Sound of Birmingham was originally owned by Neil Hemphill and was located in Midfield, just south of Birmingham. In 1973 the studio was purchased by radio personality Don Mosley, who was using the studio to produce jingles, and in 1976 Don relocated the studio to it’s current location on Fifth Avenue South.
In the 1960’s and early 70’s Hemphill operated the studio, in the basement of his plumbing shop, on an “open door” policy — typically not charging session fees for artists who agreed to let him release their recordings. He recorded early work by many artists who later enjoyed long careers in the music industry and issued releases on any of several labels, including “Sound of Birmingham”. In 1975 Hemphill expanded the studio into an adjacent building, adding a 16-track mixing board from Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland studios. Within a year, however, a heart attack forced him to sell.
Musicians who recorded at Neil Hemphill’s Sound of Birmingham include R & B artist and producer Frederick Knight, songwriter and producer Sam Dees, drummer Ed Massey, bassist Randy Carmichael, singer / songwriter Charles Nettles, guitarist Wayne Perkins and keyboardist / guitarist Ray Reach.
Don Mosley bought the studio’s assets in 1976 and reopened in Birmingham. The new Sound of Birmingham made a name for itself in advertising, but also continued to record music demos and some songs for release under Mosley’s Transmedia Music label.
Currently, Sound of Birmingham offers master and demo music recording, commercial voice-over and sync to picture recording, sound design and production, mastering and duplication, location recording, enhancement and forensic audio, casting, and multimedia production. The facility has three studios, one with a 24-track digital mixing board.
In 2006 Chicago deejay John Ciba compiled an album of tracks recorded by Hemphill entitled The Birmingham Sound.
Over the years Don has engineered or produced records that were released on Atlantic Records, Arista, MGM, Stax Records, Rounder Records, Shelby Singleton labels (Nashville), as well as his own label. He has recorded such internationally known artists as Kenny Rogers, The Temptations, Roy Orbison, Sam Dees, Fredrick Knight, Blind Boys of Alabama, Rubben Studdard, Candi Staton, Lady Smith Black Mambozo (from South Africa), Roscoe Robinson, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Blackwood Brothers, Jake Hess, JoJo Benson, Peggy Scott, Rozetta Johnson, and Dorthy Love Coates, to name a few. Fredrick Knight’s gold record “I’ve Been Lonely For So Long” was recorded at Sound of Birmingham Studios.