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It's Winning Time
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  • In the '80s, Klique was best known for covering Jackie Wilson songs, even though Wilson covers only accounted for a small fraction of their output. The problem (if you consider it a problem) started in 1983, when the trio's version of "Stop Doggin' Me Around" soared to the top of the R&B singles charts. Then, in 1985, Klique had another hit with a remake of Wilson's "A Woman, A Lover, A Friend." So whenever Klique's name was mentioned, many R&B fans would respond, "Oh yes, the '80s group that does Jackie Wilson covers." The fact that Howard Huntsberry, who was one-third of Klique's original lineup, had a very Wilson-ish voice didn't help. But Klique wasn't an oldies group, and the original Huntsberry/Isaac Suthers/Deborah Hunter lineup had yet to record any Wilson covers when their debut album It's Winning Time came out in 1981. Instead, those who heard this LP admired Klique for sleek dance/funk numbers like "Love's Dance" and the title song or for smooth, romantic soul ballads such as "Better Times," "You Brought My Love to Life," and "Middle of a Slow Dance." As solid as this album is, it wasn't a huge seller. If It's Winning Time had gone multi-platinum -- and if "Stop Doggin' Me Around" hadn't been Klique's first major chartbuster -- perhaps the group could have avoided being stereotyped as the '80s group that did Jackie Wilson covers. At any rate, Klique showed a lot of promise on this impressive, if underexposed, debut. ~ Alex Henderson
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