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It's Not Over

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Album Review

Karen Clark-Sheard was the second gospel powerhouse who found herself without a label home after the implosion of Elektra Records in the mid-2000s (the first one was Yolanda Adams). The singer's free agency ignited a bidding war of sorts in the gospel market; she had, after all, the most prominent solo career of all the Clark Sisters. As if coming full circle, the songstress finally settled with Word Records, the same record label she and her siblings left in the early '90s for greener pastures, just as the group's star was diminishing following Twinkie Clark's decision to launch a ministry of her own. Admittedly, the new Word was no longer experienced in contemporary gospel, but it still had all the intentions of making It's Not Over, Clark-Sheard's fourth solo recording, a smash success in the genre. Recorded at the singer's home church and handled by producers-of-the-moment Israel Houghton and Aaron Lindsey, It's Not Over, on paper at least, had all the makings of a blockbuster. More often than not, it actually sounds like one, especially when it appears as if Clark-Sheard were suddenly fronting Israel & New Breed: the Latinized "Authority" has the supergroup's fingerprints all over it, as does rousing opener "Rejoice and Be Glad," a knockout call to worship like only the Houghton/Lindsey tandem can write. The concert can be motivating, exciting even, yet at the same time so grand and ambitious that, in due time, the cracks begin to show, and the album's colossal arrangements, vocalizations, layers, movements, and whatever else gets piled on top make it sag under its own weight. Even as Clark-Sheard pays homage to her family heritage during a half-reverent, half-churchified medley of worship oldies ("The Lord's Prayer," "Oh the Glory of His Presence"), things are overdone to the point of tiresomeness. Interestingly, the only time the grandiosity works is during the fiery, COGIC (Church of God in Christ)-styled floor stomper "Hallelujah," a handclapper so strong it could grab even the staunchest non-charismatic by the lapels.


Born: 15 November 1960

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As a member of the Clark Sisters, Karen Clark-Sheard was part of one of the most popular contempoary gospel groups of the '80s and '90s. She began singing with the group at the age of seven and she stayed with them for years, until she started a solo career in 1997. She was inspired to strike out on her own by producer/songwriter Stanley Brown. He had heard her sing "Don't Give Up" on the Island Inspirational All-Stars with Kirk Franklin, Donald Lawrence and Hezekiah Walker and suggested she work...
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It's Not Over, Karen Clark Sheard
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