Candi Staton - Evidence: The Complete Fame Records Masters

Published Wednesday 8th June 2011
Candi Staton - Evidence: The Complete Fame Records Masters
Candi Staton - Evidence: The Complete Fame Records Masters

RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 115502-18186

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

Long before Candi was a disco diva with "Young Hearts Run Free", long before the lady released a string of gospel albums on her Baraka record label and long before dance producers sampled Candi to make the club music classic "You Got The Love", Ms Staton was a purveyor of many of the finest tracks ever recorded in the field of southern soul music. Now this magnificent compilation not only brings together the three albums and 12 singles - 36 tracks in total - released on the legendry Muscle Shoals-based label Fame, it also features a further 12 tracks languishing in the vaults which are only now seeing the light of day. Anyone who is already a fan of soul music emanating from the southern states will know many of the classics here. From her first R&B hit of 1969 "I'd Rather Be An Old Man's Sweetheart (Than A Young Man's Fool)" to her final Fame single "Love Chain" b/w "I'm Gonna Hold On (To What I Got This Time)" this is the perfect marriage of smouldering, hoarsely soulful vocals, gutsy accompaniments from the renowned Muscle Shoals house band and "hurt woman" songs (often penned by George Jackson) which perfectly balanced the declamatory fire of black church music to the pained melodrama of country music. Occasionally of course, the one-time gospel singer's move into secular music raises an eyebrow or two. One cannot imagine the church elders being too blessed by the depiction of an adulterous relationship "Mr And Mrs Untrue" with its telling first lines, "Put your shades on Johnny/The hotel's kind of crowded tonight" but few can dispute the poignancy of Candi's rendition. There are some gems in the previously unreleased tracks here as well. "We Had It All", previously recorded by Waylon Jennings, has a bare arrangement which, as stated in the superlative sleeve notes, suits this tale of puzzled regret. Soul music doesn't get any more convincing than this.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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