Sound your horns, blow your whistles, light the candles – Feel It is four today!
So, a slightly frivolous beginning to this post? But I couldn't resist it, and it is very funny. Now, so to speak, on to the main event.
Why all this noise and pyrotechnics for a liitle old blog birthday? Well, regulars around here will know that I started this little indulgence called Feel It on March 13th for a reason – because today is Candi Staton’s birthday. So it’s a double celebration.
Have The Two Ronnies and Candi Staton ever appeared in the same feature before? Unlikely. They may have been mentioned in the same newspaper entertainment section though as the classic Two Ronnies sketch above dates from 1976, the same year Candi Staton had the big hit - “Young Hearts Run Free”- that made her well known across the world.
“Young Hearts” may have been most people’s introduction to Candi Staton, but by 1976 she was in what could be called her Disco era, which was already the third phase of her career.
Many people, through this must have CD, have now become more familiar with the second phase in her career – the Muscle Shoals, Rick Hall produced, Fame era running from 1968 to 1974. These were the recordings I picked up on around 1972 and the ones that made me a lifelong fan.
For the first phase of her singing career you have to go way back to the Fifties where she was a member of a couple of Gospel groups. The first group she joined were the Four Golden Echoes at around seven years of age. So in fact Candi must be pretty close to celebrating 60 years as a performing singer, in fact she may have already passed that milestone. (That's some milestone!!).
After her mother had moved the family to Cleveland to avoid their, by then, alcoholic father Candi joined another gospel group - The Jewel Gospel Trio. The trio comprised Canzetta (Candi), her elder sister Maggie Staton, and Naomi Harrison. Naomi, I am presuming, was the daughter of their musical director Nettie Mae Harrison. The Jewel Gospel Trio secured a recording contract and had a number of releases on the Nashboro label (as 45s and 78s, I wonder?). They also toured and supported the likes of The Staple Singers, Mahalia Jackson, and a young Aretha Franklin. (This information has been gleaned from the Honest Jon's Candi Staton CD liner notes, and Candi's bio on her own site).
It seems you can find just about everything on YouTube nowadays. Yes, The Jewel Gospel Trio make a number of appearances! Here's something I found. The accompanying YouTube video only seems to serve as a distraction as it would appear to bear no relationship to The Jewel Gospel Trio, so I am just giving you the mp3. In fact take no distractions when listening to this - close your eyes and just listen. I don't think you have to have a faith (I know I don't) to be moved by this. The question is - is it Canzetta taking the lead? I don't know, but I think it just might be.
The Jewel Gospel Trio - Sin Is To Blame (mp3) 1957
And how about some more:
Happy Birthday Canzetta!