Candi Staton: An Appreciation

Dec 16th, 2008 // 7 Comments

As the new year approaches, I feel like I’ve written a hundred obituaries for this site in 2008. So I think I’d like to try and appreciate the living before something unfortunate happens and it’s back to the obit format. After her greatest-hits collection got me through a day of painting bedrooms yesterday, it seems like I owe a little something to Candi Staton anyway.

Staton started out her career on the southern traditional gospel circuit in the Jewell Gospel Trio, singing alongside acts like the Soul Stirrers and Mahalia Jackson, but then broke out as a solo artist on Fame Records. There she was probably best known for a series of covers, including “Stand By Your Man”:

The Candi Staton best of Honest Jon’s put out a few years ago is a real tribute to Candi’s voice and her ability to break your heart with a song. After awhile, you start wondering just how many times a woman can be done wrong. Maybe it was just one guy, but he certainly did a number on her.

“Mr. and Mrs. Untrue”:

“Heart on a String”:

“Too Hurt To Cry”:

In the late seventies, Staton made a comeback on the dance front, most notably with the ecstatic “Young Hearts Run Free.”

Staton has spent her time since the ’80s as a gospel singer—and as you might suspect, she’s a pretty good one, although her apparently one-off soul record for Honest Jon’s, His Hands, just left me wanting more on that front.

“It’s Not Easy Letting Go”:

Occasionally, I’ll catch Candi on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which is a little surreal, since most of that network’s programming lacks any sort of soul whatsoever. (Maybe it’s an outreach.) To its credit, the channel did put together a pretty solid montage of her music to promote her appearances:

It’s time to come back to soul, Candi… or for a label to cough up the cash to give her the production she deserves again. Until then, it’s back to the best of while painting a hallway.

Candi Staton [Official site]


  1. Lucas Jensen

    Thanks for this! I was thinking about writing her up, too!

  2. Anonymous

    Yeah! This is a great post about a severely underrated singer.

  3. teemo

    She also recently collaborated with Groove Armada to brilliant result. Album was Soundboy Rock, their latest, and tracks were “Love Sweet Sound” and “Paris”.

  4. moomintroll

    Woah, I just skimmed this and I thought Candi Staton had died (I just saw the word obituary).
    She really is amazing, and transcends any sort of genre. I saw a youtube video of her at the Honest Jon’s chop up, she sang “Sunset Coming On” from Damon Albarn’s Mali Music album (as a duet) it was amazing.
    I’m also an addict of “You’ve Got The Love”.

  5. Anonymous

    Amen! Amen!

    Candi performing in front of Criminal Records June 3rd, 2006

  6. uptonking

    Amen. I’ve been catching her vocals on the occasional dance hit for years. She is one of the unsung heriones of the dance floor. Amen. Thanks for such a thoughtful, well researched post!

  7. manyjars

    That compilation from Honest Jon’s is amazing. Candi Staton lives in Stone Mountain, GA. Occasionally she jets to Europe to be worshipped by disco fans.

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