Clark Sisters movie soundtrack highlights talent of cast, genius of Donald Lawrence

Various Artists
The First Ladies of Gospel: The Clark Sisters Biopic
Releve Entertainment
Available on Amazon
By Libra Boyd
Clark Sisters fans’ prayers were answered when The First Ladies of Gospel: The Clark Sisters Biopic Soundtrack dropped Friday, just a day ahead of Lifetime’s movie premiere of The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel.  According to Donald Lawrence, producer extraordinaire and the movie’s music director, the decision to release the accompanying soundtrack was made only the week prior.
On film, Angela Birchett, Raven Goodwin, Christina Bell, Sheléa Frazier, and Kierra Sheard captivate viewers with their portrayals of Jacky, Denise, Twinkie, Dorinda, and Karen, respectively.  On the soundtrack, they amaze with their abilities to recreate the nuances of the sisters’ phrasing, tone, riffs, trills, growls, close harmonies, and the “one voice” (unison singing) that matriarch Dr. Mattie Moss Clark (magnificently portrayed in the movie by Aunjanue Ellis) helped her girls to perfect.  “I Can Do All Things Thru Christ That Strengthens Me,” “Name It Claim It,” and “Nothing to Lose” showcase the real-life vocal talent of the cast, thanks to Lawrence who made sure no element of “The Clark Sound” was overlooked.  Individually, the ladies’ lead vocals are impeccable, resulting in “Name It Claim It” and “What He’s Done for Me” sounding uncannily like the vintage recordings and “You Brought the Sunshine” sounding as if Twinkie herself stepped behind the mic to remake the group’s massive hit.
A fan and student of The Clark Sisters, Lawrence was meticulous about recreating “The Clark Sound” since the movie’s actors would be doing their own singing.  His thoughtful approach even included recapturing the distinctive character of Twinkie’s organ style and sound, which was a dominant musical component of The Clark Sisters’ recordings, especially throughout the 70s and 80s.  Lawrence was particularly intent on recreating the organ’s robust, big room feel for “What He’s Done for Me.” To do this, he and organist Andre Morris tracked the organ at a large church in Memphis with three Leslie speakers.
The First Ladies of Gospel: The Clark Sisters Biopic Soundtrack features thirteen tracks, six of which are spoken-word segments from the movie.  The final spoken-word track is Sheléa Frazier’s spot-on reenactment of Dorinda Clark Cole’s memorable sermonette from the 1982 motion picture Gospel.  
In all honesty, the entire project feels like a tease, running at just 27 minutes.  Nevertheless, both emerging and longstanding Clark Sisters fans will appreciate that The First Ladies of Gospel: The Clark Sisters Biopic Soundtrack is a superb salute to the highest-selling female gospel group in history whose story debuted as the highest-rated original movie of the year on all of television.
“What He’s Done for Me” – “You Brought the Sunshine”
Fever Meter
SWELTERIN’ (5 of 5 Stars)

Jay-Z samples the Clark Sisters; Sisters react (video)

Yep, those are the Clark Sisters you hear on Jay-Z’s new CD, 4:44.  The rap mogul’s latest project features a sample of the Clarks’ “Ha Ya” on his track, “Family Feud.”

“Ha Ya (Eternal Life)” was written by Twinkie Clark and first recorded by her and her sisters almost 40 years ago.  Jay-Z is just one of several secular artists who has covered or sampled the music of the Clark Sisters over the years.  Others have included Xscape, Kelly Price, Aaliyah, and Mary J. Blige.

You think the Clarks are excited? 

A post shared by Karen Clark Sheard (@karenclarksheard) on

GMF editor spotlights the Clark Sisters in Sister 2 Sister magazine

GMF founder and editor Libra Boyd is a contributing writer to the November 2011 installment of Sister 2 Sister magazine.  The issue features gospel’s dynamic Clark Sisters and the continuing legacy begun by their matriarch, phenomenal musician, writer, and choir director Dr. Mattie Moss Clark.
Sister 2 Sister is a black entertainment and lifestyle magazine covering today’s hottest stars, in addition to tips on home, health, beauty and self improvement.
A preview of the November issue is currently online at:

"Spiritual" – Donald Lawrence & Company

Donald Lawrence & Company
From the upcoming CD, Your Righteous Mind (Available Aug 9, 2011)
Available on iTunes

Donald Lawrence’s songs are often lifted right from the Scriptures, reminding you that the Bible is as timely as it is timeless.  Such is the matter of “Spiritual” from his forthcoming Your Righteous Mind album.

Blanche McAllister-Dykes (whom you know from Lawrence’s Tri-City Singers) delivers this number’s rich lead vocal atop a soul-infused music and choir arrangement, before Lawrence shouts out the band in the brassy musical interlude.  Die-hard Clark Sisters fans will recognize that the song’s climactic vamp makes its ascent sampling the sisters’ early 1980’s tune, “Walking in the Spirit.”

“Spiritual” is the second single from Your Righteous Mind.  The first single, which is the album’s title song and features Dorinda Clark-Cole, has been making waves since its radio debut.

Lawrence recently announced that the full-length project will drop August 9th.

“Back To You” – Dorinda Clark-Cole

“Back To You”
Dorinda Clark-Cole
From the upcoming CD to be released late summer 2011

This is not your mama’s Dorinda Clark-Cole.

You–and your mama–have come to know her as the jazzy, churchy one.  Her new single “Back To You” is fresh and her riffs are indeed jazzy; but this track is definitely not churchy.  Nevertheless, such a departure from the Clark-Cole blueprint demonstrates what fans have known all along: this sister can sing anything, and rest assured it will be packed with punch, passion, and power.

Vocally, the legendary Clark sister skillfully sprinkles in some R&B flavor while remaining true to her signature stylings.  It’s obvious that “Back To You” is intentionally urban and deliberately Dorinda.

Generations of Clark-Cole fans should truly expect the forthcoming full-length project to have a little something on it for everybody–and their mama.

Twinkie Clark’s new CD available everywhere today

How many of us have been waiting for this?  Twinkie Clark’s With Humility CD drops today.  Her nephew, Larry Clark (Denise’s son), handles the production work for this project and is also featured on the CD’s single, “Awesome God.”

This musical effort is sure to delight Twinkie’s fans.  Of course, the COGIC evangelist takes to the organ and reminds us why she is hailed as “Queen of the Hammond B3.”  We can also expect the presence of the Clark family, as usual; only this time it is the Clark Brothers who are featured with their auntie.  For a special treat, Twinkie is dueting with her mom, the late Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, on what is certain to be a highlight of the album.