Saturday, November 12, 2011

Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Just outside Lucy’s door here at Heritage Acres RV Park, there is an open field between us and Highway 72 West. At the far end of this field, we can see a rather nondescript building, or rather the back of a building along with what appears to be some sort of shelter or stage area.

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Looking at this same building from the front, you see the “Alabama Music Hall of Fame”.

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Once inside, you walked into a huge Alabama tribute to their native musical artists. It didn’t matter the genre of the music, be it country, jazz, soul, rock or anything in between. If you were born in Alabama, you were included in this tribute. Everyone from W.C. Handy, the father of the blues, IMGP3436IMGP3429to Taylor Hicks, the 2006 American Idol winner were represented.

The lobby floor had Hollywood-like stars embedded in the tile.

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The walls were adorned with portraits.

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There were plaster and wax figures of some of the more prominent members.

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They even included an old Alabama tour bus.

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And, this “unique” Golden Country Western Car.

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I must say, I found that car rather disturbing :) I think it would take a special kind of person/someone with a lot of guts to drive around in that thing! It puts a whole new meaning to the word “gaudy”!

I think the thing that surprised me the most was the history of the Muscle Shoals Music Recording Industry. Who would have thought that the little town of Muscle Shoals, Alabama would have been a huge recording mecca? Yet it was. It was here that Aretha Franklin got her start. It was known as the Muscle Shoals sound and it drew celebrities from all over the country to record here. Artists like Bob Seger, Paul Simon, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge and even the Rolling Stones came, as well as the Supremes and Otis Redding. There are still active recording studios in Muscle Shoals and although not as booming as in the 60’s and 70’s, the Muscle Shoals sound lives on today.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Hall of Fame. After leaving, we decided to get a bite to eat at a local institution called “The Rattlesnake Saloon”. This is basically a saloon built under a huge rock slab. Very clever design.

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There was indoor and outdoor seating. It was cool and breezy so we chose indoor. There didn’t appear to be anyone sitting outside while we were there, but the band had arrived and they were setting up for the evening. Saloon may be a bit of a misnomer in that no alcohol is served until after 5:00 PM. Alcohol = beer only. The food was a selection of mostly breaded and deep fried things. Rick happily devoured his 1/2 # burger and onion rings :) I tried to pick something a bit healthier and ordered a grilled chicken breast sandwich. My mistake. The chicken was dry, over-cooked and difficult to eat. I guess when in Rome… :)  Next time, I’ll go for the fried something or other :)

Those of you who know me are probably wondering how I could possible go into a place called the Rattlesnake! I freak at a picture of a snake. Well, I found that if you just sit at the table with your eyes averted and don’t look around AT ALL, you can do it just fine :)

All in all, this is a clever concept of a place and I think we might have enjoyed it more if we’d gone later when there were more people, the band was playing and we could have enjoyed a beer with our meal instead of lemonade. It was one of those things on our list and it’s now crossed off. With many other highly rated restaurants in the area, I doubt we’ll return, but never say never :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

8 comments:

  1. Hey Gail... Don't worry about those snakes. Remember, the bears will eat them ;o))

    Keep having fun for us!!!

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  2. Hall of Fame looks like a hoot! I had no idea so many famous folks were from Alabama. Thanks for spreading the word.

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  3. Don't know if you are aware of this, but The Rattlesnake Saloon was voted one of the top 5 restaurants in Alabama for "Alabama's Best Burger" earlier this year. Here's a link splaining it...

    http://bamabeefblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/alabamas-best-burger-top-5-announced.html

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  4. Gee, thanks for splainin' that Mike and Terry! Now I know, for sure, I shouldn't have ordered that chicken thing :( Rick did say it wasn't bad but he thinks his burgers are better :) Guess I'll just have him make me one!

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  5. Here's a story, a true story (another one).....Back in the late 60's, the Rolling Stones were visiting, and recording there in Muscle Shoals. As you know, they liked coming there because there were lots of good studio musicians, and because they could come and go without drawing a lot of attention. And, as you know, Florence is home of University of North Alabama, at that time known as Florence State College. So, anyway, there was a restaurant/hotel in Florence that stayed open all night - Tourway Inn Pancake House. That was the late night place to find food. So, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were dining at Tourway Inn, and usually no one recognized them. But, this particular night, the waitress came toward their table with a big grin. Keith (or Mick) poked Mick (or Keith) and said "she is on to us - she knows who we are". The waitress came up to the table and said "You boys is from the college, ain't ye". Well, you can imagine their surprise! So fun!

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  6. Great story Deborah, I did not know about the Muscle Shoals music. It is always good to learn something first thing in the morning - now the pressure is off for the rest of the day :).

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  7. What a great tour - thanks for posting all this info and pictures. Looks like a terrific place to visit!

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