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Mike James Kirkland - Got To Do It Right (1973)

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Uploaded on Jan 1, 2012

Review by Nathan Bush: One year after producing Hang on in There, Mike James Kirkland returned with Doin' It Right, another soul/funk treasure that reveals an obscure artist more than capable of matching the work of his more popular contemporaries. Unfortunately, MCA, Kirkland's record label at the time, failed to get behind the releases and they faded from view. While the singer divided the A- and B-sides of Hang on in There between sobering reality themes and a batch of love songs, Doin' It Right focuses exclusively on the pained trials and tribulations of the heart. Once again, Kirkland's voice is set against a series of sophisticated arrangements that, at their best, avoid dipping into overly sentimental schmaltz. There are a few exceptions. The title track, an unfocused "I want you back" plea that unfolds over eight-plus minutes, begins as an unconvincing, soap-opera style drama. On a version of "O Me, O My (I'm a Fool for You Baby)," Kirkland drifts over a bed of guitar and strings for a series of verses that attempt too forcefully to tug at the heartstrings. More impressive is the singer's take on Carole King's "It's Too Late," a song whose sentiments translate easily into a soul setting. Also of note are the Kirkland originals that open and close the set: Songs like "Got to Do It Right," "Love Insurance," and "The Only Change" find the session players falling back on more reliable funk elements for more impressive results

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