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I wouldn’t expect the official blog of American Idol chump Taylor Hicks to champion a collection of killer but obscure soul, yet that’s exactly what happened earlier this month. The Birmingham Sound: the Soul of Neal Hemphill Vol. 1, a superb collection released last year by Chicagoan John Ciba on his Rabbit Factory label, got big ups from Gray Charles, Hicks's webmaster. Responding to the post a few days later, Ciba writes, “There is definitely a connection with Taylor and the things Hemphill was doing down in Midfield in the 60s through the early 80s.” Written like a true spin master. Thanks to Joe Germuska for the tip.