After the acclaim that greeted last year's compilation of Candi Staton's great 1970s Southern soul recordings, the singer was persuaded to record new material in similar country-soul style. Staton had turned to the church in the 1980s while in the depths of alcoholism, and needed convincing to return to the secular music which made her name. Even so, she steers clear of " cheatin' songs", having had bitter first-hand experience of the damage adultery does. Instead, the protagonists of songs like "When Hearts Grow Cold" and "In Name Only" are resolved to stay in stale marriages, whatever the price: "When hearts grow cold, we still live together, but we live alone".
Her delivery throughout is beautifully measured, avoiding overwrought histrionics and empty R&B diva showboating in favour of restrained regret, while the arrangements of Lambchop pianist/ producer Mark Nevers brilliantly marshall the organ, horns and guitar licks along with new touches like the pedal steel on "When Will I?". Best of all is the title-track, written for her by Will (Bonnie "Prince" Billy) Oldham, a symphonic-soul epic which moves from the brutality of a partner's abusive hands to the redemptive embrace of God's.
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