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Candi Staton

Candi Staton

Candi Staton
@ the Love Supreme Jazz Festival
5 July 2015

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Biography

She was once known as the First Lady of Southern Soul for a string of gritty southern fried Top Ten R&B hits “I’m Just A Prisoner,” “Stand By Your Man,” “In The Ghetto,” she cut at the hallowed FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, all during the early ‘70s and by the end of the decade she was hailed as a disco diva for her danceable chansons such as 1976’s #1 R&B smash “Young Hearts Run Free.” Then, for twenty years, Candi Staton exclusively sang gospel music before launching an Americana career with 2006’s critically acclaimed CD “His Hands” (Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy wrote the harrowing title track about domestic abuse). Now, the Alabama native is returning to her Muscle Shoals roots on the 27th album of her six-decade career, “Life Happens.”

Staton was born about ninety minutes from Muscle Shoals in the farming community of Hanceville, AL in the 1940s. Her hard-drinking father, Ursey Staton, worked the farm part of the year and in the coal mines the other half. Her mother, Rosa, kept her six children in church and did whatever she needed to do to keep her household in order. Staton sang her first church solo at the age of four and went pro at twelve when she joined the Jewel Gospel Trio. The group recorded for Nashboro Records and toured with Sam Cooke and Mahalia Jackson in the 1950s. After high school, she left music to get married and start a family. However, her brother had other ideas and dared her to go on stage at Birmingham’s 27/28 Club in 1968 when an impromptu take on Aretha's “Do Right Woman” won her a gig opening for R&B star Clarence Carter.

Carter eventually got her a record deal with Rick Hall’s Fame Records label. Over the next five years, Hall, who had produced Etta James’ “I'd Rather Go Blind” and Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman,” and Staton churned out more than a dozen southern soul smashes such as their Grammy-nominated renditions of “Stand By Your Man” and “In the Ghetto.” Staton was crowned the First Lady of Southern Soul just as she was leaving Fame for Warner Bros. and tossed off her tiara to become a disco princess with smash club hits such as 1976’s million-seller “Young Hearts Run Free,” “Victim,” “Honest I Do,” “Nights on Broadway” and “When You Wake Up Tomorrow.”

By 1983, Staton had beaten an alcohol addiction, joined a church, and left pop music. She was a regular on Christian television programs such as ‘The PTL Club’ and gained her own weekly TV program ‘New Direction’ (later renamed Say Yes) on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) Network. For the next two decades, she recorded gospel music exclusively, including the Top Ten Grammy nominated “Make Me An Instrument” (1983) and “Sing A Song” (1986). Her gospel classics include “Love Lifted Me,” “Mama,” “The First Face I Want to See,” “Sin Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” and the original 1986 R&B styled version of “You Got the Love.” Today, rising stars are still sampling Staton’s back catalogue.

Staton’s evergreen sound has musicians lining up to perform with her. Her 2008 collaboration “Love Sweet Sound” with British duo Groove Armada returned her to the Top Ten US Dance charts for the first time since 1980. Currently, she’s enjoying a huge international hit with various Top DJ remixes (Larse, Frankie Knuckles, Ashley Beedle and David Penn) of her inspirational tune “Hallelujah Anyway” that hit the pop and dance charts in Belgium, England, Germany and South Africa in 2012.

Candi Staton

Candi Staton

Candi Staton

Candi Staton

Candi Staton


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Life Happens The Best Of Evidence

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