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Friday, June 29, 2012

BBC Southern rock doc includes two CL Charlotte voices

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Earlier this spring, the British Broadcasting Corporation began airing what may be the definitive documentary on the golden age of Southern rock. It features extensive interviews with icons ranging from Gregg Allman and Bonnie Bramlett to Mike Mills of R.E.M. and Patterson Hood of the Drive By Truckers. It also includes several music experts on the topic including not one, but two journalists associated with Creative Loafing Charlotte.

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Sweet Home Alabama - The Southern Rock Saga, an hour-long film directed by James Maycock, examines bands such as the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and others that blended blues, country and rock 'n' roll into the down-and-dirty concoction that became known as Southern rock. The British music press has long had a fascination with music from the American South, and Southern rock was extremely popular in the U.K. during the 1970s. The music, born at places like Muscle Shoals Sound and bred on the road, took the world by storm during that transitional time, helped send Jimmy Carter to the white house in 1976 and crashed and burned with the downed plane that killed key members of Lynryd Skynyrd the following year. Behind the music and hard partying was the legacy of race issues held over from the segregated South of the pre-1960s, and this documentary also tackles those issues.

The documentary's details largely come from CL editor Mark Kemp's book Dixie Lullaby: A Story of Music, Race and New Beginnings in a New South. Kemp is a former Rolling Stone editor and MTV editorial executive. He and former CL music editor Kandia Crazy Horse, an award-winning journalist and author of Rip It Up: The Black Experience in Rock N Roll, both appear in the documentary offering comments on how Southern rock changed the social and musical landscape of the 1970s, in the South and beyond.

The documentary, like Dixie Lullaby, begins with the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and then walks the viewer through the social, political and cultural changes that eventually culminated in the birth Southern rock in studios that had been the province of Southern-identified soul singers such as Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin.

Currently, the BBC has no plans to release the documentary in the United States, but you can watch the entire film at this YouTube link:

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