Then and now, nothing could be more perfect than the first line of Lynard Skynard's Sweet Home Alabama. The now-famous moment at the beginning of the song when Ronnie Van Zant says, "Turn it up," was not planned. Instead, he was telling his sound engineer to turn up the volume on his headset. The band liked it, kept it in the recording, and the rest is history.
Growing up in the late 70s I was shaped by Southen Rock and influential bands like the Allman Brothers, ZZ Top, Gram Parsons, and of course Lynyrd Skynyrd. Sweet Home Alabama was our anthem in the tiny Texas town where I went to high school. Saturday nights we would turn it up and sing along...
Muscle Shoals has got the Swampas.
Jump ahead thirty-some-odd years and I was still turning it up and singing "Muscle Shoals has got the Swampas." But what was the Swampas? Where was Muscle Shoals? All these years I had been singing these lyrics and I didn't have a clue.
A quick search on Google naturally turned into a time-sucking rabbit hole where I discovered Rick Hall and his Fame Studios where top musicians have flocked for decades, and finally the Swampers.
Ha, the Swampers was not some sickly Southern virus or strain of swamp fever I once thought it was, but the rhythm section responsible for the Muscle Shoals sound - a mix of southern blues, country, rock, and pop.
I loved everything about Muscle Shoals. The feel, the look, and the sound. It was a walk down memory lane. I tucked it all away and promised myself when I had the guts to do it, I would do a collection based on Southern Rock and Muscle Shoals.
The Swampers, photo Magnolia Pictures
Enter, Muscle Shoals the Documentary - 2013's tuneful chronicle of the musical legacy of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. I watched it and couldn't stand it any longer. I had to get it out. I had to do a collection based on the times - my coming of age in a post-Vietnam era where life was carefree and the sound coming through the 8-track tapes were long jams, country, and boogie blues. I had to do a collection based on what was hanging in our closets - musical icons like Cher, Gregg Allman, Gram Parsons and Lynyrd Skynrd influenced not just the music we listened to, but even the clothes we wore. I new Double D Ranch's Spring 2018 collection would be great. It would be groovy. It would be sexy.
Because after all, we were great and groovy - and lord, we were sexy.
Gregg Allman in Robert Warner leather
The Swampers Jacket, copyright Double D Ranch 2018
Gram Parson, photo Robert Altman
Rebel Heart Caftan, copyright Double D Ranch 2018
Backstage Pass Jacket, copyright Double D Ranch 2018
Hotlanta Top, copyright Double D Ranch 2018
Red Cloud Jacket, copyright Double D Ranch 2018
Tall Chief Tank, Copyright Double D Ranch 2018
Gregg Allman, photo Sidney Smith
Santa Clara Velvet Dress, copyright Double D Ranch 2018
Boogie Boot, copyright Double D Ranch 2018
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