1920 Webster Street, Muscle Shoals
Wishbone Productions was established in 1972 by songwriter-musician Terry Woodford and former FAME keyboard player Clayton Ivey. In the beginning, Woodford and Ivey used a variety of different studios in the Shoals and elsewhere to record their artists, and released their first full-length album production, Reuben Howell’s self-titled debut, in April 1973. The following year, the pair got their big break when they signed an exclusive production arrangement with Howell’s label, Motown Records.
In 1975, Woodford and Ivey joined other Motown producers and artists in contributing to "symphonic disco-funk studio project" The Magic Disco Machine. Their instrumental "Scratchin'" appeared on the project's debut album, Disc-O-Tech, and was also featured as the B-side to the album's second single, "Control Tower." It has since gone on to become one of the ten most sampled tracks of the hip hop era, and is currently being used on the Netflix series The Get Down.
Wishbone parted ways with Motown and built its own studio on Webster Avenue, across from the Muscle Shoals Airport, in 1976. It was a state-of-the-art facility at the time, boasting the first 24-track recorder in the Shoals area.
Woodford and Ivey further distinguished themselves from local competitors in their treatment of staff songwriters. While other local publishers paid writers "only when a song produced an income," Wishbone supported songwriters during their "developmental stages," ensuring that they "had money to pay for food and rent by placing them on draw as soon as the company signed them to a contract."
Among the successful local songwriters who honed their craft at Wishbone were Mac McAnally and Robert Byrne. Woodford and Ivey themselves co-wrote (with staff songwriter Tommy Brasfield) the Wishbone-recorded hit “Angel in Your Arms,” which was named Billboard magazine's “Song of the Year” in 1977.
The studio closed in the mid-1980s, and Woodford devoted his attention to the production and marketing of Baby Go to Sleep, a series of lullaby recordings used to calm critically ill infants. Bud McGuire bought the studio and reopened it during the 1990s. It is currently owned by Billy Lawson, a former Wishbone songwriter.