Howard Johnson

Doin' It My Way

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With his second album, Doin' It My Way, Howard Johnson did the unexpected; instead of working with Kashif and his associates again, the Florida R&B singer hooked up with the Mic Murphy/David Frank team. When this LP came out in 1983, Kashif was a big name in R&B: His self-titled debut album was doing well, and he was famous for the major hits he wrote and/or produced (including Johnson's Top Five R&B smash "So Fine"). So much of the R&B world assumed that Johnson would be working with Kashif again. But Johnson decided to try something different, and joining forces with Murphy and Frank (collectively known as the System) turned out to be a good thing from a creative standpoint. Not surprisingly, Doin' It My Way is very System-influenced. Murphy and Frank wrote most of the material, and their influence is impossible to miss on high-tech offerings like "Much Too Much," "My Way," and the single "Let's Take Time Out." In 1983, the System was among urban contemporary's most fresh-sounding, distinctive groups; Murphy/Frank projects were easily recognizable, and anyone who appreciates the System would have a hard time not appreciating Doin' It My Way. On this album, Johnson lives up to the promise he showed on 1982's Keepin' Love New. But R&B audiences can be incredibly fickle, and Johnson didn't have the longevity he should have.

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