Rhonda Clark

Between Friends

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Many great singers never get the break they deserve, while swarms of barely talented ones bask in the glow. But why Rhonda Clark never broke out significantly is especially bewildering. Her smoldering, fiery, and sometimes gentle voice is of the highest caliber in the classic soul tradition. And both the youth-driven, vibrant funk jams and sultry, moody ballads here are pleasing to the ear. Whether it be the snazzy, irrepressible catchiness of "State of Attraction," the contumacious drive of "The Way You Are," or the torn, melancholy title track, Clark is in her element at every moment. Also of special note is a reworked version of "Sugar," a single released by Clark in 1986 on the independent Spectrum 10 label. Original producer Sid Chaney remains on board for the remake, while other production talents on the album include Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Jellybean Johnson, and Chuck Howard. Both this set and Clark's self-titled follow-up have a wide range of vocal and musical dynamics in the modern soul idiom that is quite rare. This one stands a few notches above its successor due to a raw, electric energy between Clark and fellow musicians not quite achieved on the latter.

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