Hear the famous Muscle Shoals rhythm section, The Swampers, get unvaulted

(December 23, 2017) The Swampers may not be household names, but if you have ever heard Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll,” Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally” and countless other hits, you know the magic they created. The Swampers was the nickname of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section—Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), David Hood (bass), and Jimmy Johnson (guitar)—one of the most respected and sought after session groups from the late 1960s onward.  Many of the songs they made are instantly recognized after the first three-to-four notes: Big Joe Turner’s “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” the Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself,” Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” and “Still Crazy After All These Years” and Rod Stewart’s “Sailing” and “Tonight’s the Night.” 

(December 23, 2017) The Swampers may not be household names, but if you have ever heard Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll,” Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally” and countless other hits, you know the magic they created. The Swampers was the nickname of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section—Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), David Hood (bass), and Jimmy Johnson (guitar)—one of the most respected and sought after session groups from the late 1960s onward.  Many of the songs they made are instantly recognized after the first three-to-four notes: Big Joe Turner’s “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” the Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself,” Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” and “Still Crazy After All These Years” and Rod Stewart’s “Sailing” and “Tonight’s the Night.” 

Now, Muscle Shoals Sound Records (an imprint of Mississippi label Malaco Records) has uncovered a treasure trove of The Swampers’ lost tracks with the collection Muscle Shoals Has Got The Swampers. The compilation of the pioneering geniuses is set for release on January 19 2018, with comprehensive liner notes by Dick Cooper, Muscle Shoals historian and former curator of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

This collection is “A true buried treasure, relic from another age” praised Patterson Hood, a founding member of the Drive-By Truckers and son of David Hood, “The ‘lost’ instrumental album from the legendary Swampers, features incredible tight playing in a diversity of styles and ranges. At times almost venturing into vintage Prog territory and at others sounding like the soundtrack to the ultimate 70's cop show (I mean that as a compliment).”

Many of the tracks were recorded between 1969 – 1978 at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, at 3614 Jackson Highway. Others were from the 90s and recorded at The Swampers’ second studio at 1000 Alabama Avenue on the Tennessee River. David Hood recalled, “We had so much work that to do that we had to get a bigger studio!” Some of the gems were recorded for an album that was never released. As with all things in Muscle Shoals music history, each song on Swampers has a unique origin. 

The Swampers collaborations include a Who’s Who of rock and roll and rhythm and blues: the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, James, Brown, Steve Winwood, Dire Straits, Levon Helm, Carlos Santana, Gregg Allman, Jimmy Buffett, John Hiatt, Melissa Etheridge, Etta James, John Prine, Johnnie Taylor, and Bobby “Blue” Bland.  Muscle Shoals Has Got The Swampers proves that The Swampers are an integral influence and force in the history of American music.

The release of Muscle Shoals Has Got The Swampers also heralds the 50th anniversary of Mississippi-based Malaco Records.  Malaco’s history began with Tommy Couch’s dream of opening a recording studio with the Shoals musicians who would later become the Swampers.   In the years following, Tommy and the Malaco crew grew the label, which now includes thirteen labels over the blues, soul and gospel genres.  Malaco Records is “Keeping Southern Music Alive,” hopefully for another fifty years.

Check out the cool song, "Sunday Morning R&B" below, and get ready for this terrific album.

The Swampers - "Sunday Morning R&B"

 
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