Cypress Moon Studios

1000 Alabama Ave., Sheffield, AL
256-381-5745
www.cypressmoonproductions.com

Tours available by appointment. Admission is charged.


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.” –Jimmy Johnson

Like Rick Hall before them, the Swampers signed a deal with Capitol Records following the move, and established their own Muscle Shoals Sound imprint through the label. “We started our own publishing company because we knew that was where the real money was,” says David Hood. “We started a stable of writers, and we would play on their demos.” One such demo, for writer George Jackson’s “Old Time Rock and Roll,” even became a hit single for Bob Seger. Rather than following standard music-industry practice, and re-recording the song from scratch, Seger simply added vocals and other overdubs to the Swampers’ raw first take.

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.

Personnel

Owners:
Jimmy Johnson (1978-1985)
David Hood (1978-1985)
• Barry Beckett (1978-1985)
• Roger Hawkins (1978-1985)

Musicians:
• Jimmy Johnson (guitar)
• David Hood (bass)
• Barry Beckett (keyboards)
• Roger Hawkins (drums)

Other Musicians:
Will McFarlane (guitar)
Kelvin Holly (guitar)


Discography

1978:
• Bob Seger, “Old Time Rock and Roll”
• Joe Cocker, Luxury You Can Afford
• Levon Helm, Levon Helm*
• Tony Orlando, Tony Orlando

1979:
• Bob Dylan, Slow Train Coming
• Bob Dylan, “Gotta Serve Somebody”
• George Jones, My Very Special Guests*
• James Brown, The Original Disco Man*
• Dire Straits, Communique*
• Eddie Rabbitt, “Suspicions”
• The Amazing Rhythm Aces, Amazing Rhythm Aces
• Mavis Staples, Oh What a Feeling

1980:
• Bob Dylan, Saved
• Bob Seger, Against the Wind*
• Bob Seger, “Fire Lake”

• Delbert McClinton, The Jealous Kind
• Delbert McClinton, “Givin’ It Up for Your Love”
• Jimmy Buffett, Coconut Telegraph*
• John Prine, Storm Windows
• McGuinn-Hillman, McGuinn-Hillman
The Amazing Rhythm Aces, “What Kind of Love Is This?”

1981:
• Lenny LeBlanc, Breakthrough*

1982:
• B.B. King, Love Me Tender*
• Bob Seger, “Comin’ Home”
• Glenn Frey, No Fun Aloud*
• Glenn Frey, “I Found Somebody”

• Oak Ridge Boys, Bobbie Sue*

1983:
• Bob Seger, The Distance*
• Swamp Dogg, Unmuzzled!*

1984:
• Glenn Frey, The Allnighter*
• Julian Lennon, Valotte*
• Julian Lennon, “Valotte”
• Julian Lennon, “Too Late for Goodbyes”

1994:
• Dan Penn, Do Right Man

1997:
• Lynyrd Skynyrd, Twenty