ESSENTIAL READING: Donnie Fritts interviewed by Eric Gebhardt

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Donnie Fritts

There is a unique blend of southern R&B, soul, and blues that is known the world over... Closely related to the sounds of Stax Records and folks like Rufus Thomas, but with a slightly different blend of spices and it's own distinct flavor... Studios, sessionmen and songwriters from the northwest corner of Alabama put their stamp on records by giants such as Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Cher, Clarence Carter, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and the impenetrable Rolling Stones. This scene, movement and cultural revolution was centered around a small town in which most of the folks were born and raised... Muscle Shoals Alabama.

Muscle Shoals is located on the Tennessee River in a cluster of small towns known as the Quad Cities. There is also Sheffield, where Muscle Shoals Sound is located and the fabled Jackson Highway Studio; Tuscumbia, which is famous as the birthplace of Helen Keller; and, on the north side of river is Florence, the birthplace of W.C. Handy and the home of Sam Phillips. The New Deal put Wilson Dam in the Tennessee River, one of many that comprise the Tennessee Valley Authority. Depending on which Drive-by Trucker's song you listen to, it was either a blessing or a curse. Alcohol sales on Sundays and tap beer were just recently allowed and still only in certain areas. Kids want a nightlife, city councils want a retirement community, but most people .......

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