by Walter Chaw And so I find myself again reviewing a documentary that's terribly informative but not terribly artistic, Greg Camalier's Muscle Shoals, which does a very fine job of cataloguing all the great musicians who discovered their "sound," their "funk," their swamp, if you will, along the banks of the Tennessee River in a little Alabama town called "Muscle Shoals." Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Jimmy Cliff, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Traffic--and, oh, there's Bono, talking about the struggle of black people, why not. Camalier throws a lot of stuff out there but can't quite find the balance between artsy pretension and straight reportage. Every time he mentions someone calling someone else, in other words, he's somehow dug up a different portrait of someone on a telephone--let it marinate enough, repeat it enough, and suddenly it's unintentionally hilarious. Bono could be connected to the film because either U2 was greatly influenced by the Shoals variety of R&B or because Bono is an expert talking-head or because Bono is an insufferable boor who likes to be on camera. Whatever the case, archival footage--always fun, if not that much funner than a night spent chain-surfing YouTube--splits time with new interviews with dudes like Keith Richards who wax rhapsodic about the magic of the place. It doesn't go pear-shaped, though, until Native Americans are invoked, revealing that the original name of the Tennessee River had something to do with singing.