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Candi Staton

Now You've Got The Upper Hand

Deptford Northern Soul Club

Released: 21st March 2020

7"£11.99 Buy Now In Stock. Dispatched today.

Absolutely storming early 45 from the great Candi Staton coupled with The Chappells You're Acting Kind Of Strange. These are both extremely rare sides, would set you back £300+ for originals.

Candi Staton’s ‘Now You’ve Got The Upper Hand’, a record that goes for over £2000. Released briefly in 1969, it was soon withdrawn as Candi went on to top the charts around the world with a string of hits. A gorgeous upbeat gem that’s gained a huge reputation on the northern scene, remastered for maximum effect.

“We’re so excited to work with Candi on the first official reissue of Now You’ve Got The Upper Hand. It’s been a big part of our sets for the past three years and the opportunity to repress this timeless classic, allowing it to once again be heard on dancefloors around the world, is a huge honour.” Will and Lewis (Deptford Northern Soul Club).

The flipside features another super rare side, Chappells’ ‘You're Acting Kind Of Strange’ which is out there for around £350 if you can find a copy. This is the none-strings version from 1969. An emotional rollercoaster from the East Baltimore quintet, remastered for maximum effect.

Here's Candi Staton talikng about it...
“In 1967, I was a 26 year old, bored housewife. I had a jealous husband who didn't ever want me to leave the house. My pastor had fired me from my church organist gig and banned me from his flock because he heard that I had a TV in my house. He said TV was evil. I felt like a prisoner with no creative outlet. My brother, Sam, noticed my depression and he felt I should be singing even though my husband didn't want me to sing professionally like I did when I was a teenager on the gospel circuit. Sam pulled me out of the house and started introducing me to Birmingham, Alabama's music scene. He wanted me to hit the clubs and sign up for amateur night contests.

"Why don't you learn some songs other than gospel songs," Sam fussed at me because he knew I only knew gospel songs. "Why don't you learn some songs like Aretha Franklin sings or like Etta James. Learn some of them kind of songs so you can get a job in a club."

Sam already had a club in mind. The 27/28 Club. He knew the owner O.J. who also owned a local funeral parlor. They were both masons and belonged to the same lodge. I had been hearing Aretha Franklin's "Do Right Woman" on the radio around that time, so I learned that song. On that Saturday night, I sang the song. I won the contest. They clapped me back for an encore but I didn't know another R&B song, so I did the same one all over again. O.J.was happy with my performance and hired me to start singing there on weekends.

The more I sang around the city, the more people I met. A DJ friend of mine introduced me to Bob Grove who owned a local record label, Unity Records. I went over there and hung out a little bit. Mr. Grove told me he had the perfect song to be my first record, "Now, You've Got The Upper Hand." It was a bouncy Motown type of song. He put me in a recording booth and I did it and that was it. I think he paid me something like $20 and a few weeks later, I held my very first 45 single in my hand.

The record received a little bit of local airplay, but nothing happened nationally. It was a disappointment but it whet my appetite to record more music and to seek a career in music full time. I did another record with a guy named Billy Walker for Minaret Records in Florida but nothing happened with that either. However, in this same period, I opened for Clarence Carter at the 27/28 Club. He liked me and took me under his wing. I started opening up for him on the road and eventually he introduced me to Rick Hall at Fame Records and the rest is history.

In the early 2010s, I was doing a concert tour in the United Kingdom and the promoter asked me if I would include "Now, You've Got the Upper Hand" in my set list. At first, I wondered why he wanted me to sing that song. I told him that no one knows that song, so it's probably not a good idea for me to sing that. He told me the song had become a classic in the Northern Soul scene in England. I was shocked. I had absolutely no idea that there was this underground audience of fans for the song. So, I added it to the setlist and to my surprise, every night of the tour, the song got a great response.

When people would greet me after the show, they'd say they never thought they'd get to see me sing the song live and how it's one of their favorites.

So, that's why I'm so happy that Deptford Northern Soul Club has remastered the song and is now introducing my very first solo record to a new generation of people. I hope you enjoy it.” - Candi Staton , 2019