"Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers;
And they've been known to pick a song or two.
Lord they get me off so much.
They pick me up when I'm feeling blue
Now how about you?"
"Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section was the resident band at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, Alabama. Like the Wrecking Crew in Los Angeles, and the Funk Brother at Motown, they were the backing band on dozens of gold and platinum hits. The four founding members were Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger G Hawkins (drums), David Hood
From the first Motown tour in 1965 to Public Enemy in the mid-80s and today's cutting edge hip hop acts, white British audiences have always been very receptive to the music of black America and 1967's Stax-Volt Revue was no different. I was barely nine months old when Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, Arthur Conley, The Mar-Keys and, of course, Booker T & the MG's got on a bus and ripped it up, cementing their reputation as the cream of the sixties soul crop.
As Georges Bizet, the famous French composer once wrote, "music, what a splendid art. And what a sad profession." Bizet did not live long enough to see his operatic masterpiece ‘Carmen’ become a major success. The statement certainly rings true for Bizet, who died from angina, aged just 36.
Otis Redding Jr was born in 1941 in Dawson, Georgia. When he was three the family moved to Macon where his father was a minister. He grew up in the Tyndall Heights Housing Project young and learned to sing in the church choir. Otis became a member of a gospel group at school and learned to play the drums. His hero was Little Richard (Richard Penniman) and he soon learned to play piano doing impromtu impressions of Little Richard.