Mike James KirklandVer en iTunes
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Originally from Yazoo City, Mississippi, Mike James Kirkland grew up singing doo wop and gospel. Eventually settling in California, Kirkland and his brother started a record label, Bryan Records, to release the love songs and socially conscious soul music that Kirkland had been writing. The two albums they released — Hang On in There in 1972 and its follow-up, Doin' It Right, both echoed the style and sentiments of other artists determined to comment on social issues relevant to the African-American community: soul heavies like Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, and Stevie Wonder. The reputation of both albums slowly spread over the ensuing years, finally resulting in reissues in the '90s by archival label Luv N Haight, including the 2011 two-disc set Don’t Sell Your Soul, which combined both of Kirkland's MCA albums with rare early tracks from his first band, Mike & the Censations, comprising a kind of collected works.