Candi Staton – 1969 – I’m Just A Prisoner
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Recorded at Rick Hall’s Muscle Shoals studios, this set embodies the essence of Southern soul — a hybrid of country, R&B and the blues.
This long-out-of-print set features the novelty tune “I’d Rather Be An Old Man’s Sweetheart (Than A Young One’s Fool)” and a killer cover of O.V. Wright’s “That’s How Strong My Love Is“.
It’s groovy, It’s smooth, excellent vocal line…definitely one of my top all time albums.
A1 Someone You Use 2:32
A2 I’d Rather Be an Old Man’s Sweetheart (Than a Young Man’s Fool) 2:05
A3 You Don’t Love Me No More 2:19
A4 Evidence 2:35
A5 Sweet Feeling 2:45
B1 Do Your Duty 2:32
B2 That’s How Strong My Love Is 3:25
B3 I’m Just a Prisoner (of Your Good Lovin’) 3:09
B4 Another Man’s Woman, Another Woman’s Man 2:30
B5 Get It When I Want It 2:25
Review by Soulmakossa
Candi Staton was one of the hardest, grittiest ambassadors of downhome, ‘Bama-drenched Southern Soul, recording three highly acclaimed LPs for the FAME label between 1969 and 1972. Her first effort is an incredibly raw and at times ridiculously funky tour de force of sweat-inducing, fatback Southern Soul.
Opening procedures is the wistful, bluesy romp “Someone You Use”, a fine country-soul tune from the pen of her then husband Clarence Carter. Old timey piano and infectious backing vocals guide Staton through this tale of despair.
The hard socking “I’d Rather Be an Old Man’s Sweetheart (Than a Young Man’s Fool)” was also co-written by Carter, and knowing the latter’s tongue-in-cheekiness, it must have been a blast recording this track. The Muscle Shoals band is in full force, check out Roger Hawkin’s tight beats, especially in the outro.
Next up is the achingly beautiful ballad “You Don’t Love Me No More”, a tune sung with the Deep Soul style of conviction (and sense of doom akin to James Carr’s darkest excursions). The weeping horns and the biting guitar fills ad perfectly to the gloomy atmosphere. Truly a showstopper. “Evidence” without a doubt is the hardest and funkiest tune here. The lazy backbeat and slithering bass are augmented by a ‘Pops Staples’-styled heavily reverberated guitar, bursts of brass and in-your-face backup voc’s. The horn-heavy coda is sheer funky soul heaven…
Side A ends on a boogie ‘n’ bouncin’ note with the soulful blues-inspired “Sweet Feeling” – Staton’s vocal here is deliciously raw, rough and completely unrestrained.
Candi delves back into the funk bag on the flip with the stupidly rocking “Do Your Duty”, with its rat-tat-tat drum pattern on the chorus, perfectly juxtaposed with the razor sharp flurries of brass. When she belts out ‘DO! Do your duty!’, you sit up and listen, jack.
Roosevelt Jamison’s classic “That’s How Strong My Love Is” follows, and while, to me, no version surpasses Little Milton’s 1973 take, this traditionally executed ballad does feature some eerie, ’50s-styled backing vocals. And hearing Staton build up to the vocal climax in the middle as well as the end of the song, truly is a goosebump inducing experience. Brilliant.
A funky stew is served once more with the dynamic “I’m Just a Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin’)”, which rides on the back of Hawkin’s busy drums and Spooner Oldham’s thick-as-gravy keyboard workout. Clarence Carter would record an almost exact version of this tune for his last FAME album ‘Patches’ in 1970.
“Another Man’s Woman, Another Woman’s Man”, in contrast, is the most sensitive, delicate track here. Another feast of soulful vocal bliss, the song slightly resembles the make-up of Aretha Franklin‘s “Do Right Man, Do Right Woman”.
Candi Staton’s first full length LP ends on a thumpin’ note with the funk ‘n’ roll of “Get It When I Want It”, which saddles a superlative groove, further enhanced by a healthy dose of greasy, soul-powered horns.