Muscle Shoals (2013)
Main Menu Audio
Alternative Version-Opening sequence
|Year Of Production||2013|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Greg 'Freddy' Camalier|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
There is a little town in Alabama, near the banks of the Tennessee River, out of which some of the best popular music of the last 50 years has come. It is called Muscle Shoals and is the home of two small recording studios, FAME Studios and Muscle Shoal Sound Studios (actually in nearby Sheffield, Alabama). FAME Studios was started in the late 1950s by Rick Hall and two partners. Hall grew up locally in a very poor family and had struggled through life up to that stage, turning him into a very driven perfectionist. After a short time, Hall split with his partners and moved the studio. He then began to record and write hit songs with local artists such as Arthur Alexander. His first major hit was Alexander's You Better Move On. The success of that song allowed Hall to open his permanent studio in 1963, a site he still operates from today. Here he recorded many great artists including Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, mostly with a rhythm section who became known as The Swampers. The Aretha session brought him into conflict with Jerry Wexler of Atlantic records who brought Aretha and Pickett to the studio. This resulted in Wexler deciding not to work with Hall any more. Shortly afterwards, The Swampers broke off on their own and created Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. The studios both continue to record great music up to today. Over the years many great artists have recorded in one or other of these little studios including The Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, Percy Sledge, Boz Scaggs, Elton John, Bob Dylan, The Osmonds, Lynyrd Skynrd, Paul Simon, Traffic, The Allman Brothers, Mac Davis and many more.
This excellent documentary tells the story of Rick Hall, The Swampers (immortalised in the lyrics of Sweet Home Alabama), the two studios, the great music recoded and the dramas and struggles that unfold. It includes interviews with many of the artists above, lots of detail of Rick Hall's life and career, his fallout with The Swampers, their subsequent successes and their eventual reconciliation. Of course, much of the great music is included and some interesting archival footage of recording sessions and more. There is drama, joy, heartbreak and success. There is also impressive and evocative footage of the surrounding landscape plus some interesting details of the local Indians beliefs about the 'river that sings'. One amazing thing about these studios is that they were open to black and white artists and musicians from the start, despite the racism going on around them in the deep south.
All in all, this is a wonderful documentary, essential viewing for all fans of popular music especially soul and southern rock.
The video quality is very good.
The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio or close to it. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The picture was sharp and clear in the modern footage. The archival footage comes up looking good for its age. Shadow detail was very good.
The colour is great especially for the local landscape footage.
There was some grain in the archival footage but no more than could be expected.
There are no subtitles which is a shame.
There is no obvious layer change.
The audio quality is very good, nearly excellent for DVD.
This disc contains an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 plus a commentary track in Dolby Digital 2.0.
Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand but subtitles would have proved helpful on occasion.
The music is plentiful as you would expect in such a film. It sounds great on this soundtrack. Despite this it is a shame that this is not available on Blu-ray.
The surround speakers were really well used for the music but also for birds, water sounds and more creating an immersive atmosphere.
The subwoofer supported the music throughout.
|Surround Channel Use|
A good selection of extras
The menu features music.
Commentaries require preparation and enthusiasm to be worthwhile. Unfortunately this one seems to have involved neither. There are lots of pauses, gaps and tedious moments. He does talk about the locations, some trivia but keeps saying 'love that shot'. Not worth your time. A great documentary but not a great commentary.
I am not sure one and a half minutes qualifies as extended but Spooner talks about his career and love of music.
An interesting interview about her career and experiences recording at Muscle Shoals.
The country songwriter and musician talks about his career and Muscle Shoals.
The one in the final film is much better than this one which focuses on the local Indian beliefs.
Swampers guitarist talks about experiences recording with Aretha. Interesting.
Swampers horn player soloing in a pool hall.
Music with scenes of the area and people involved.
Small featurette of presumably deleted footage from the main feature about the experience of recording at Muscle Shoals.
The four main guys behind the studios get back together and discuss their relationship and careers. Interesting.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This film is available in other regions on Blu-ray and I presume DVD however I cannot find any specific details. Buy local for DVD but a Blu-ray version would probably be worth the investment.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is very good.The extras are plentiful but mixed in quality.
|DVD||SONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|