This never fails to bring a smile to my face and raise the hairs on the back of my neck! It’s The Clara Ward Singers performing on the Playboy After Dark TV show shot at the Playboy Mansion in 1968. By this time minds were open and everyone was exploring anything they could experience that was new. The Clara Ward Singers were always wild, and I mean just as wild as any rock ‘n’ roll insanity from ANY era. They could stand up to Little Richard or James Brown in their prime. This clip looks like it could have been taken straight out of an early John Waters film! The incredible, over the top style and the mile high wild wig-hats are just beyond.
But then there’s the singing and the deranged dancing of lead vocalist Malvilyn Statham! Her name alone makes your eyes cross.This just makes me as happy as can be.
Here’s what was written by the person that posted this who evidently was fiends with the Singers:
Ezekiel 37: 1-14
My favorite female Gospel group, the Clara Ward Singers, with my friend, Malvilyn Statham on lead, singing Clara Ward’s arrangement of “Dry Bones.” Go’head!! This song refers to what happens in the 7th verse of Ezekiel 37.
In the green dress is Clara Ward (1924-1973), which is why she is not in “uniform” as many of you have pointed out. She and the group caught lots of hell in the 1960’s and 1970’s for their flamboyant style and people are still talking about them, as I have seen in many of the shares. In spite of your views, whether negative or positive, they have paved the way for many folks today.
They stepped out of the box, b/c they were individuals and many of you today should do the same. Be yourself! People like Tye Tribbett are free with their praise. No boundaries! They praise how they feel. Who are we to judge? The Clara Ward Singers not only ministered in churches, but they sang in concert halls, night clubs, festivals, tv shows, and at the Playboy Mansion, which is where this clip was recorded. They were not ashamed to take the Gospel to the people who wouldn’t come to church. I mean, like, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Some folks felt like the group was clowning, but I’d like to think of it as giving “unfamiliar” people a good church experience.
If you want more, there’s tons of it on YouTube and elsewhere on the net. Here’s another, much earlier, favorite: