Monday, March 3, 2008

Get It When I Want It: Candi Staton and George Jackson in Muscles Shoals

Running out of time this week for anything researched, I figured I'd throw out this gem from Candi Stanton's phenomenal Fame LP, "I'm Just a Prisoner."

There's a lot of great things to say about this LP, from the kicking title track to the Clarence Carter penned (autobiographical? since the two were soon to be married) "I'd Rather Be an Old Man's Sweetheart (Than a Young Man's Fool") to a gentler country soul of "Another Man's Woman, Another Woman's Man" and her take on "That's How Strong My Love Is." Hell, there isn't a weak track on the whole thing!

With so much talent, personalities and great material, there's a wealth of stories. All I want to mention about "Get It When I Want It" is the great meeting on the Southern Soul Route 72 between Memphis and Muscle Shoals. These sessions took place in late 1968 (and maybe early 1969), after Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham had flown Muscle Shoals to join Chips Moman up in Memphis, and Rick Hall had hired
Geroge Jackson from Memphis as a staff writer after Goldwax had disintegrated. While Dan and Spooner brought their country soul sensibilities to Memphis, George Jackson and his newest close collaborator, Raymond Moore, brought more of that Memphis shake to Muscle Shoals. It worked out for both with Dan taking The Box Top's "The Letter" to Number 1 and, in 1971, Rick Hall producing a George Jackson song with the Osmonds up to Number 1. Not too shabby.

Here's the lack of information I've got (or, don't have): This is the only version of the song I know; I don't know the session players exactly (although it sounds like one "David" Allman, and he was round the studio at this
time); I have no good biographical information on Raymond Moore (anybody out there with links?).

Regardless, the cut is smokin' with that trademark George Jackson launch into the first verse. Where Dan Penn tunes tend to ease in the verse and build into the chorus, George Jackson's best work tends to get right up on ya. [The plainest example of this difference I can think of is James Carr's "Dark End of the Street" vs. "Coming Back to My Baby"]. Just check out how Candi bursts into that first line, "For a LON-NG time . . . " and pushes that Southern twang "ruh-hunninh around . . . " And she pushes the vocals as hard as the guitar and horns: "You you you!" That's the meeting of Memphis and Muscle Shoals that I love about these sessions and this LP. After all, as the liner notes to the LP state, "Candi Staton's a young girl, a cute eyefull of a girl. But most of all she's a Southern girl." And it's just so damn sexy, like the best Southern girls.

I backed up the Staton here with a similar track from Wilson Pickett recorded around the exact same time at Fame, but this one written by David Porter and Isaac Hayes from the "Hey Jude" LP. It's probably almost exactly the same group working on the sessions (Wilson did 4 tracks written by George Jackson and Raymond Moore). While I like "Toe Hold," it doesn't quite hit the same way as the Staton despite a great effort by Pickett: the record is great, but doesn't quite have that gentle drive against the punch. A counterpoint I guess.

Barney Hoskyns has a great quote from Candi about working with Rick Hall: "Rick was never mean, but he would make me sing a song over and over again until I was hoarse. He wanted to work up the emotions out of me so that I got a hoarse kind of Wilson Pickett sound." Well, he got that and much more.

Here's the set list:

Joe Tex; Dark End of the Street; Country Soul; Atlantic

Candi Staton; Get It When I Want It; I'm Just a Prinsoner; Fame
Wilson Pickett; Toe Hold; Hey Jude; Atlantic
Don Varner; Finally Got Over; Downbeat (Finally Got Over; Shout!)
Wallace Brothers; You're Mine; Simms 174
Charlie Rich; Lonely Weekends; Sun

Bobby Womack; How Does It Feel; Atlantic 2388 (Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Brothers (Rhino)
Wanda Jackson: Lost Weekend; ST 1511 (Right or Wrong; Bear Family)
William Bell; It's Happening All Over Again; The Soul of a Bell; Stax
Dan Penn; Ain't No Love; Nobody's Fool; Bell
Bobby Lee; I Was Born a Loser; Sue 144

Delbert McClinton; This Boy; Crazy Cajun Recordings; Edsel
Ted Taylor; It's Too Late (She's Gone); Ronn 34
Van Broussard; She's Just Teasing You; (Van and Grace: Louisiana Music Legends)
Wynn Stewart; (Above and Beyond) The Call of Love; Hilltop; (California Country: The Best of the Challenge Masters)

Johnny Truitt; Your Love Is Worth the Pain; Avet 9149 (The Heart of Southern Soul; Excello)
Otis Clay; Trying To Live My Life Without You; Hi 2226
Eddie Hinton; Brand New Man; Very Extremely Dangerous; Capricorn
Syl Johnson; The Love You Left Behind; Back for a Taste of Your Love; Hi
Joe Tex; Don't Let Your Left Hand Know; Dial 4006

O. V. Wright; Nickel and a Nail; Backbeat 622
Tony Joe White; My Kind of Woman; s/t; Monument
Bettye LaVette; It Ain't Easy; Child of the 70's; Rhino
Bobby Charles; Street People; s/t [Small Town Talk]; Bearsville
Doug Sahm; Medley: One Too Many Mornings / Got To Sing a Happy Song; Together After Five; Smash

Outro: Ry Cooder; Dark End of the Street; Boomer's Story; Warner Brothers

Department of Apologies: Due to some confusion of djs and unexpected guests, this show is pretty sloppy. Oh well, there's always room for improvement. That, and (probably because of the alliteration) I always pronounce Staton with an extra n. Sorry.

Department of Further Apologies: The podcast starts a few minutes late as I had trouble parking.

Department of the Future: Next week, Doug Sahm does Bobby Charles!

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