When an artist such as Elbertina “Twinkie” Clark uses the ultra modern production tool like auto tune – which she employs on her new album With Humility – it’s bound to raise a few eyebrows. After all, Clark is the daughter of legendary choir leader and spiritual leader Mattie Moss Clark and her uncle is Bill Moss of the group The Celestials. Clark herself has long been associated with The Clark Sisters – gospel legends in their own right. Clark’s organ playing earned her the nickname Queen of the Hammond B 3. Of course, Twinkie Clark and her three sisters can be viewed as a bridge between the music of her mother and uncle and work done by her niece, Kierra “Kiki” Sheard and her nephew James ‘J-Moss’ Moss. Both Sheard and Moss excel at fusing the contemporary R&B and hip-hop sound in their uncompromising style of gospel music.
It’s worth remembering that Twinkie Clark and other members of The Clark Sisters (Dorinda Clark-Cole, Jacky Clark and Karen Clark Sheard) proved to be pretty adept crossover artists in their own right. The Clark Sisters released the super soulful “Is My Living in Vain,” in 1980, and the group had a bona fide crossover hit in the mid 1980s with “You Bought the Sunshine.” That tune received radio play on R&B stations and reached number 23 on the dance chart (I remember hearing it in the club back in the day). So it’s clear that Twinkie Clark is someone who has her ears open to the latest sound. You can debate as to whether the cut in which Clark used auto tune – “Did Not Have to Do It” – could have done without that particular flourish. However, that’s as much as matter of personal taste as anything else. At any rate, the track which tells the story of how God stayed with the singer despite her imperfections definitely shows that Clark still knows how to create radio friendly crossover jams that never let the listener forget that her goal is to save souls. Besides, listeners who want to hear numbers featuring choral singing and Clark’s signature organ playing will have plenty to choose from. With Humility includes the appropriately titled “Shout (A Touch of B 3),” where Clark engages in two minutes of rollicking spiritual improvisation. The song “God’s Got a Blessing” is one of those high tempo call and response pieces that will find its way into the playlists of church choirs and praise and worship teams.
Gospel albums are judged by some pretty high standards. First and foremost is whether the songs minister to the listener and effectively spread the gospel. Choir directors, pastors and praise leaders listen to each track to determine how if any of the numbers will be heard from their church’s choir stand. Twinkie Clark will always been on solid ground on the first criteria because her lyrics remain firmly rooted in the bible and often include personal testimonies of God’s power. With Humility more than holds its own when it comes to being choir and praise team ready. Clarke even reaches into her memory to resurrect “For You I Am Praying,” the benediction tune often sung by her late father.
So if you need a song for praise and worship, the choir, the offering or the benediction, Elbertina “Twinkie” Clark can say - with humility – it’s in there. Recommended By Howard Dukes