I almost thought I wasn't going to make it up to London in time, after a last minute planning meeting at work meant I left an hour later than planned. But as the time hit 7:30, I was rushing out of the underground, trying to pick the correct subway exit to come out in front of the Apollo. No time to waste, as the sound of Candi Staton in full swing was roaring out into the foyer! I stumbled my way upstairs to the gallery, and found my seat, with a wonderful clear view down onto the stage below, where Candi was in the midst of singing the song Elvis Presley admitted she could do better, In The Ghetto.
Candi was looking glorious, and dominated the stage, moving about so much that sometimes the lighting crew had difficulty keeping the spot up with her. "Who loves the blues?", she called out, "I love the blues!"
Candi can sing blues but equally can soar into gospel heights. Candi's life story is filled with many trials and difficulties, but also relates how they can be overcome, emerging triumphantly. So that now Candi is able to get every woman in the auditorium standing up and building a mood of confidence as she sings another track from her 1973 album, The Best Thing You Ever Had. Candi boosts the women while slyly ribbing us men for our biological flaws:
"Girls, sing it with me - I'm The Best Thing You Ever Had! ... Sometimes, our men just don't appreciate us, do they? When we're out with our men, they keep looking around, like this (she does a mean impression of one of those corner of the eye looks we do when something aesthetic catches our attention). They just can't see what they already got! Boys, I don't need no internet to see what I'm looking for!"
Time to make up, guys and girls, and everybody gets to sing along with Candi's uplifting disco hit Young Hearts Run Free. For her final number Candi sings her dance classic You Got The Love.
As the band play on, Candi introduces us to them - Ernie on bass, Suzy and Xavier on vocals, Tom and Ritch on horns, and Terry Williams on congas: "He's from Atlanta Georgia. I should know, 'coz I was there when he was born. He's my third son!"
And then its her second son, Marcus Williams, who completes the set with a storming drum solo.
And that was the end of Candi's set.
Short but sweet!
Sadly, I don't have Candi Staton's United Artist album, or even a CD with Best Thing You Ever Had or In The Ghetto on it. So perhaps you will enjoy instead another track from her FAME debut:
Candi Staton - Sweet Feeling (from LP I'm Just a Prisoner - Fame LP 4201) 1970
NEXT: Al Green!
As usual, the concept of taking my own photos in the dark has baffled me! So, the photograph of Candi is from a recent concert in Holland, taken by Eric Van Nieuwland. A nice interview and biographical details about Candi Staton can be found at divastation. Go and buy Candi Staton's new album, His Hands.