Rick Clark Productions

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Crack In The Sky

The roots of this go back to the 80’s when an article in my local Memphis paper posted a piece about three underage African-American kids who were caught dealing hard drugs in rural Eastern Arkansas.  At the time it seemed shocking and it continues to be heart-breaking. I had spent several years, during the 70’s, delivery afternoon newspapers to kids doing their paper routes. My area was Run 4 and 36, which was most of the roughest parts of Memphis north of downtown (including Hurt Village), all of downtown and all of West Memphis, Arkansas.

For lack of a better description, “Crack In The Sky” is a hard urban jazz-folk lament. I use real places in that part of Memphis as kind of living metaphors and tell the story (from the point of view of a taunter) of the death of a dealer named Ivory and speculation, concerning his co-hort named Angel.


By Rick Clark

It was hotter than the Devil

In the depths of July

And the clouds were sweating tears

But the ground was dry

Underneath the sky’s unforgiving glare

Some children found a body

East of Auction Square


Down in Hurt Village

Word had gotten’ round

That Ivory jumped bail

And could not be found

Not long ago he was like a king

Now his body’s stripped of jewelry

And his diamond rings


Someone reckoned Angel was the one to blame

Cause both of them sold tickets to the Freedom Train

Trying to buy a glimpse of Heaven

Through a crack in the sky

Trying to buy a glimpse of Heaven

Through a crack in the sky

It should've been so easy

So how'd it go so wrong

Now he's lying facedown in the asphalt stench

Under the lights of the pawn

And they're picking at his limbs like vultures 

Bickering over what they'll take

In the final static of the fading light, 

He cries "Mother. Mother!"


People hovered like flies

Straining hard to see

When someone cried,

“Please close his eyes for me”

As thunder clapped people turned away

And the shadows grew longer

On Saint Martin’s Way

From Hernando, Mississippi

Down to Crowley’s Ridge

The faithful look for their Angel

By the “Big M” bridge

Trying to buy a glimpse of Heaven

Through a crack in the sky

So where’s your Angel?

Where’s you Angel now, Ivory?

The Players

Rahsaan Barber: Horns

Roland Barber: Horns

Rick Clark: Acoustic Guitar, Vocal

Viktor Krauss: Upright Bass

Doug Lancio: Electric Guitar

Ross Rice: Keys

Jano Rix: Drums, Percussion

"Crack In The Sky written by: Rick Clark - Rick Clark Music (ASCAP)

Produced by: Rick Clark

Engineered by: Mark Rubel, Dwayne Larring

Mixed by: Dwayne Larring and Rick Clark

Mastered by: Alex McCollough at True East Mastering

Recorded at Blackbird Studio, Berry Hill, TN