The solo debut from Jacky Clark-Chisholm

Jacky Clark-Chisholm

The past couple of years has seen the release of the first solo album from Dorinda Clark-Cole, the emergence of Karen Clark-Sheard as a powerful solo vocalist (with three albums already on the market), and the continuing presence of Twinkie Clark's work.

And now, the missing piece of the puzzle —the solo debut of Jacky Clark-Chisholm, is in place. As the last of the four active members of The Clark Sisters to step out alone, Clark-Chisholm has chosen to team up with songwriter and producer Carnell Murrell along with Antun Foster and Doreonne Stramler to deliver Expectancy, the appropriately titled project on Detroit's newest label, Entheos Records.

CD The album, recorded live at Cathedral Center in Detroit, brings in a specially assembled chorale to accompany Clark-Chisholm (which includes several extended members of the Clark Family, including Lorenzo Clark, Angel Chisholm and Aaron Chisholm), with musical director Byron Stanfield heading up the band.

Jacky Clark-Chisholm stays within her strengths, with the result being a very comfortable and listenable recording, with the songs flowing easily from one to the next.

Look for "Oil of God", originally intended as the title cut and written by Murrell, to lock itself into your music player. Lush choir harmonies backdrop the cut, as Clark-Chisholm prays in song for the healing of God.

On "Blessing Me", it's a reunion of The Clark Sisters, as Dorinda, Karen and Twinkie join with Jacky to create another of those unforgettable songs. This one is a sweetly-rendered ballad of praise, accompanied by choir, who echo the individual lines delivered by the individual sisters, as the piece quickly powers into guitar-boosted power.

Labelmate Ron Winans duets with Clark-Chisholm on the hymn standard "I Have Decided". Produced by Stramler, this interpretation is relaxed in style, with both artists wisely letting the lyrics do their thing.

The bass-anchored "We Are Overcomers" has Twinkie Clark trading lines with Jacky, taking the crowd to their feet to join them in lining this groove with emphatic declarations of God's promise. Switching to a reggae-laced beat mid-track, this song is arguably an album high point.

Several songs fit into the praise and worship category. "Holy" is one such. Written by Ernest Lee, it's proof of the power of simplicity. With minimal lyrics, Clark-Chisholm's intensity carries the piece. Murrell drops in judicious ad libs, as the choir repeats the line "holy, holy, holy, we worship You for who you are", over piano and acoustic guitar from James Witcher. Put a star here.

Another in the same vein is "I'm Out", which Clark-Chisholm gently uses to encourage the body of Christ that He will bring you out.

Antun Foster pens both "This Is The Day" and "My Soul Says Yes", two contemporary styled compositions that highlight Clark-Chisholm's ability to find a snug vocal pocket amidst frenetic beats and an urban style.

The project concludes with "Bye By", a tribute to the late matriarch of the Clark Family: Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. Joined by her children Aaron and Angel, and also by Eric Deon, Jacky leads in offering a simple remembrance and thanks.

Definitely an item to add to anyone's Clark collection, Expectancy from Jacky Clark-Chisholm hits the mark.

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Producer: Doreonne Stramler
album release date: February 15, 2005
Entheos Records

— reviewed by Stan North

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