“…Staton deserves to be right up there alongside Aretha and Gladys in the soul pantheon. An album worth selling your soul for…” Mojo Magazine, London
“Deep soul gems too frank and gritty for the pop charts… including a heartbreaking take on `In the Ghetto’ that made Elvis swoon.” Rollingstone
“…Every single track here says more in its allotted two minutes-40 than most artists manage in a lifetime.” Time Out London
One of the surprise hit CDs of 2004 was Candi Staton’s self-titled collection of hits she recorded in the storied Muscle Shoals studios 1968-1973. It reached the pop charts in England, France, the Netherlands, Japan and Germany. There was a staggering array of press in the USA ranging from the New York Times to the trendy rock magazine, Blender. In London, it received 5 stars eulogies from the prestigious Guardian and The Independent newspapers. In France, the press suggested that Candi Staton was what teen soul sensation Joss Stone hoped to be someday. ’Along the way, Staton was praised in Paris’ national daily Le Parisien and Elle magazine. To top all of that off, Rollingstone named the CD one of the Ten best reissues of the year, ranking it alongside Bob Dylan and Beatles collections. The jazz magazine, Downbeat, proclaimed the CD a masterpiece and the pop magazine Tracks also cited the CD as one of the Ten best reissues of 2004. Since then, Staton has released two critically-acclaimed southern soul CDs for Honest Jons in London, enjoyed a Top 40 gospel hit called “Just Jesus” and returned to the Billboard dance charts for the first time in 30 years on Groove Armada’s Top Ten 2009 smash “Love Sweet Sound.”
After spending twenty years on the gospel circuit, singing bluesy hosannas, the various new recordings have unexpectedly returned Staton to the pop limelight. Last year, she sang a rousing hour-long set in front of 50,000 screaming fans at London’s Glastonbury Festival. That feat was a long way from Staton’s humble beginnings in Hanceville, AL. She would listen to Hank Williams on the radio in the day and B.B. King at night. Staton first sang in church at the age of four and became a professional at the age of twelve when she joined the Jewel Gospel Trio. The group toured with Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson in the 1950s. After graduating from high school, she had a shotgun marriage and became a housewife. Soon she had four children and a jealous husband. Her only singing outlet was Sunday morning at a strict holiness church. She was kicked-out of the church when the pastor found out she had a TV set in her home. She then turned her back on religion. Her brother dared her to go on stage at Birmingham’s 27/28 Club. She sang Aretha’s “Do Right Woman” and won herself a regular gig. There she met R&B star Clarence Carter who invited her to sing in his traveling revue. She turned him down because of her domestic responsibilities. However, when the marriage faltered, she tracked Carter down and he made good on his offer and made Staton his opening act in 1968. Carter then snagged her a record deal with Fame Records where she collaborated with producer Rick Hall who had also produced Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” and Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman.”
Over the next five years, Staton churned out a series of southern soul smashes until a 1974 move to Warner Brothers made Staton a dance queen. Over the next few years, Staton recorded club smashes such as “Young Hearts Run Free” (a million-selling feminist anthem), “Victim,” “Nights on Broadway” and “When You Wake Up Tomorrow.” However, after battling the bottle and becoming dissatisfied with her career, Staton returned to church. She became a regular on Christian television programs such as “The PTL Club” and gained her own TV show on the TBN Network. Staton resurrected her secular music career in the summer of 1999 with an inspirational British pop cd Outside In that produced three Top 40 UK pop singles and three #1 UK dance hits. Candi has since toured all over Europe and appeared on UK TV shows such as “Later with Jools” “VH-1 Europe” and “Top of the Pops.”
Since the release of Honest Jons’ Candi Staton CD in 2004, Staton has recorded two more critically-acclaimed southern soul CDs His Hands (2006) and Who’s Hurting Now? (2009). Her first-ever praise and worship CD I Will Sing My Praise to You featured the Top 40 gospel hit “Just Jesus” in fall 2008. Meanwhile, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Staton’s music is being remixed for a new generation. One of the biggest hits of 2010 is Florence & the Machine’s cover of Staton’s “You Got the Love.” Their new version has topped the British pop charts and even young soul siren Joss Stone has done an old school rendition of the song for her latest CD. Last year, Staton enjoyed a worldwide Top Ten dance hit as a guest vocalist on Groove Armada’s smash “Love Sweet Sound” that she co-wrote with the club duo. Fans can look forward to upcoming Staton collaborations with Sweden’s Rasmus Faber & Alf Tumble and Ashley Beedle’s upcoming Mavis project. Now, Staton and her first producer, Rick Hall, are back in the studio for the first time in three decades, with plans to make Muscle Shoals Magic all over again.