Album: Candi Staton

Candi Staton, Honest Jon's

Unaccountably unobtainable for far too long, Candi Staton's late Sixties work represents some of the finest Southern soul performances ever committed to vinyl - and now, courtesy of Honest Jon's, compact disc. Raised on the cusp of gospel and country, Staton possessed a compelling voice of elegant sensuality and subtle emotional power, which Hall adapted to his own ends, forcing her to do take after take until her vocal cords were ragged and hoarse enough to match his notion of what soul singing should be, an idea derived from his devotion to the gruff tones of Otis Redding and OV Wright. She wasn't convinced, but the results bear Hall out: even her renditions of countrified material are burnished into true soul gold by her delivery. With Roger Hawkins (drums), David Hood (bass), Jimmy Johnson (guitar) and Barry Beckett (keyboards), Candi recorded hits like "The Best Thing You Ever Had" and "I'd Rather Be an Old Man's Sweetheart (Than a Young Man's Fool)" - which warned young ladies that their man "might be out somewhere doing the Camel Walk" - along with classic adultery odysseys like "Another Man's Woman, Another Woman's Man". Her subsequent association with Warners would result in her greatest hit "Young Hearts Run Free", but these earlier recordings are vastly superior in all respects.