STYLE: Gospel RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 122971-19029 LABEL: Word 080688850920 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2012-01-23 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Cross Rhythms have recently had to make some highly critical observations about the third rate compiling and packaging for the Mighty Clouds Of Joy's 'The Ultimate Collection' and now this album turns up which again is almost an object lesson in how not to treat back catalogue. Detroit's Clark Sisters were, and still are, a creative tour de force who since their formation have produced some of the most exciting and groundbreaking gospel of the last few decades with Karen, Jacky, Dorinda and Twinkie each capable of powerhouse leads and head-turning harmonies and productions that grafted R&B rhythms onto old school church wreckers. But although their Word albums whose tracks source this compilation - 1988's 'Conqueror' (five tracks), 1990's 'Heart & Soul' (five tracks) and 1991's 'Bringing It Back Home' (five tracks) - were all solid enough they were not, of course, the group's "beginnings" of the inappropriate album title. To get the teenage sisters' true beginnings you would need to locate a rare vinyl copy of 1973's 'Jesus Has A Lot To Give'. Gripe number two is that Word have previously compiled 10 of the tracks here on 2009's 'The Definitive Gospel Compilation'. And the third gripe is to start off this compilation with a live version of their biggest hit "You Brought The Sunshine" is bound to confuse some casual browsers into thinking that Word had gone to the trouble of licensing the definitive studio original. They haven't and instead have put out a shoddy compilation which seems to demonstrate that there's nobody currently working at Word/Curb who has a clue about the Clark Sisters and their rich heritage. Seven squares for the music, one for the packaging/track selection, so let's settle for four squares.
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Known for their stellar harmonies and soaring vocals, The Clark Sisters' illustrious career began at Word Records with the release of three no. 1 albums, Bringing It Back Home, Heart & Soul and Conqueror.
This 15-song collection features the biggest hits and top fan favourites from these three recordings. For current fans of this fabulous foursome, this compilation showcases the Beginnings of what is today, an unmatched stellar career!