Candi Staton – 1972 – Candi Staton
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As a soul legend, Candi Staton hardly needs an introduction by me. However I am heartened by the fact that her elusive FAME recordings are now so freely available and her earthy Southern roots have finally become recognised as essential part of her career. If you are not familiar with the more dynamic side of Candi Staton, grab a sturdy chair and give this, her third and final FAME recording, a listen. And grab her debut right here in the FMS back catalogue. Prepare to have your soul devastated.
This is a @320 vinyl rip of the original FAME LP (supplied by Raphy) including covers.
A1 Do It In The Name Of Love 3:00
A2 Darling You’re All That I Need 3:23
A3 Blackmail 2:58
A4 In The Ghetto 2:52
A5 Wanted : Lover 2:43
B1 The Best Thing You Ever Had 2:25
B2 Lovin’ You Lovin’ Me 3:00
B3 I’ll Drop Everything And Come Running 2:48
B4 You Don’t Love Me No More 2:24
B5 The Thanks For Loving You 2:49
Review by Trakbuv
Canzetta Staton’sroots seed from the fertile farmland of Hanceville, Alabama circa 1943 where her extraordinary vocals were recognised as early as five years old in the church choir, later hooking up with her older sister, Maggie as part of the Four Golden Echoes. Due to her alcoholic gambling father, her mother decided to take control and move herself and 5 children to Cleveland, where her sixth child, and oldest son was already living. Candi and her sister continued to astound local church goers and were asked by a prestigious churchwoman, Bishop Jewel, to be part of a trio. As the Jewel Gospel Trio, Candi, Maggie and Naomi Harrison toured as far away as The Philippines and recorded several singles for Nashboro Records between ‘55 and ‘58. These included the righteous testifying of ‘Jesus is listening’, ‘Too late’ (with Candi belting out the lead on both) and the terrific, cutesy ‘Many angels in the band’. At seventeen, she left the band under a cloud of being taken advantage of to pursue marriage to Lou Rawls (then with the Pilgrim Travellers) that never materialised.
Later, she fell pregnant to a local minister in Alabama whereupon marriage was obligatory. However, his jealousy meant that her career in music and the road was on hold as she settled down to motherhood for the next seven years with four children and, by all accounts, an abusive relationship. She did a couple of recordings during this period, one on Minaret (a duet with Billy Walker) and another on Unity entitled ‘Now you’ve got the upper hand’, a strangely subdued Candi on a Motownesque number. In 1968, her brother dared her to accompany him to an amateur contest in Birmingham, at the 27-28 Club, where she was prompted to take the stage. She did a rendition of Aretha’s ‘Do Right Woman’ that opened the door to a regular spot every week. One night, Clarence Carter strolled in the joint and knew a good thing when he heard it. Initially she turned down his offer of touring with his band due to domestic commitments. Soon thereafter, her husband became violent over a fictitious affair she was having, and enough was enough.
The opportunity to join Clarence proved to be a major turning point. Not only did they marry, but he provided the contact to introduce her to Rick Hall in Muscle Shoals, the then blossoming home for Southern Soul. His label FAME Records had had some critical and commercial success, and as a recording studio, the Muscle Shoals Sound housed some of the best songwriters and musicians around. And Rick’s reaction to first hearing Candi soar ? “It was a blues voice, a gospel voice, and a pop voice. I just rushed her in the studio. Real quick”. They cut four sides that same night and the fruits of those recordings can be heard on her debut LP ‘I’m Just a Prisoner’. Her debut single, ‘I’d Rather Be An Old Man’s Sweetheart’ made #9 R&B and Top 50 Pop – the first of 12 consecutive hits for the label, 16 in total !! Her first two albums were distributed by Capitol Records (her second being ‘Stand By Your Man’), but for the third eponymous LP, they switched to United Artists.
It was pretty much business as usual – why spoil a winning formula. But I think there is a sophistication here that replaces some of the more raw elements of the first two sets. More importantly, vocally she is still on top form – with those notorious breaking vocals that Rick Hall forced out of Candi by making her sing over and over to accentuate the rasp – that’s tortured soul for ya !! We sound off with the utterly scrumptious “Do it in the name of love”, an enthralling, sexy Candi pleading ‘Don’t you know we go together’ before getting down for the chorus. She reminds me a lot of Mavis Staples on this – and that’s meant as a compliment. Fantastic. The beautifully arranged “Darling you’re all that I need” is another beauty, an urgent ballad with some tender vocal support.“Blackmail” ups the tempo with a well-constructed tuneful number, before the caressing sound of a lonely harmonica unveils “In the ghetto”. An inspired choice to follow up the earlier success of ‘Stand by your man’ and FAME’s strong links with Country Music. I’ve always liked the original version, but this takes it home where it belongs. Absolutely astounding, and no wonder Elvis sent her a letter expressing his love of her update.
“Best thing you ever had” gets down and brassy and the perfect meat for Candi to chew up in style. The more restrained and melodic “Lovin’ you lovin’ me” has Candi caressing the hairs on the back of my neck – I must say I have a soft spot for when she sings in her more natural tones. “I’ll drop everything” is a nod to the Staples ‘Come go with me’ and that ain’t a bad thing. My favourite comes up next, with that Tower Of Power horns-like intro grabbing my lungs on their first flare. “You don’t love me no more” feels like real tears being shed with real memories glistening in their fragile rolling structure. If anyone asks you what soul music means, just play them this and watch their breathing stop dead. We round off in fine fettle with the raspy, rhetorical “Is this the thanks I get” with excellent use of steel guitar.
This is probably my favourite of her FAME recordings, but they are all exceptional visions of trapping heartache, betrayal, love and bitterness down a studio microphone, with Candi easily rivalling all the soul greats. Believe the hype !!
Check out her debut FAME LP here in our back pages.
You should buy a fantastic CD compilation here, with 26 songs that bring together her long unavailable and legendary Muscle Shoals sides recorded for Fame Records.
Candi had a new cd release in 2009. Listen up her amazing performance on “You don’t love me no more” .
“Without disrespecting ‘The Mighty Three’ from Philadelphia Records – whose emblem was three elephants if I recall correctly – this is a post by Nikos, Raphy and Trakbuv . PS. First 10 people to recall the names of the original Mighty Three win a trip to Soul Heaven. Next shuttle leaving 2064.”