Open letter to Rodney Hall (of FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Music Foundation).
[Post Note : GREAT NEWS Rodney confirms in his response to this letter on the MSSS Facebook page – copied and inserted as a comment below – that the new MSM Foundation really does seem to have the blessing of all existing parties, and any previous differences that led to the split are healed amongst the current generation. MSM Foundation has my support.]
It is a healthy step to get MSSS and FAME under one umbrella foundation if it heals any apparent split or confusion between two competing sources for “Muscle Shoals Sound” in the present-day “music heritage” market. However, there are a couple of important points.
Given both the efforts and the considerable success in recent years of Noel Webster in getting 3614 Jackson Highway studio back on the map heritage-wise and musically, it’s important despite his (financial?) wish / need to sell, that Noel’s relationship with the new foundation is understood?
And, given the significance of “The Swampers” to the Muscle Shoals brand, it’s also very important to set straight the original 1969 split between The Swampers and FAME – which led to them actually creating 3614 Jackson Highway separate from FAME and Rick Hall. The split between the locations is of course part of the current heritage within the new foundation. But, publicly the differences were / are a matter of myth – musical / personal / business / money – but split they did, so The Swampers or their living representatives probably also need to shake on the deal?
[Having met Noel when we were living in that part of Alabam in 2006/7/8, I created an MSSS / FAME summary of what could be found publicly at that time. Since updated : Latest links are MSSS FaceBook page and MSMF Facebook page, still distinct but clearly collaborating since the foundation acquired the 3614 Jackson Highway studio from Noel. See AL.Com news story.]