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Today we got in our little rental car and drove all over Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi!!! Serious! We are literally right on the state line for all three and as we drive Google Maps welcomes us in and out of each state about every 20 minutes!
So originally, we had signed up for the Looper Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville, TN on the Tennessee River. When we got to Grafton we looked at each other and decided to take the pressure off and cancel our reservation. We went to a Looper conference last year in Charleston, learned a lot and didn’t want our time on this portion of the Loop to be all about getting to the Rendezvous.
As it turned out, our location at Grand Harbor put us within a hour and a half drive, so this morning we got in the car and drove to Joe Wheeler to take in a couple of the morning seminars. It was a beautiful drive and who would of thought there was another Stewartville or Stewartsville? We probably would have driven right by but when it came up on the Google Maps we had to find a sign.
The seminars were helpful at Joe Wheeler and we got a couple more Waterway Guides, looked at a few looper boats and were off to Muscles Shoals. What is Muscles Shoals you ask??? It’s a town in Alabama made famous by the Swampers (named from the Lynard Skynard Sweet Home Alabama song) and recording guru Rick Hall. The Swampers are four musicians from Muscles Shoals that had a unique sound and eventually notable groups like the Rolling Stones, The Staple Singers, Wilson Pickett, Bob Segar, Willie Nelson, Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, Aretha Franklin, Cher, The Allman Bros. and the list goes on and on used as back up studio musicians and recording techs for their albums.
A few years ago Tom and I watched a documentary about the Muscle Shoals sound and the impact it had on the music industry. Since that time, we’ve been a bit obsessed with the story and knew if we got close to Muscle Shoals on the Loop that we were going to make it a side trip.
We toured the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and FAME studios as well. Ironically, the tour at FAME was partially given by Rick Hall’s widow, who gave all the background info about Rick and how he got started, who he worked with and their married time together. Their youngest son now runs the business and is currently working with Jason Isabel on his new album. It was all so COOL!
I won't bore you with any more details, but if you like music and would like to watch the Muscle Shoals documentary by Greg "Freddy" Camalier, you can find it on Amazon Prime and a few other apps. Below are ALOT of shots from our time at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and FAME.
It was a fun day experiencing all the great music history in this little town in Alabama.
All for now~
Tom & Sue Slightam
Read along as we circumnavigate the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada on the Great Loop on our boat BELLA, a Cruiser 460 Express.