Simply stated, Neal Hemphill was a blue-collar worker with a deep passion for music. But peeling away the layers of his history reveals so much more. In a time when other studios focused solely on country, gospel or jingles, the Sound of Birmingham was the only with an open door policy, willing to record any type of music by anybody who happened to stop by.
Some called Neal an innovator – a man in constant search of a sound or "the sound", experimenting heavily with strange microphone placements, homemade echo chambers, and unique instrumentation like vacuum cleaners and 2x4"s. The downbeat on the gold record ‘I've Been Lonely for So Long’ was a 2x4" being hit on a drum stool.
Some simply knew him as a man with a heart and mind as open as the doors of his studio, which he built in the basement of his plumbing shop on Bessemer Super Highway in the working-class suburb of Midfield in the mid-60s.
-from Birmingham Record Collectors.
Folks, that's a perfect example of the healthy kind of obsessive love. Sweet soul sound, will you be my valentine? And this is how that passion, that spirit, and that energy reflects:
Cold Grits - Funky Soul (mp3)
Pat Peterman - I Love The Way You Do Your Thing (mp3)
Own Birmingham Sound: The Soul of Neal Hemphill, Vol. 1.