul Simon, The Staple Singers, Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan and many others. The film is filled with excellent performance clips, and that footage, coupled with the intimate behind the scenes stories, really make the movie worth viewing. There’s also some interesting background on Lynyrd Skynyrd, who made some of their first recordings in Muscle Shoals, and famously name checked the Swampers in their song “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Muscle Shoals is about a remarkable town, an amazing group of people and the wonderful music they made. The story of Rick Hall (who passed way earlier this year) the Swampers and the songs that sprang from this celebrated location is essential viewing for rock and roll fans. The film was produced and directed by Greg 'Freddy' Camalier. Along with Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, 20 Feet From Stardom and The Wrecking Crew, this is one of the best recent documentaries about the people “behind the music” I've seen. The movie is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and for online viewing at various sites. Here’s a link to the film’s trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UDe4JrFAIQ.