Candi Staton article FORUM: Archive - Ending April 16, 2004: Candi Staton article
Top of pageBottom of page   By Eva ( on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 10:07 am:

Hi again,

Posting a link with one of my all-time favourite singers, the divine Candi Staton:,0,4466990.column?coll=bal-features-columnists

I like her disco stuff as well (and as far as disco goes, she was one of the best), but it's the southern soul "crying in my cognac" (funny, I always thought it was "crying in my beer"!;-)) songs that really get to me. Although it's kinda deplorable from a feminist POV, I almost believe Candi when she tells me that I should "stand by my man", no matter what!;-)


Top of pageBottom of page   By Eva ( on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 10:13 am:

Hi again,

The link doesn't seem to work, so I'll just cut and paste the whole article:

Staton outlived disco and hard living, and she's back
Music Notes: Rashod D. Ollison
Originally published Mar 25, 2004

Rashod D. Ollison

While you were dancing, you probably didn't notice that the woman was in pain.

What's the sense in sharing this one and only life

Endin' up just another lost and lonely wife

You'll count up the years, and they will be filled with tears ...

It was 1976, the Bicentennial summer, and this beat-driven thing called disco was about to explode. One of its early hits, "Young Hearts Run Free" by Candi Staton, featured a brassy, uptown production, busy percussion. And the beat was propulsive, pulling folks to the dance floor. The hit topped the charts that year. Flowing from radios and filling discos, the song, which detailed an abusive marriage, brimmed with sadness. The soul-venting woman on the mike had just about given up. But you didn't feel her pain as you bumped, boogied and hustled across the floor.

Say I'm gonna turn loose a thousand times a day

But how can I turn loose when I just can't break away

Oh, young hearts run free

They'll never be hung up, hung up like my man and me ...

Candi is, hands down, one of the greatest soul vocalists around. I'm not talking about that flat, off-key screaming that made Mary J. Blige so hot. I'm talking about the kind of singing in which the heart and head meet to produce a sound that's knowing, intelligently phrased and raw. You feel the nuances - the sun and the rain.

Seven years before "Young Hearts Run Free" became an international smash, Candi was a star on the Southern soul circuit, laying down such sizzlin', bare-bones cuts as "I'm Just a Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin')," her tough take on Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" and the sassy "I'd Rather Be an Old Man's Sweetheart (Than to Be a Young Man's Fool)." Those sides and 23 others she did for FAME Records between 1969 and 1973 are available again for the first time in more than 20 years. The new compilation, simply called Candi Staton, is a treasure of heartbreak soul that has aged beautifully.

"I had nothing to do with it coming out," says the vocalist, who's calling from her home in Stone Mountain, Ga. "Rick Hall, my old producer, owned the old stuff, and he sold his catalog to Capitol Records, and they have finally put it out. It was put together well, I think."

Vision Records has also released Candi's hard-to-find first four gospel LPs: Make Me an Instrument ('83) and The Anointing ('85) are on one CD; Sing a Song ('86) and Love Lifted Me ('88) are on a separate one. The reissues, especially the Candi Staton set, have sparked new critical attention for the singer-songwriter.

And let me tell ya: It's long overdue. I remember hearing scratchy 45s of Candi's music at my grandma's place. Mama Teacake, may she rest in peace, had an affinity for that greasy, crying-in-my-cognac blues. Back in the day, singers like Ann Peebles, Betty Wright, O.V. Wright and Bobby Bland kept 'em in steady supply. Before Candi left secular for gospel in 1982, the Alabama-born singer had the victim role on lock. (In fact, she scored a hit in '78 called - what else? - "Victim.")

"Oh, I was always begging somebody not to go," Candi says, "I'm stalking the man. I'm waiting by the door. What an image. But back in those days - we're talking about the late '60s, early '70s, women weren't so liberated. We were all begging, ... Whatever you did to me - beat me, drag me across the floor - I'm gon' get up and love you anyway."

Candi and I laugh. The sistas were wailing the masochistic jams then: Millie Jackson had out "Hurt So Good"; Shirley Brown did "Woman to Woman," and Barbara Mason answered that record with "From His Woman to You."

"But if I can just be real," Candi continues, "I don't see much difference today. They just changed the lingo. You see the women answering to 'bitch' in the videos and these rap songs. Dancing around half naked. So, no, things haven't changed, really. Women are still the victims."

The soul-gospel star has long changed her tune. In the '70s, as you kicked up your platforms to "Young Hearts Run Free," Candi was living a private hell. Producer Dave Crawford wrote the signature song based on what the singer had revealed to him.

"This guy I was with at the time was like a pimp," Candi says. "He was really abusive. I'd tell Dave about some of the things he did to me, and he'd be writing all of this down like he was interviewing me."

Dave left out the parts where this man, whom the singer does not identify, shot at her three different times. The mother of five finally left him in 1978. By that time, she had already survived two troublesome marriages, one to blind soul-blues singer Clarence Carter.

"I sang exactly what I was doing in those days," Candi says. "When I was married to Clarence Carter, he was cheating, and I was too. He had his thing and I did too. I was an alcoholic for seven years. Oh, yeah, I was living those songs."

But Candi's life has been clean for more than two decades. The kids are grown; she has 18 healthy grandchildren. Plus, the single singing veteran looks sensational at 60. She's also working on an autobiography titled, of course, Young Hearts Run Free. Candi still tours, singing gospel and the soul stuff occasionally. To promote the reissues, she will be revisiting that old heartache material, everything except the songs about adultery.

"Because I'm a Christian, there are songs I won't sing, like 'Mr. and Mrs. Untrue' and 'Another Man's Woman, Another Woman's Man.' I don't endorse adultery in any way," she says. "But I will sing the life songs about what we go through every day. I missed singing those old songs, anyway. They fed my kids and bought my home. I would have been on welfare if it weren't for those songs."

Top of pageBottom of page   By Isaiah ( on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 11:23 am:

EVA...thanks for this article...

Candi Staton reminds me of one of my sisters(smile!) She dug Candi and Betty Wright to death - though I never saw her life as identified in their lyrics... Perhaps, she was learning from Candi and Betty, and Creative Funk, how to mack a man rather than be macked(smile!)

In any event, I grew up listening to this kind of urban blues balladry because Of my sister, and developed a taste for the hard core blues songs based on her very hard core taste in music, which she pumped loudly once my moms stepped out the door, and was down the block a ways...(smile!) Thanks Eva!


Top of pageBottom of page   By Soul Sister ( on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 11:54 am:

Thanks for the article.
Good read, can't wait for the book to come out. Candi was a survivor, oh yeah!

Top of pageBottom of page   By NYC Diva ( on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 01:54 pm:

Hey Eva, thank you for this. I was a Candi fan back then and I can remember "Young Hearts Run Free" being very popular when I was in junior high school. One of my all time favorite records.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eva ( on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 05:58 pm:

Hi Isaiah,

re: your Sis-I think it's entirely possible to be a fan of this type of music without being the co-dependent type!;-) As for the performers, I seem to recall that Millie Jackson once said that she didn't like "Hurts So Good" and that she couldn't identify with the lyrics-which is understandable, since Millie J. seems like a pretty level-headed, independent woman.

I mainly cherish Candi's FAME tracks because of the fine writing (often C/W or with a country slant), the great musicianship and the superb vocals. The same goes for all the great (southern)soul artists mentioned in the article: O.V. Wright, Ann Peebles, as well as James Carr, Otis Clay and Joe Simon and many others. They sing with a kind of heartfelt emotion and sincerety (?)that you seldom hear in todays R&B IMHO. I sometimes listen to the current "melisma queens" on MTV, but most of the time it seems (to me!) to be more about vocal acrobatics than the conveying of any real emotion. But I guess I'm just an old fogey anyway!;-) There are probably lots of folks here and elsewhere who feel genuine moved by Mariah Carey et al.

Another thing that struck me when I read the article is that many of the *male* "deep soul" artists are letting their women walk all over them as well: just think of Otis ("I've Been Loving You...") Percy Sledge ("When A Man Loves A Woman", "It Tears Me Up"), Otis Clay ("Trying To Live My Life Without You")...I could go on and on..I have quite a few "deep soul" comps, and on most of the songs you got some poor guy, down on his bended knees, begging his woman to "pulleeze come home"!;-) So, it seems the men are equally afflicted. I guess it's the unhappy love affairs that make the best songs....

Anyway, it's great to see that Candi's FAME recordings are finally available on CD.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Eva ( on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 06:00 pm:

Ooops, that should be "genuinely moved"...


Top of pageBottom of page   By Spookey ( on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 01:16 pm:

So happy for Candi who turned her life over to the Lord!! -- It's a shame that drugs and booze can take you down so quick and when being a performer and singing in Smoke-filled clubs; temptation is out there; so all of you should be thankful for the ones that made it, like Diana Ross!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Nosey ( on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 03:08 pm:

I love Candi Staton; moreso since I saw her several years ago on TBN giving her testimony! Most of us forumers are really blessed once we get a glimpse of some of the horrors many of our beloved entertainers have endured. All that glitters surely ain't gold!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Charise ( on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 05:40 pm:

Thank You, Eva for that interesting article about Candi Staton. I knew about some things from previous readings, but learned more after reading this one. I can't remember what song it was for, but I remember seeing a video,(early 70's, maybe 70 or 71) of her sitting outside on a bench singing. I think the most memorable song or first song that I knew was her was Young Hearts Run Free- I was 11 at the time, but I loved the melody and voice. I am glad that she is well and happy. So much info on this site, by interesting people and people, who over the years I have wondered about, because I would always and still do read who wrote and produced songs in the liner notes of albums, ie, Mr. Eli(smile). I would have never thought that I would be able to chat with/or amongst the actual artists-WOW!!!! I Love It!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By CORNBREAD ( on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 05:53 pm:

I wonder who was her second husband, the one after Clarence Carter ?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Alan ( on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 07:09 pm:

Clarence was her second husband...her first was a preacher...according to her book...

Top of pageBottom of page   By CORNBREAD ( on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 09:27 pm:

Hey Alan: I'm trying to find out the name of the husband who was abusive and described by Candi as being like a pimp.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Alan ( on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 11:58 pm:

Don't know his name...if i remember correctly in her book she described him as someone very much into mind-control...head games, etc...she never named him though...if I'm not mistaken she let him manager her for a minute...

Top of pageBottom of page   By Michael McLean ( on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 12:45 am:

I'm just a prisoner, of your good loving.

Candy Staton, under the direction of Rick Hall, in Muscle Shoals.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Laurence ( on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 04:35 pm:

Candi Staton, "Now you've got the upper hand", on Unity Records.

Much loved on the U.K. Northern Soul scene in the
70's and for ever more.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Randy Russi ( on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 01:48 pm:

I always enjoyed Candi Staton's records, mostly
those issued on Fame label. I did meet her
briefly in the early 80s when she appeared at
a local disco. She had had a brief relationship
with my friend and that kind of prompted me to
say hello.
I did enjoy her TV shows--Candi Staton Suswell
(I guess she's no longer married to Rev. Suswell)
and more recently "Say Yeah".
There is ONE Fame recording I am sorry didn't
make it on this new CD release--"For You",
a powerful ballad that got a lot of radio play
on southern R&B stations--it was a B side to
one of her earlier releases.

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