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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Candi Staton: Chance


1) Ain't Got Nowhere To Go; 2) When You Wake Up Tomorrow; 3) Rock; 4) Chance; 5) I Live; 6) Me And My Music.

Well, here's your oh-so-obvious answer to the question about what it is that makes a good or a bad disco album — the difference between House Of Love and its follow-up, Chance, pretty much says it all. For some reason, Dave Crawford is out, both as producer and songwriter, and the album ends up being nominally self-produced by Candi herself, with the supervising of Jimmy Simpson — the brother of Valerie Simpson of Ashford & Simpson fame. Meanwhile, the songwriting is largely taken care of by Candi herself, or by a bunch of corporate donors who clearly have neither any interest in Candi Staton as an artist, nor in doing anything except supply­ing a steady stream of body-oriented grooves.

The result is an album as uninspired and stupid as House Of Love was inventive and supportive of the artist's personality. The only song worthy of some attention is ʽI Liveʼ, contributed by Ashford & Simpson in person — a slow, funky ballad rather than a straightahead disco groove, with a chance for Candi to burn some authentic soul, even if the arrangement still leaves much to be desired (no instrumental parts deserving of special attention). Everything else ranges from passable to ridiculous: ʽAin't Got Nowhere To Goʼ is at least reasonably short and reasonably complex, but the single ʽWhen You Wake Up Tomorrowʼ is completely dependent on its single musical phrase, never brought out of stasis due to the lame sound of the synthesizer — and then there's ʽRockʼ, which might just be the nadir of Candi's entire career. Here is a representative sample of the lyrics: "Why? Not? Rock? Rock! Rock! Why ? Not? Rock!", and it does not get much better when the lead vocal comes in, especially since the song has nothing whatsoever to do without «rock» in any possible meaning of the term, unless you really stretch it out to cover «corny disco shit» as well.

Neither the title track nor ʽMe And My Musicʼ on the second side make much of a difference: in fact, pretty much everything is interchangeable and never goes one step beyond the simple «give 'em a good vibe» message. And that smart touch of having Candi wrap things up with a strong gospel number? Apparently, it never caught on, even if it is precisely little things like that which make a world of difference. The less said about this Studio 54 blandness, the better; thumbs down without any further questions or comments. And you gotta love how they gave her that hip urban look on the photo, but never forgot about showing some cleavage all the same: trying to sell music like this without a bit of boobs is a marketologist's nightmare.

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