REVIEW: Candi Staton

JAZZ CAFE, 24/8/06

THERE are magical moments at gigs for which a quick snap on your camera phone just isn’t enough.

You want to bottle the moment, take it home, come back the next day and do it all again. For soul connoisseurs it doesn’t happen often these days but Tuesday night at the Jazz Café was one of those extra special times.

Candi Staton launching into You’ve Got The Love, inexcusably uplifting in all its mutated gospel glory, could not fail to send shivers down the spine.

Everybody under 35 has some sort of association with that song, a beacon for old-school ravers, student freshers and bedroom DJs. Hearing it kick in live, b-line in tact, a crowd of hands up in the air – even the suits at the back – is devastating.

And all this from a 66-year-old.

While You’ve Got The Love was a spinning, emotional finale at the JC, this gig was about Staton’s versatility and staying power.  She reminded us how she made some fine southern soul records in the 1960s – beautiful songs such as I’m Just A Prisoner (Of Your Love) and I’d Rather Be An Old Man’s Sweetheart Than A Young Man’s Fool. Revived here with raw vocal power backed by aching trumpet and sax, they are a lesson to today’s r’n’b bum-shakers.

On to the 1970s and the disco anthem Young Hearts Run Free, still a good tune no matter how many times Heart FM club it to death.
And then the 2006 Staton – sensitive songs from her new album His Hands which show her lungs have not been affected by the abusive lovers she sings about.

Staton looks like she could go on forever, a genuine soul legend.

Not just one of the best gigs I’ve seen this year, this was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.

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