DeSoto Magazine August 2020

Page 40

on the road again | MUSCLE SHOALS, ALABAMA

, s l a o h S e l c s u M


8:00 – Few things are better than biscuits smothered in chocolate gravy at River Road’s Cafe. Toss in some country ham or tenderloin along with eggs for a delicious wake-up call. 9:00 – Start where it all began at FAME Studios. One bold man, Rick Hall, opened a recording studio across from a cotton field. He recorded local elevator operator, Arthur Alexander singing “You Better Move On,” a hit covered by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. A hospital orderly, Percy Sledge, followed with “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Etta James, and many others recorded here. You can step up to Aretha’s microphone! 10:30 – The only studio started by musicians, dubbed the Swampers in “Sweet Home, Alabama,” is restored and recording again at 3614 Jackson Highway. The Muscle Shoals Sound Studios inhabits a tiny concrete block building where the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Cher, Bob Segar, and Rod Stewart cut hits. 11:30 – When the studio became too cramped, Muscle Shoals Sound moved to larger quarters at Cypress Moon Studios. Here, Bob Dylan, Julian Lennon and Steve Winwood cut albums. Check for concerts held here, right on the river. 12:30 – If you close your eyes, you can imagine sitting at your grandmother’s table at the Garden Gate Café. Fresh, homemade meats and vegetables, along with heavenly desserts, like cobblers and fried pies will take you back to Southern dinners of country steak, butter beans and fried okra. 2:00 – How did such great music come from this tiny town? Some say it’s the singing river. Make the pilgrimage to Tom’s Wall, a memorial to Tom Hendrix’s ancestor who walked back home from the Trail of Tears because Oklahoma streams did not sing to her. Tom built this powerful Native American site himself, stone by stone, more than eight million pounds. 3:30 – TVA Rockpile Trail leads you to the river along a trail packed with wildflowers and song birds. Eagles live in the bluffs and you may see one fishing in the river by the Wilson Dam. 6:00 – Supper at Champy’s Chicken where the music is as hot as the fried menu. Don’t be deceived by this dive; some of the top musicians in the world play here at night. If you ask band members whom they have played with, answers could be Elvis, John Lennon or Bob Dylan. 8:00 – Swamper’s Bar at the Shoals Marriott where you can enjoy cocktails in a mini museum dedicated to the local musicians. Live music nightly features local players who are themselves famed musicians. Enjoy the music! 42 DeSoto

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