Muscle Shoals: movie review
Following too closely on Dave Grohl’s superior L.A. studio profile, Sound City, this geeked-out tribute to the rural Alabama town that birthed an improbable amount of classic R&B and rock doesn’t have a theory behind its parade of hits. Not that you’ll mind very much: Percy Sledge remembers cutting “When a Man Loves a Woman,” Aretha Franklin credits her soul sessions as a career turning point, and even Mick and Keith sit for the camera, recalling the synergy of “Wild Horses” and “Brown Sugar.”
Elsewhere, we’re served an abundance of dull Tennessee River footage and Bono pontifications. The real undercurrent here is race; unsurprisingly, the players (including a shocking number of funky white boys) got on famously, but outside, churches were burning. The film manages to span from feisty Wilson Pickett to Confederate-flag-flaunting Lynyrd Skynyrd, but if ever a music doc needed insight from the fans who went along for the ride and forgot their troubles, it’s this one.