The last few weeks have been a storm of activity around Soul Sides Central (the fruits of which labor will reveal themselves shortly) but I did have one great podcast in the bag that I finally as able to finish editing.

I’ve been a fan of Mike James Kirkland since at least the mid-90s when his extraordinary solo album, Hang On In There was reissued by Luv N Haight. A masterpiece of socially engaged soul of its era, the LP was simply one of the many remarkable chapters in Kirkland’s career.

An L.A. transplant from Mississippi, Kirkland, along with his brother Robert, formed Mike and the Censations in the mid 1960s, establishing themselves in a burgeoning world of doo-wop influenced soul groups in the Southland. Their complete catalog is now anthologized on the new Don’t Sell Your Soul (which comes with a bonus CD that has both of Kirkland’s solo LPs, Hang On In There and Doin It Right). Kirkland – as Bo Kirkland – along with Ruth Davis, then enjoyed another hit record in the disco era with Bo & Ruth.

Kirkland and I discuss all this – and more – in our hour-long conversation, recorded live in our garage studio.

The Sidebar #21: Mike James Kirkland

Music used in the episode (all included on Don’t Sell Your Soul: The Complete Story Of Mike And The Censations unless otherwise indicated *):

  • Don’t Sell Your Soul
  • *Billy Preston: Soul Meeting
  • *Sam Cooke: Trouble Blues
  • *Lorez Alexandria: I’m Wishin’
  • Victim of Circumstance
  • Victim of Circumstance (Pt. 2)
  • Don’t Mess With me
  • There’s Nothing I Can Do About It
  • You’re Living a Lie
  • A Man Ain’t Nothing But a Man
  • Gonna Try to Get You Back
  • The Prophet
  • Hang On In There
  • What Have We Done
  • Where’s the Soul of Man
  • Blota Blota
  • Baby I Need Your Loving
  • *Bo Kirkland and Ruth Davis: Grandfather Clock
  • *Bo Kirkland and Ruth Davis: Easy Loving
  • *Bo Kirkland and Ruth Davis: You’re Gonna Get Next To Me
  • *Mike James Kirkland: Holy Matrimony (from Back Home)