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            This is what Muscle Shoals music looks like

            Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

            A new Alabama Music Hall of Fame exhibit features Dick Cooper's photos from the Muscle Shoals music scene. (Courtesy photo)

            Three years ago, several of Dick Cooper’s photos were licensed for a Bob Dylan boxset.

            Now, Cooper’s photography of Dylan and other music stars who’ve recorded in Muscle Shoals is the subject of a new Alabama Music Hall of Fame exhibit.

            In addition to Dylan, images in the exhibit depict the likes of blues queen Etta James, raspy belter Bob Seger, country-rocker Glenn Frey and legendary Atlantic Records exec Jerry Wexler.

            You’ll see songwriters John Prine and Kris Kristofferson, Swampers keyboardist Barry Beckett, Byrds singer Roger McGuinn and Beatles producer George Martin too.

            From around 1978 to 1984, Cooper worked at Sheffield’s Muscle Shoals Sound Studio as Beckett’s production assistant. With Beckett, he worked on albums by artists including Dylan, English rockers Dire Straits and guitar shaman Carlos Santana.

            " I was extremely fortunate to talk Barry Beckett into hiring me as his assistant," Cooper said in an press release. "Even though I had no training in the field, he recognized that I was willing to learn and brought a number of tangible assets, such as recognizing a potential hit song and photographically capturing the dramatic camaraderie of recording sessions. These photographs are a testament to his foresight of the extra dynamic I brought to the sessions. "

            Dick Cooper

            Dick Cooper's Muscle Shoals music photos are the subject of a new Alabama Music Hall of Fame exhibit. (Courtesy photo)

            Cooper’s photo archive contains roughly 53,000 images. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame exhibit, on display through the end of the year, features 10 of them. Cameras he’s used over the years include a Nikon and Minolta. Some of Cooper’s photos can also be seen in the 2013 documentary film “Muscle Shoals,” which helped renew interest in that North Alabama area’s rich recording legacy.

            In 2017, Swampers bassist/Muscle Shoals Sound cofounder David Hood told me, “It’s good to be able to disappear when you need to during recording,” and even when Cooper was taking photos during sessions, “it didn’t feel like there was a spy in the room.”

            Of songwriting deity Dylan, Cooper said in our 2017 interview, “Bob is eccentric in his own right. But he is one of the nicest people that I’ve ever worked with. I worked on two albums with him and he asked me literally to do two things, one on each album. And rather than do like most people would’ve done in that situation, ‘Hey, come over here I’ve got something for you to do,’ he would get up and come over to me and say, ‘Would you please do this for me?’ I know that’s minor. But it shows his politeness and his overall demeanor throughout things.”

            Cooper has lived several lives. Before getting into the music biz he was a journalist, covering the ’60s Civil Rights movement for Birmingham Post-Herald, and the ’70s Muscle Shoals recording scene for Florence Times-Tri Cities Daily. In the early 2000s he worked with Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers on tour and even got a production credit on one of the band’s signature albums, “Southern Rock Opera.” He’s been a curator at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. And Cooper’s house-parties featuring sets by Shoals musicians classic and contemporary are the stuff of local legends.

            The Alabama Music Hall of Fame is located at 617 Hwy. 72 W. Tuscumbia. The museum is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, and admission is $10. More info at alamhof.org.

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