We’re transported to more urban and bluesy climes
Angus Taylor 2009
Who's Hurting Now by raw-voiced southern soul powerhouse Candi Staton doesn't scale the heights of her FAME Records output of the 60s and 70s. Nonetheless it's a respectable outing that will add its stronger material to her impressive live shows.
Like previous Honest Jon's release, His Hands, it starts with a love-as-endurance ballad, Breaking Down Slow. From Candi's country-ish side, we’re transported to more urban and bluesy climes (the phlegmatic funk of Who's Hurting Now, and the lilting, horn peppered I Feel The Same).
Lonely Don't's cool Rhodes, searing slide guitar and ominous lyrics forge a dark companion-piece to the Will Oldham-penned title track from His Hands. For this record Oldham wrote the simple, satisfying Get Your Hands Dirty, whose chords sail rather close to the second half of Eric Clapton's Layla.
The musicians (again under the auspices of Mark Nevers) play looser and dirtier than last time around. There's more of a jam session feel, and despite the bittersweet subject matter, everyone sounds like they're having fun.
Candi Staton cut some of the South's most scorching soul anthems for FAME (blurring the carefully demarcated industry/media lines between country, blues and soul) before achieving crossover fame via the disco classic Young Hearts Run Free and, later, You Got The Love.
She retired from secular music for decades until Honest Jon's revitalised her career with a judiciously compiled retrospective bearing her name. Comeback record His Hands proved she's still got it, and while Who's Hurting Now doesn't represent much of a progression, it shows she's here to stay.