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Muscle Shoals: A Musical Treat and Tribute from PBS’ Independent Lens

Muscle Shoals; five decades of Rock and Roll Heaven - and still going strong
Muscle Shoals; five decades of Rock and Roll Heaven - and still going strong
Courtesy, PBS.Org

PBS Independent Lens Muscle Shoals


What do Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Rolling Stones all have in common? They are all connected to the “small town with the big sound,” the “musical Mecca” of Alabama: Muscle Shoals. In a new offering airing as part of the PBS’ Independent Lens series, some of the greatest musicians of the last 50 years pay homage to that legendary birthplace of modern music along the “Singing River” – and they pay that homage not just with their words, but with their music.

Muscle Shoals is part of the Independent Lens series and will premiere on most PBS stations at 9 pm Eastern Time, Monday, April 21.

The story of the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio is the story of American music: rock, pop, rhythm and blues and southern rock, and every variation thereof. Begun by Rick Hall, now 82, Muscle Shoals was one of the first places where black and white musicians could work together and break into the main stream of the recording industry. During the height of the Civil Rights era, Hall, the son of a white sharecropper, created a place where music was color-blind; a safe haven where musicians of all races and styles could come together to make sweet music. He is still at it to this day, and for that and more film maker Greg “Freddy” Camalier offers up Muscle Shoals as his tribute to the man and his music.

Many of the legends of modern music lend their voices to this tribute. Gregg Allman, Bono, Percy Sledge, Mick Jagger, Steve Winwood and, of course, Aretha Franklin, are just a few of the Muscle Shoals’ alumni who appear in the film, which is liberally sprinkled with classic songs and tunes from an era that is still going strong.

Although CPTV Connecticut Public Television has not yet scheduled an air time for Muscle Shoals, audiences in Connecticut who have access to other Public Television stations can view the show, which is part of the Independent Lens series, when it premieres on at 9 pm Eastern Time, Monday, April 21. Check local listings for date and time for later or repeat showings.

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Mark G. McLaughlin is a Connecticut-based free lance journalist and game designer with nearly 40 years of experience as a ghost-writer, columnist, historian and game designer. An author whose first published book was Battles of the American Civil War, and whose games include War and Peace, The Napoleonic Wars and the Mr. Lincoln’s War set, Mark continues to be enthralled by stories from the age of Lincoln.
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