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The Motown Anthology

Chris Clark

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Album Review

Along with so many other artists on the Motown imprint, Chris Clark stood in the shadows of music giants, waiting patiently to get her turn in the spotlight under the magic spell of the Motor City music machine. Like many of these artists, Clark had her brief moment in the sun, then languished in near obscurity, save for the die-hard loyalists of the Northern soul scene, who relished every move she made from her Motown years and beyond. Thankfully, the folks over at the U.K. imprint of Motown had the good sense to include her in their recent onslaught of catalog reissues highlighting the minor players of Motown. The two-disc set is all the Chris Clark diehards and casual fans could possibly ever need to include in their collection, but the gems found herein are pleasant surprises nevertheless. The first disc culls tracks off her Soul Sounds and CC Rides Again albums, a bluesy blue-eyed soul (think Dusty Springfield) take on the traditional Motown formula as well as mildly tepid takes on contemporary pop songs. The covers (especially "Got to Get You into My Life" and "In the Ghetto") don't work nearly as well as the original compositions, but Motown would often pad full-length records with them, so they're of little use other than for historical significance. Her take on "Take Me in Your Arms" (originally recorded by Kim Weston) and the amazing "If You Should Walk Away" are two of many highlights that compensate for the duller moments, but it's the second disc of unreleased material and rarities where Clark truly shines. There are several moments that would find the perfect home at a weekender in the Northern country, especially the stomper "Something's Wrong." It's another fine addition to the U.K. Motown series, and for those longing for the majority of her recorded works on compact disc, it's simply essential.

Biography

Born: 1946 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Along with Bobby Darin and Rare Earth, Chris Clark was one of a relative handful of white artists signed to Motown Records; she also went a good deal farther with the company in her creative career than any other white artist (and most artists, period) who ever recorded there. The Los Angeles-born Clark was discovered by Motown California talent representative Hal Davis (who had also pointed Brenda Holloway their way), who arranged an audition for her with Berry Gordy in Detroit. Gordy hated the...
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