We’re returning to an artist today who it’s fair to say has gained a reputation as something of a legend – the one and only Candi Staton. Staton’s early years started out (you guessed it) as a child prodigy as part of a gospel trio with her sister Maggie in the early 1950s. The group toured for the best part of 10 years and cut some singles during this time for labels like Apollo & Savoy. Fast forward 5 years and Staton was to meet up with Clarence Carter (whom she later married) and it was to be his introduction to Rick Hall – of the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals – that was to shape Staton’s future career as a solo artist.
The song I bring you today is Staton’s first solo record recorded on the Fame label in 1969. This was to be the springboard for a host of r&b hits on the label which gained her the title of “The First Lady Of Southern Soul” due to the success of singles like “Stand By Your Man” and “In The Ghetto” – both smash hits for Tammy Wynette & Elvis Presley respectively. However the move away from soul & gospel to the now dominating disco sound was to provide her with her biggest hit to date – the massive selling “Young Hearts Run Free”. From a personal point of view, I’ve never been a fan of disco music as it always reminded me of being dragged to relatives’ weddings/christenings etc as a young boy and it’s always been something I’ve seen as “cheesy” and even now the same tunes are played at these types of events.
Whilst “Young Hearts” was hugely successful, she is perhaps best known throughout Europe for a single that was released 10 years later – “You Got The Love”. This became a huge dancefloor hit and was revived a few years back by the wailing Florence & The Machine for a chart hit that seemed to remain in the U.K. Top 40 for an eternity. Again, like the disco era stuff it’s not a song I particularly like, however Candi certainly deserves huge respect for continually moving with the times and embracing the new styles of music each decade presented. This week’s selection is back to the old “Sister Funk” style that you know I favour so much. Unfortunately she didn’t perform this when I saw her live at the Mostly Jazz festival in Birmingham a couple of years ago, but she did show that her voice can still cut it at the ripe old age of 73! Respect!!!