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Candi Staton

The songs that Alabama’s Candi Staton sang rang true because, sadly, she lived them. A gospel prodigy, she ran off with fellow gospel singer Lou Rawls, only for Rawls’ mother to drag her back home.

Then after an abusive marriage, Staton was rescued by the Southern soul singer Clarence Carter, who took her to Rick Hall’s Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals.

The resultant deep soul gems were a tender, heartbreaking and cathartic release of pent-up pain delivered in Staton’s trademark explosive rasp. The tracks were too frank and gritty for the pop charts and earned her the title of ‘First Lady of Southern Soul’.

Much later she would conquer Disco – with Young Hearts Run Free – and House music. But the tracks she recorded between 1969 and 1974 are all you really need.