Dorinda Clark-Cole shatters the five year recording silence from gifted sisters, with a stunning, self-titled solo effort on Gospo Centric Records.
Few will argue that Clark-Cole has one of the most distinctive and creative voices in Gospel. With her high register rasp, the full force of her glorious pipes is unleased on this, her solo debut.
She's pushed to its limit by the production tandem of PAJAM on the studio side and the much respected Asaph Ward on the live cuts.
Clark-Cole shows that God has also poured out the gift of songwriter on her, as she puts pen to several songs on the project, beginning with “If It Had Not Been For the Lord”.
Electrifying bandwork with a hint of Latin influence woven with spicy brass propels the piece as Clark Cole spins a furious scat-driven vocal.
The furious intensity of “I’m Coming Out” is musical testimony to the passion of the message: "got the praise on my lips and Word in my heart, I don’t have to worry because I’m coming out of this..." Both traditional and contemporary elements are fused together in this choir song, with Clark-Cole jazzing it up vocally on top.
Producer Asaph Ward always ensures that the mix of the live sounds of The Michael Fletcher Chorale (who provided vocal support for the Detroit-recorded segment of the project) are expertly blended with the resonant vocal overdubs from the Voices of Judah of Greater Bethany and others.
It’s mighty hard to just sit back and try to take in all of Clark-Cole’s vocals simply because of the richness of style and depth of expression that she offers. Really, you have to stand up for this.
Michael Mindingall co-writes with Clark Cole on ‘You Can’t Take My Joy”, and song with that classic Detroit choir feel to it, with organ fills and resonant mass choir roaring responsively to Clark Cole’s vocal heights.
Then the Clark Sisters reunite on the mid tempo “Show Me The Way”, as Karen, Twinkie and Jackie combine with Dorinda for Asaph Ward’s original composition. It’s a vocals-based prayer asking God to show us how to love, how to pray , how to forgive and the way to His heart”. Needless to say, this snapshot of a reunion is simply outstanding, and will only stoke the fires that burn for a full-fledged reunion of Gospel’s most famous sisters.
J.Moss steps in with guest vocals on the album’s hot single, “No Not One”. Karen Clark Sheard also contributes on this scorcher that PAJAM touches slightly on the urban side.
And that’s just the start of what PAJAM does on this album. The Detroit production trio turns to some serious urban beat wisdom and hip hop grandeur as they immerse Clark-Cole into urban sizzle and surround her with J.Moss studio-stacked vocals.
While there may be some inevitable reservation from quarters used to hearing her in a more traditional setting, she fits very well into the PAJAM factor.
Get dazzled by the J.Moss rap-drops amidst exotic new millennial percussion of “Need Him” and its vivid telling that in this post 9-11, terror-filled era, we need Jesus now more than ever.
Get dazzled again by Moss’ “You Can”, as Clark-Cole sings of Jesus enabling us to all things in Him.
There’s enough on this album to generate a conference worth of analysis, and all infused with ministry aplenty.
Whew!! It’s Dorinda. Finally.
Gospo Centric Records
— reviewed by Stan North—
(with special thanks to Gregory Gay for historical input)
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