1000 Alabama Avenue, Sheffield
By 1978, the Swampers had outgrown the modest concrete building at 3614 Jackson Highway. “We stayed in Sheffield,” Jimmy Johnson remembers, “but we ended up moving to the old Naval Reserve building at 1000 Alabama Avenue, on the banks of the Tennessee River.”
“Our old fraternity bands, The Del-Rays and The Mystics, had played there back before we ever became studio musicians. There was already a great vibe in that building.”
Following the move, the Swampers, like Rick Hall before them, signed a deal with Capitol Records, and established their own Muscle Shoals Sound imprint through the label.
During the 1980s, when other local studios began to specialize in country music, the Swampers returned to their R&B roots, cutting albums with Bobby “Blue” Bland, Z.Z. Hill, Little Milton, and other artists signed to the Mississippi-based Malaco Records label. Eventually, in 1985, Malaco (co-owned by Tuscumbia native Tommy Couch) bought the studio and hired the Swampers to run it. Other artists who have recorded here over the years include Bob Dylan, Julian Lennon, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Isaac Hayes, the Oak Ridge Boys, Etta James, and Jimmy Buffett.
Today, the building houses Cypress Moon Studios, a film and music production company. Movies produced by the studio include When I Find the Ocean, recipient of five Dove Awards, and The Story of Bonnie and Clyde. Plans in development include a “Moonwalk” Walk of Fame to honor artists, producers, musicians, publishers, writers, directors and actors who have worked at the studio over the years.