I was a teenager when I first heard Candi Staton, probably in 72-73. Can’t remember which of her records I heard first, maybe "In The Ghetto", but straight off I was captivated by her voice – both tortured and tender , so soulful, there was hurt and pain there strong enough to feel. Anyway, I was hooked, and quickly acquired many of her singles and I am at the point now where I now have pretty much all of her secular recordings. Most people - in the UK at least - will know her only through her disco hits "Young Hearts Run Free" and "You Got The Love". (Also, it seems, most people in the UK, maddeningly, mis-pronounce her surname as Stat-ton when it is, in fact, Stay-ton). "Young Hearts" was a hit in 76, but by then she already had a raft of US R&B and crossover hits to her name. Candi had started her singing career at age seven with a local gospel group the Four Golden Echoes. Aged ten she joined the Jewel Gospel Trio and continued with them and on the gospel circuit until around 1960. At that point she married and put her singing career on ice to become a wife and mother. Candi had four children but the marriage didn’t work out and so in 1967 returned to singing. Her secular recording career started around 67/68 when she was spotted by Clarence Carter singing in a club in Birmingham, Alabama. Carter took her into his band and then soon after to the Muscle Shoals based Fame recording studio where Rick Hall bought out her contract with a small local label (possibly Unity, where she certainly cut a record "Now You Got The Upper Hand"), and between then and ’74 she recorded a string of great southern soul / country-soul records. Apparently Hall used to get Candi to sing the same song over and over in the studio until she was almost hoarse as he liked the rough, cracked quality it gave her voice. During this period she also married Clarence Carter, but that marriage also didn’t work out.
Between 1969 and 1981, when she went back to her gospel singing roots, Candi had 27 US R&B hits, 14 of which crossed over in to the pop charts. This spell of her career mirrors very well what was going on with soul music (certainly southern soul music) at the time i.e. riding on a crest of a wave until about 1974 when it suddenly hit a brick wall and the seeds of disco started to be sown. In fact for 18 months in 74/75 Candi sat on Warner Brothers roster without any new recording sessions. And while Candi’s vocals certainly bring a defining quality to her later 70s Warner Brothers disco orientated output*, for me it’s those Fame recordings that really hit the spot. (* her 1979 "When You Wake Up Tomorrow" was big in the more discerning of discos, and her vocal on it always makes me cry).
In 2004 Honest Jon’s (Astrelwerks outside of UK) recognised the buried treasure that these Fame recordings represent and issued a 26 track CD which gathers together many of these recordings and also has a great set of liner notes - seek it out! At the time of it’s release, which I wasn’t aware of at the time, I walked into a local music shop – guess you can’t call them record shops anymore – and was stunned and delighted to hear some of Candi’s early recordings playing over the speakers. Took me back 30 years in an instant. And now I come to think of it that probably was the spur for me to restart my vinyl collecting and complete my Candi collection. Which of course has led to what is now approaching a general soul searching ebay addiction, but that’s another story. Honest Jon’s (Damon Albarn, top bloke) obviously liked what they heard because a new CD by Candi, "His Hands", is to be released in late March. By all accounts this is a return to her southern country-soul style, and features 12 recordings done in Nashville in 2005. Eagerly awaited.
So to the two records put up here: Candi’s Fame output was of consistently high quality as demonstrated by the fact that these two tracks are probably lesser known and both B sides.
"For You" dates from Candi’s first recording sessions at Fame. It was the B side to her first Fame hit "I’d Rather Be An Old Man’s Sweetheart" which peaked at number 9 in the US R&B charts in the summer of 69. To the best of my knowledge this track has never appeared on CD.
"The Thanks I Get For Loving You" was written by Candi and first appeared on her hard to find self titled 1972 Fame LP. It was also a B side – to the early 1973 hit "Do It In The Name Of Love". This track can be found on Honest Jon’s 2004 CD HJRCD6 called, simply, "Candi Staton". Enjoy, and if you like what you hear you can’t go wrong by buying the Honest Jon’s collection.
Oh, and by the way - Happy Birthday Candi! Born Canzetta Maria Staton, 13th March 1943*, in Hanceville, Alabama. (* I have also seen 1940 and 1942 quoted)
Candi Staton - For You (gone) Candi Staton - The Thanks I Get For Loving You (gone)
Mostly vinyl, mostly a private pleasure - until now.
Music posted here I have bought and gained much pleasure from listening to down the years (or months, or days!). So in the spirit of an 'all back to mine' it's time to share it.
DISCLAIMER: If you hear something you like I urge you to seek it out and purchase it in your format of choice. Mp3s found here are posted for a limited time and are for illustrative and previewing purposes only. If you are the creator or copyright holder of any material posted and object to it's appearance on this blog then please email me at darcyfeelit (at) blueyonder.co.uk and it will be removed forthwith.