May 24, 2012 - Between 1969 and 1974, Candi Staton and her producer Rick Hall were a dynamic duo. Hall was known for producing deep-fried R&B classics like Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman”, Etta James’ “Tell Mama” and Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman”. Staton became his muse as he hunted down songs to fit her girlish rasp of a voice with the teardrop in it.
May 24, 2012 - Between 1969 and 1974, Candi Staton and her producer Rick Hall were a dynamic duo. Hall was known for producing deep-fried R&B classics like Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman”, Etta James’ “Tell Mama” and Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman”. Staton became his muse as he hunted down songs to fit her girlish rasp of a voice with the teardrop in it. During their union, they created 16 R&B chart hits such as the Grammy nominated R&B reconstructions of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” and Elvis Presley’s “In The Ghetto.” Other classics included the raw blues of “I’m Just A Prisoner (of Your Good Lovin’)” and the slyly soulfulness of “He Called Me Baby” that was sampled on One Eskimo’s #1 smash, “Kandi”, in 2009. They all combined to make Staton the most successful woman in the southern soul genre.
Then, disco came and the duo split. Staton went on to become a disco diva with Warner Bros. hits such as “Victim”, “Run to Me”, “When You Wake Up Tomorrow” and her 1976 million-seller, “Young Hearts Run Free.” Meanwhile, Hall went on to produce a slew of pop and country acts ranging from Donny & Marie Osmond and Paul Anka on the pop side to country stars like Alabama, Mac Davis, T.G. Shepherd and Larry Gatlin.
Staton and Hall didn’t have any significant communication for the next 30 years. Then, in 2004 Honest Jons Records in London issued the “Candi Staton” compilation CD featuring 26 of Staton’s hallowed collaborations with Hall. It was a surprise hit, reaching the pop charts in England, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Japan, and Germany. There was an array of press celebrating these “lost treasures” in publications such as the New York Times and Rollingstone magazine. The success led Honest Jons to record two critically acclaimed Americana-styled southern soul albums on Staton in 2006 and 2009.
Then, in fall 2011 the Americana Music Association asked Staton to perform and present Hall with its Lifetime Achievement Award. The enthusiastic media response to their reunion and Staton’s soulful performance of “Heart on a String” got the two wondering if they should record together again. Hall, who has recently had young superstars such as Alicia Keys in his studio, liked the idea right away. “It only makes sense,” Hall says. “From a musical standpoint, who knows Candi better than me? So, we’ve pulled in some of the musicians that worked on the early stuff and paired them with young musicians and we’ve already cut some great sides and we’re going to shop them to the labels. This isn’t just a nostalgia idea. Candi’s still got it and when she sings this kind of music that we’re making, nobody does it better.”