The Miltone recordings were purchased in a multi-artist package by Gotham Record Company, which had moved to Philadelphia.
Although as musical director of the Ward franchise, Clara was willing to share the spotlight with her talented co-singers, she and her mother were allegedly reticent about sharing the group’s financial rewards with other members, as well.
According to Willa Ward’s biography of Clara Ward, with the exception of Gertrude and Clara, Willa and other members of the group were grossly underpaid. In addition, their meager earnings were further reduced as Gertrude and Clara provided the group’s housing and charged them for it. Accordingly, stars such as Marion Williams and Frances Steadman not only had to accept second billing and lesser pay for their work, but pay their employers rent out of their earnings.Williams left the group in 1958, when her demand for a raise and reimbursement for hotel expenses was rejected. Their departure marked the end of the glory days for the Ward Singers, who later alienated much of their churchgoing audience by performing in Las Vegas, nightclubs, and other secular venues in the 1960s. Told that, if she recovered, she would never sing or walk again, Gertrude Ward telephoned Mother Dabney, a spiritual healer in Philadelphia, PA, and Clara miraculously was restored to health. Details of Clara’s recovery were reported in the Gospel News Journal, published by Marvin Bunton. Clara later recounted this experience in a church service at the Wayside Chapel in Sydney, Australia.
Though Gertrude was a savvy negotiator, her understanding of the value of music copyrights was limited.


According to Willa Ward, Gertrude was misled into believing that songwriting royalties from Clara’s compositions would be minimal and sold them.
In her book, Willa has stated that the music was, eventually, controlled by of Herman Lubinsky, founder of Savoy Records (who was known for his allegedly unscrupulous exploitation of recording artists), and became owned by Planemar Music Company.Clara Ward was the first gospel singer to sing with a 100-piece symphony orchestra in the 1960s. This album was later reissued on the Capitol’s budget Pickwick label minus one track. It was a very popular war-time tour supported by recorded radio broadcasts of the Ward Singers on U.S. The Ward Singers narrowly missed death when their hotel in Vietnam was bombed and several guests died. However, Clara was never afraid, as because she believed she was bringing joy, consolation, and a religious message to soldiers, many of whom would not return home alive, and they showed their appreciation and enthusiasm for her style of gospel music. When asked during a TV interview what was her favorite concert, Clara responded that these tours in Vietnam during the war were her favorite. These war-time tours were filmed and all the Ward Singers were given special certificates of recognition by the U.S. This movie was released by MGM in 1968 and Clara’s picture appears on lobby cards and other movie advertisements. Other movie appearances include Its Your Thing, starring the Isley Brothers, and Spree, also known as Night Time In Las Vegas.The late 1960s and early 1970s were an extremely busy and successful time for the Clara Ward Singers.


The summer months usually found them at the Golden Horseshoe Club, in Anaheim, California’s Disneyland, or touring colleges across the United States. They were in constant demand on American television programs and appeared on The Mike Douglas Show over a dozen times. They appeared on Oral Roberts’ Country Roads TV special, later released as a soundtrack album. Clara continued to perform at her mother’s church, the Miracle Temple of Faith for All People in Los Angeles, California, as well as at Victory Baptist Church. Sexually abused in childhood by a cousin, and relentlessly driven as prime breadwinner by her mother throughout her life, Clara’s life was one of constant work and little joy.
In her biography of Clara, Willa attests that Gertrude worked to prevent Clara from forming any romantic attachments. Although Clara eloped as a teenager (at age 17 in 1941), her mother forced her to tour and the strain caused the always frail Clara to have a miscarriage. Willa describes Clara as explaining her occasional lesbian encounters as the sexual expression likely to escape her mother’s notice.



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