Saturday, 19 April 2014

"Candi / Young Hearts Run Free" by CANDI STATON – A Review Of Her 1974 and 1976 Warner Brothers Albums - Now Reissued And Remastered Onto 2CDs By Edsel Of The UK In 2013 With 5 BONUS TRACKS…



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"…Young Hearts…" – Candi and Young Hearts Run Free by CANDI STATON

After 3 albums with Fame Records - “I’m Just A Prisoner” (1970), “Stand By Your Man” (1971) and “Candi Staton” (1973) – Alabama Southern Soul Diva Candi Staton signed a career rejuvenating contract with Warner Brothers that saw her move out of cult worship to global fame. And this timely reissue from Edsel of the UK (released 30 September 2013) touches on her first two albums for the mega label in 1974 and 1976 – adding on 5 tasty bonus tracks into the bargain.

Here are the wiggle-bottom details For Edsel EDSK 7032 (Barcode 740155703233)…

Disc 1 (38:53 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 11 are her 4th album “Candi” – released December 1974 in the USA on Warner Brothers BS 2830 (No UK release)
Track 12 is a BONUS – “As Long As He Takes Care Of Home (Without Rap)” – a Promo-Only B-side to the 1974 USA 7” single on Warner Brothers WBS 8038 (the A is the Rap Version).

Disc 2 (60:04 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 8 are her 5th album “Young Hearts Run Free” – released June 1976 on Warner Brothers BS 2948 in the USA and July 1976 on Warner Brothers K 56259 in the UK. It peaked at 14 in the American R&B charts and became her first charted LP in the UK at Number 34 (the single “Young Hearts Run Free” reached No. 2).
Tracks 9 to 12 are BONUSES – “Young Hearts Run Free (Original Single Edit)”, “Run To Me (Extended Version)”, “Young Hearts Run Free (12 Extended M&M Mix Eighty Six)” and an “Instrumental” version of the same.

The outer card wrap gives the whole reissue a quality feel – as does the 20-page booklet which pictures album artwork, publicity photos, American and British Warner Brothers labels, rare foreign picture sleeves, track by track recording info and exceptionally detailed liner notes by Soul Expert and long-time Edsel Associate TONY ROUNCE.

The remasters by PHIL KINRADE at Alchemy are exceptionally good – clear and full of presence – bringing out Rick Hall’s deeply churchy Soul production on the first LP and Rick Crawford’s uber-pronounced strings and backbeat on the second.

“Candi” is a Soft Soul album – romantic and mushball. It opens with a take-me-back pleader – a cover of Philip Mitchell’s “Here I Am Again” which features superb backing vocals from The Joint Ventures and The Collettes. It gets mid-tempo with “Your Opening Night” (a George Jackson cover) and relationship reflective with “Going Through the Motions”. Things get Travis Wammack guitar-funky with “A Little Taste Of Love” and Mac Davis commercial with the radio-friendly happy Soul of “Stop And Smell The Roses”. But my poison is the slink of the second Philip Mitchell track on here - “As Long As He Takes Care Of Home” (an obvious 7” single). What a great groove it is.

She gives it some social consciousness on “Clean Up America” with her “Get it together” and “pitch in” clarion calls and finishes up with the brass stepper “Six Nights And 8 Days” by Earl Wright and George Jackson (the last single released off the album Stateside). “Candi” is a good Soul album – old fashioned in many ways - but in truth it lacked that absolute slaughter-the-punters track needed to break down the barriers for her as an artist. That would all change with Candi Staton’s 1976 outing…  

“Young Hearts Run Free” was a monster hit – riding the Disco boom globally and making Staton a household name. The first thing that hits you about the album is the Production values – massively upped and aimed directly at city dancefloors with a vengeance. The man behind this is Producer and Principal songwriter for the whole album – Dave Crawford. “Run To Me” and “Destiny” set the boogie pace while the lovely “You Bet Your Sweet Love” takes it down a notch before the big title track.

I can remember my sister and her friends dancing around the handbags at the nightclub – not just digging the beat of “Young Hearts Run Free” – but chomping down on every word – really feeling that bittersweet pain. “Living For You” is fairly forgettable but “Summer Time With You” gets all bedroom Barry White and is largely successful at it. The LP ends with another commercial funky beat – Dave Crawford’s “I Know”.

And to hear the “Without Rap” version of the killer “As Long As He Takes Care Of Home” is an absolute blast – even if the sound isn’t the greatest - a genius inclusion. The long version of “Run To Me” is a Disco nugget and DJs will love it. But I found the “Young Hearts…” 12” Remixes that mix in “I Know” are largely superfluous to requirements…

As Soul Boys of all colours look back to those heady days of the Seventies and early Eighties – albums by artists like Patrice Rushen, Randy Crawford and Candi Staton are getting revaluated all the time.

It’s not all genius for sure – but a sweet lady with tunes worth re-visiting. Take a punt on this classy reissue…

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