Warm Southern Breeze

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Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin passes musical scepter and crown to Candi Staton

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin (1942–2018)

On this day in which we mourn the passing of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, it seems fitting to acknowledge a similarly renown 78-year-old soul singer from the tiny north Alabama town of Hanceville whose new album will be released soon.

Aretha Franklin at FAME Recording Studios, in Muscle Shoals, AL. Her first Number One hit “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” was written for her by her friend Ronnie Shannon, produced by Jerry Wexler, and released in 1967 – was recorded at FAME Studios with the guidance and direction of Rick Hall. It almost didn’t get cut (and was the only song recorded at that session) because of tensions between her then-husband Ted White and a member of the Muscle Shoals Horn Section, and Jerry Wexler and FAME owner Rick Hall.

The two artists share numerous similarities, and could – for all practical purposes – be considered musical sisters by virtue of their musical upbringings. The producers, musicians, engineers and others – including their families – in whose orbit they traveled, are similar, if not identical, as are their life stories.

The other to whom I refer is Candi Staton.

Linked below, NPR previews the album (linked on the page) which will be released August 24, and supplies a brief story about her 30th album which is entitled “Unstoppable.”

“Unstoppable” is Candi Staton’s 30th album.

That woman, of course, is the unstoppable Candi Staton, whose previous album “Life Happens” released in 2014, was also the very last one her early mentor Rick Hall of FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals – who guided her career change from gospel to soul, including that of Aretha Franklin with her first Number 1 R&B hit “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” – produced before he died of prostate cancer on the second day of this new year aged 85. On that album, she collaborated with other Alabamians of musical renown, including Jason Isbell, and John Paul White.

Candi Staton and John Paul White share a casual moment before her 2014 induction into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. John Paul White was the Master of Ceremonies at the Shoals Marriott function that evening.

Her most recent album, “Unstoppable” was produced by Mark Nevers of Lambchop, a Nashville based Americana/alt-country group.

Candi’s first international hit “Young Hearts Run Free” in 1976 was covered by Kym Mazelle in the 1996 movie “Romeo + Juliet.”

She grew up with musical royalty in the ’50’s, then a teen, and toured as part of the Jewell Gospel Trio with Aretha Franklin’s father C.L. Franklin, and Mahalia Jackson.

Candi Staton and Clarence Carter, whom she married in 1970.

Her second marriage was to soul singer Clarence Carter in 1970 (for whom she sang backup and which union produced Clarence Carter, Jr.) who was renown for musical hits “Patches” in 1972 (a Grammy Award-winner), and “Strokin’” in 1984.

Without further ado, here’s Candi Staton’s new album “Unstoppable”!


For additional information, see also:

Candi Staton reunites with producer Rick Hall after more than three decades

Deep Soul: How Muscle Shoals became music’s most unlikely hit factory

Muscle Shoals, A film by Greg Camalier

Watch the moment in rural Alabama when Aretha Franklin became the Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin found her Queen of Soul groove at Muscle Shoals

Rick Hall, Architect of the Muscle Shoals Sound, Dies at 85

Rick Hall obituary
Record producer who established the soul-drenched ‘Muscle Shoals sound’


Spooner Oldham Helps Aretha Hit Her Groove

Aretha Franklin at FAME Recording Studios, Muscle Shoals, AL. Second from right, behind is legendary guitarist and “Swamper” Jimmy Johnson. Third from left is drummer and “Swamper” Roger Hawkins.

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