Today I threw caution to the wind and went to see three music documentaries. First off the rank at the bright and early time of 11am was Muscle Shoals about the recording studios in Alabama and legendary record producer, Rick Hall. The doco traces the beginnings of the 'muscle shoals' sound and how it became one of the biggest aspects of popular music in the 1960s - 80s. Located near the Tennessee River, this town of just over 8000 people saw the birth of the sound that took Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Wilson Picket and Lynard Skynard to the top of the charts. Well worth a watch, especially if you believe music is created by people playing and singing together and records are just that, a record of this human interaction, mistakes and all, that give you that song that raises the hair on the back of your neck. No autotuning here.
I went straight onto the second doco of the day, Finding the Funk. We were lucky enough to see the film just before it has been finished. It is a work in progress, with a few interviews, footage and music to be added. What we saw was good as it lays the groundwork for how funk bridge soul of the 1960s and hip hop of the 80s. It will be interesting to see in its complete form. I for one learnt quite a bit about a music genre I thought was all about two words. James Brown.
The last film of the day is the doco I was trying to see on Day One - Sound City. It is a very very good documentary from Dave Grohl about the recording studio Sound City in Van Nuys in LA. What this doco does that the others don't really get to is have a conversation about technology instead of just saying that digital recording killed the need for a studio. What it all boils down to is that technology comes and goes, but it is the human element of music making that connects us to a good song. I agree with Dave - that is what I am calling him now that I was in the audience while he regaled us for a good 40 minutes answering questions and telling tails after the viewing. Nice man.