I fret sometimes that I've probably heard all the great early-'70s deep Southern-soul records alreadythat crate-digging will only reveal stuff derived directly from themand this collection of the Nixon-era r&b hits Candi Staton recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, reinforces that fear. (She later became the "Young Hearts Run Free" disco princess, but these songs have mostly been out of print for ages, even the million-sellers.) Candi Staton is scrupulously faithful to the delights of its genre: Staton sings like the junior gospel star turned adultery expert she was, raspily testifying and haranguing, and the horns and rhythm section do their duty with gusto. Even so, the cheatin' songs are all plug-and-chugged from the Millie JacksonClarence CarterAnn Peebles formula (Carter was Staton's husband and occasional co-writer for a while), and she seems to have coveted her neighbors' hits, too. "Another Man's Woman, Another Woman's Man" does the dirty on Aretha's do-right, and "I'll Drop Everything and Come Running" shares some DNA with "I'll Take You There." Her cleverest moment, though, sneaks around on two songs at once: She's torching up "Stand by Your Man," but the arrangement bears a closer resemblance to "Stand by Me" than to its ostensible daddy.
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