On a hot July afternoon (July 8, 2006) in Houston, thousands of Clark Sisters fans began lining up in anticipation for their most anticipated musical event of the last fifteen years. The official Clark Sisters reunion and live recording, billed as “One More Time” and produced by Donald Lawrence was imminent; the electric atmosphere was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
With attendees George R. Brown Convention Center numbering somewhere near 10, 000, and luminaries in attendance including Micah Stampley, Kurt Carr, Lucinda Moore, Judith McAllister, Ted and Sheri, Bettye Nelson, Kim Burrell and Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick, the buzz was intense.
Kierra “Kiki” Sheard opened the show with a performance that proved to be filled with challenges, as the sound system and her background tracks were not cooperating, which caused great frustration for the young performer, who commented that “the devil was really trying to keep her quiet tonight.” After some struggle, she performed “You Don’t Know” and was presented with a plaque from her label, EMI Gospel, for entering number one on the charts with her sophomore release, This Is Me.
Soon after super-producer Donald Lawrence made his way to the stage to a thunderous applause and ovation. “I am a fan,” gushed Lawrence. “This is one of the greatest female gospel groups of all time. Kurt Carr said that Walter Hawkins was his influence; The Clark Sisters are mine. Twinkie is one of the most important gospel songwriters and musicians of all time.”
Finally, the moment that the crowd was breathlessly waiting for arrived, as the Clark Sisters hit the stage. Twinkie, Karen, Dorinda and Jacky, in their usual order, appeared in stunning peach ensembles and the standing ovation lasted for several minutes.
They were already singing before the pre-excitement calmed down. Assisted by background vocalists - Pam Taylor (of Pam and Dodi), Blanche McAllister (of The Tri-City Singers) and Latrice Pace (of The Anointed Pace Sisters), the Clark Sisters showed why they are still considered the most dynamic and most untouchable gospel group on the planet.
Beginning with an upbeat number about enjoying the best of your life, they were in top vocal form. Offering layers of harmonies, textures, sounds, chords and cadences not to be found or duplicated anywhere else, they ripped into a set of new tunes for the first half.
Karen wrote “Blessed and Highly Favored”, Twinkie contributed “You Heard My Cry”, Dorinda contributed “Heaven (When I Get There).” Lawrence wrote the beautiful “Instrument of Praise”, which called for a reprise of just the sisters vocally playing off of each other, and then a remake of “World” from the Sincerely album.
The second half of the recording was a Clark Sisters fan’s dream. Lawrence crafted a medley of fan favorites and musical gems not performed since originally recorded some 20 plus years ago. To Lawrence’s credit, his fan status and production prowess allowed him to craft medleys that we’ve only dreamed about: Karen singing “Endow Me/Jesus Is A Love Song”, Dorinda killing “My Reedemer Liveth” before moving onto “I Won’t Let Go”, Jacky singing “God Understands All” with “I’ve Got An Angel” and Twinkie stealing the show with “Pray for the USA.”
For the diehard Clark Sister fans, they pulled out songs such as “Name It, Claim It,” “For the Love of the People,” “Oh, What He’s Done For Me” and “Center of Thy Will.” They even snuck a couple of lines from “I’m Encouraged” in there.
The sisters performed a moving tribute to their mother, the late Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, with three of her many songs: “Lord, Do Something for Me,” “Wonderful, Wonderful” and “Salvation Is Free.” More Clark classics were added, such as “Is My Living In Vain” “So Much He’s Done For Me”, and of course, “You Brought The Sunshine”.
The dream was fulfilled. While nearly every other artist in the industry references and and borrows their vocal techniques, the real deal was right there that day in Houston. The Clark Sisters proved that there is no other group of vocalists that can touch them, and while some question their immediate impact, you only needed to see 10,000 screaming fans become speechless at a harmonic chord or well placed run.
Hopefully, we won’t be waiting forever for this release to arrive on CD and DVD!!
Email This Article To A Friend
with photo contributions from Jeffrey Cross —
All content in GOSPELflava © copyright 1997 - 2006. No
information to be reprinted or re-broadcast from this site without the expressed
written consent of GOSPELflava.com. All rights reserved.