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Baker's Dozen

Escape To The Country: Willy Vlautin Of Richmond Fontaine's Favourite LPs
John Freeman , April 6th, 2016 09:55

Following the release of Richmond Fontaine's tenth and final album, You Can't Go Back If There Is Nothing To Go Back To, the singer and author talks to John Freeman about his favourite albums of storytelling escapism


Candi Staton – I'm Just A Prisoner
I found out about Candi Staton from a friend in London, when we started touring over there, in about 2007. He gave me a compilation of her first two records. I was floored. She's not that famous in the US. There is a story that the record companies only wanted one Aretha. You'd read about that shit – it makes no sense to me that Candi is not an icon. In America, when you are born, you should get given a record of hers. You should get I'm Just A Prisoner and a record by Willie Nelson and everyone would probably be better off in life.

Concerning I'm Just A Prisoner, the Muscle Shoals guys did an incredible job production-wise. It's a perfect way into soul music. Candi has the best voice a person can have and she invites you in. With 'I'd Rather Be An Old Man's Sweetheart (Than A Young Man's Fool)', I remember laughing at that song, and then you hear 'Another Man's Woman, Another Woman's Man' and it is just a soul record that makes sense on every level. I never leave home without her stuff on my phone. I have to have her music around me, as I think she is the best singer – for what I like in singers – of all time.

Obviously, Muscle Shoals were hot at that time. The band was amazing. I don't think she wrote the songs but that era of hers is wonderful. It's sad that after her first two records, she went disco and then she became more gospel. That's when I jumped off. Candi is a bit like Wanda Jackson. She was the queen of rockabilly and her first two records were amazing, but then she was married and found God and her songs didn't have the same swagger to them.

I always tell my girlfriend that before I die, I want to see a Candi Staton show. I am hoping I will get to one. Patterson Hood told me that his dad played on a couple of the early Candi Staton songs. How cool is that? It's a crime she is not more famous. People should be flogged for not owning this album.