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Alabama Music Hall of Fame's 2016 inductees include Muscle Shoals Horns, Chuck Leavell


TUSCUMBIA, Alabama — Harvey Thompson and three other members of the Muscle Shoals Horns will be inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame during its Feb. 26 induction banquet in Florence, the organization announced recently.

The Horns' inclusion in the 2016 class of inductees "is going to be fantastic," said Thompson, 74. The Horns include fellow Shoals resident Charles Rose, Harrison Calloway and Ronnie Eades, The TimesDaily reported (http://bit.ly/1QywQDU).

Also being inducted are former Grateful Dead member Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay; producer Johnny Sandlin; keyboardist Chuck Leavell; and the Southern rock band Wet Willie.

Godchaux-McKay is a Sheffield native who is best known as a singer with the legendary San Francisco jam-rock band The Grateful Dead. Before that, she was a background singer in Muscle Shoals and Memphis.

Leavell, a Birmingham native, has played keyboards with The Rolling Stones since the early 1980s.

Decatur native Johnny Sandlin is credited with helping shape the sound of Southern music. He was a member of the band Hour Glass with Gregg and Duane Allman, a predecessor of the Allman Brothers Band.

Sandlin has produced and mastered some of the best musicians in the South, including the Allman Brothers, Widespread Panic, Delbert McClinton and Wet Willie, Elvin Bishop, Bonnie Bramlett, Jerry Reed, the Derek Trucks Band and Tim Weisberg. He owns and operates Duct Tape Recording Studio, and remains active as a producer.

Mobile's Wet Willie is known for its 1974 hit "Keep On Smilin'," which reached No. 10 on the Billboard charts. The band combined Southern soul music with good-time blues and rock to create a soulful Southern rock sound that spawned numerous other Top 40 hits.

The Muscle Shoals Horns launched four songs into the Billboard R&B charts, including "Born To Get Down," which reached No. 8. They're best known for providing horns on about 300 albums with artists that included Bob Dylan, James Brown, Paul Simon, B.B. King, Jimmy Buffett, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Elton John, Waylon Jennings, Buddy Guy, Dr. Hook, Robert Palmer, Clarence Carter, Boz Scaggs, the Staple Singers, Bob Seger and others.

The group reunited earlier this year to perform together for the first time in three decades.

"We worked up there for so long, it's good the hall of fame people are recognizing some of the work we've done over the years," Calloway said. "I'm elated to be a part of that scene."

State Tourism Director Lee Sentell said the hall of fame's board of directors tapped into several sources -- including members of the public -- for suggestions on inductees. It was the first time the organization opened up the process to fans around the state.

Information from: TimesDaily, http://www.timesdaily.com/

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