Candi Staton Songs of Praise


Candi Staton

In a special edition for Mothering Sunday, singer Candi Staton talks to Aled Jones about her faith and career. She performs the song Mama that she wrote for her mother.


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Transcript


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In 1976, one song in particular provided a soundtrack

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for the long, hot summer.

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Young Hearts Run Free was a hit on the radios and dance floors

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of the nation.

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But few people realised

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that it was based on the life of the woman singing it, Candi Staton.

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Candi started her career in a gospel trio and found solo fame

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with songs such as Nights On Broadway and In The Ghetto.

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Candi's never gone out of fashion.

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Her vocals have graced hits in the 1990s, and now, in the 21st century.

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On this Mothering Sunday we celebrate the life

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of not just a great singer, but also a great mother.

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A mother who has had to learn that through adversity,

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love shines through.

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Welcome to this very special Songs Of Praise.

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I'll be talking to Candi about how her faith has survived

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a tempestuous life.

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She'll be performing some of her favourite hymns.

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We'll find out why Candi believes her concerts change lives.

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And we'll get the story behind THAT song.

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We're in Christ Church, Spitalfields

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on the outskirts of the City of London.

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It's a stunning 18th-century church.

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This magnificent building deserves some magnificent music.

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We have just the people to do that.

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A great brand, an enthusiastic congregation,

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and most important of all, the one and only, Miss Candi Staton.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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It's so lovely to see you.

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You, standing in a church, singing - it's as normal as breathing.

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It is, it really is.

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I was raised in a church, when I was still in my mum's arms,

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and even before I was born I was in church.

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-How do you feel when you're standing here?

-I feel at home.

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-I feel right at home.

-We've got to sort something out, OK?

-OK.

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-Is it "Stay-ton" or "Stat-on?"

-It's "Stay-ton."

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-I got it right! Phew.

-Good for you.

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What do you want to start with tonight?

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We're going to start with an old song that I was raised with.

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My mum used to hum it on the porch in Alabama.

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-It's called Blessed Assurance.

-I can't wait. Take it away.

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# Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine

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# Oh what a foretaste of glory divine

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# Heir of salvation, purchase of God

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# Born of his spirit Washed in his blood

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# This is my story This is my song

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# I'm praising my saviour all the day long

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# This is my story This is my song

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# Praising my saviour all the day long. #

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Well done.

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How many times have people said that to you after you have sung,

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-I wonder?

-Oh, my goodness, since I was five years old!

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Blessed Assurance,

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-it's obviously a hymn that really does come from the heart.

-Yes.

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-And it's that one line in the chorus, isn't it?

-Yes.

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"This is my story."

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Yeah. I love that, because we all have a story.

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And he is blessed. We are all blessed.

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And we have the assurance that we know God

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and we know we are taken care of. It's a beautiful song, and I love it.

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As you said, your musical story started at a very early age.

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-Five years old.

-Yes.

-You are ushered to the pulpit of your local church.

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A normal five-year-old would go, "No way!" But not you.

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I was shaking, trust me. I was shaking in my boots, I tell you.

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They put me on this little chair.

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In Alabama, they used to make their chairs,

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-and they're not really sturdy.

-OK.

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And they kind of... You know, you move around.

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And I'm already shaking, and so the chair is shaking, I'm shaking.

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Everybody's shaking!

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-And all of a sudden, I just started singing the song.

-What did you sing?

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The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow.

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How does it go?

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# Like a ship that's tossed and driven

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# Battered by an angry sea

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# When the storms of life are raging

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# And the fury falls on me

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# I wonder what have I done

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# That makes this race so hard to run

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# Then I say to my soul, don't worry

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# Oooh The lord will make a way somehow. #

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-Wow.

-APPLAUSE

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So, basically, a really easy song for a five-year-old to sing(!)

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That's quite tough, isn't it?

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Well, yeah, but when you only have that. You only have your music.

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You've got to understand, back in the '50s, no TV, barely a radio.

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So we used to sing.

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My sister and I would sing ourselves to sleep every night.

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Until my mother came in and she would say,

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"If you don't stop, none of us can go to sleep!"

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And she'd make us be quiet. But we wanted to sing all day, all night.

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It's interesting, because the natural progression

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-is that you're then touring all over the place at a very young age.

-Yes.

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-And working with some of the biggest names in the world.

-Yes. Oh, yeah.

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I worked with Sam Cooke and I worked with Aretha. We were the youngest.

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We were the Jewel Gospel Trio.

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-The touring life was very hard, wasn't it?

-Yes, it was.

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-No education, hardly any food.

-Yeah. We sung our way through school.

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Home life was horrible.

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When we were little kids, my dad was a weekend alcoholic.

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He would go out gambling,

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and we wouldn't see him from Friday to Monday. So it was horrible.

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Life was horrible at home. But it was rough out there as well.

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You also became a little bit disillusioned with God

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around that time as well, didn't you?

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I guess you could say I got angry.

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Everybody, I guess, gets angry at God.

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When you don't really read the scripture and know him,

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in a personal relationship.

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You know when you were singing the secular pieces,

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did you miss the gospel music at all?

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I never stopped singing it.

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Even in the dressing rooms,

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when Young Hearts Run Free was a big hit,

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before I ever walked on the stage

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I would always sing - Precious Lord, Take My Hand

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Lead me on, let me stand I'm tired, I'm weak, I'm worn

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Through the storms, through the night, lead me on to the light.

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And what's the significance of the first piece

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that you're going to sing for us solo?

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Well, this song... My mum died in 1979 and we were very, very close.

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She was a woman of wisdom.

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She would tell me so many things that lead me today.

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Today I can hear her voice saying to me, "Don't do that.

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"If you do that, you'll get in trouble. You'd better listen to me."

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I'm really looking forward to hearing it. Do you want to get ready?

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Well, this is going to be a real treat.

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Here's Candi Staton with Mama.

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# Thought you'd like to know

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# All those nights you paced the floor

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# Praying I would make it home all right

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# Belief in God that he would someday save my soul

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# Well, he did And I thought you'd like to know

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# I thought you'd like to know All those prayers you prayed for me

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# Never once fell to the ground

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# I know sometimes it looked like I was a million miles from grace

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# He answered your prayers And I thought you'd like to know

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# Mama, I want you to know I love you

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# Please forgive me for all the times I broke your heart

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# Every tear you cried for me Drew me closer to being free

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# I want to thank you And I thought you'd like to know

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# I thought you'd like to know I wish I could live my life again

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# If I could I would surely make amends

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# Oh, yeah But if I can help

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# My sisters and brothers

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# A new life to discover

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# Then I will And I thought you'd like to know

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# Oh, Mama

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# I want you to know I love you

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# Please forgive me for all the times I broke your heart

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# Every tear you cried for me Took me closer to being free

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# I want to thank you And I thought you'd like to know

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# Mmmm I thought you'd like to know. #

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APPLAUSE

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Miss Candi Staton!

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Aged 74, Candi still regularly tours.

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-How are you doing?

-Today, she's at a music festival in Birmingham.

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Are you feeling all right tonight?

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-Woo!

-The line-up has been arranged by actor and DJ Craig Charles,

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a huge fan of Candi's soulful voice.

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It's like chocolate and velvet, and anger and pain,

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love and motherhood.

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It's like one of those really expensive wines.

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There's so many different flavours to it.

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# Oh, let our love survive

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# I keep it all inside. #

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It seems like I draw them in to me,

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and then I know what to say to them,

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or know how to phrase a song for them, you know?

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After a period of 20 years when she felt it was wrong to perform

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her secular hits, Candi now believes they have a place

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-and can make a difference.

-We call them life songs.

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Songs that talk about life.

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Things that we go through day to day, you know? We go through a lot.

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# Run free They'll never be hung up... #

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In the Bible it says older women teach the younger women

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the right way to go.

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Those things are lessons for us. We are teachers.

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# Who-a-a... #

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She brings so much love, so much God, so much belief and faith

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to her secular music, that you do wonder what she was worried about.

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# Oh, yeah Oh, young hearts... #

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'One lady came up and she said,'

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"I just felt like I've gone to church."

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She said, "I felt like I've been in church."

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I said, "Well, in a way, baby, you have. You've been in church!

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"You were touched tonight." She said, "I'm going to church in the morning."

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Well, Candi is certainly a hard-working lady.

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She's taking a breather right now and so it's our turn to sing.

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It's a classic hymn that's been given a bit of a groove.

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Praise To The Lord.

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Let's talk about the numerous hits that you've had.

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Wonderful songs like Nights On Broadway.

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But one song in particular, I suppose.

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-You know where I'm going with this, don't you?

-Yes, I do.

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Young Hearts Run Free. For so many people, it's that jolly, disco song.

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-There's more to it than that.

-Yeah.

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To me, personally, it's a bittersweet song

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because it was birthed from a very difficult time in my life.

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I was with someone that was very abusive

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and he lifted me over the balcony

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from the 24th floor of the Aladdin Hotel

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and threatened to drop me off.

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And David Crawford,

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who was my producer at the time, had just got with Warner Brothers.

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And he was so sympathetic.

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And he said, "Well, we're going to pray."

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But he said, "I must write some songs around this," he said.

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And then he went on a fast, which is so unusual for me.

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David fasted 40 days, just water.

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And he said, "I'm going to write you a song that's going to last forever."

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So he wrote that song and we went into the studio.

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As a matter of fact, he finished the second verse on a break.

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He only had the first verse. And he said, "Take a break, go to lunch."

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He said, "I'll have the second verse by the time you're back from lunch."

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By the time I came back from lunch... # It's high time now

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# Just one crack at life

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# Who wants to live it in trouble and strife?

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# My mind must be free to learn all I can about me

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# Do-do-do... # OK?

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# I'm going to love me for the rest of my days

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# Encourage the babies every time they say

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# Self-preservation is what's really going on today. #

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He wrote that verse when we were having lunch.

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I was so into it because I was singing me.

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You have suffered a lot of abuse over the years,

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in different relationships. Was music a therapy in a way, then?

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It's my friend.

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It is the only consolation sometimes that I have.

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I've learnt, the thing is, I don't look at it as a set back,

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-but a step forward.

-Right.

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I learn and I gain wisdom and knowledge and understanding.

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And I get stronger.

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And I'm a person that's just determined

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that nothing is going to stop me until it's time up.

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When God himself stops me, then I'll stop.

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But nothing on this Earth is going to stop me.

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You're going to sing a song now, When Jesus Came Into My Heart.

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Now, does this mean that you and God are best pals again?

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You're all sorted? There aren't any problems?

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-And this is how it's going to be for ever?

-Oh, yeah. He didn't leave me.

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I left him.

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So, he knows you might stray.

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You might go out there for a little while and play around,

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but he knows in the end you're coming home

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because you've been ordained to come home.

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Well, listen, your home is at the front of that stage

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with the microphone in your hand. So, you go and take yourself home.

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-I will. Thank you, Aled.

-I'm really looking forward to hearing this.

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Ladies and gentlemen, this is Candi Staton

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with Since Jesus Came Into My heart.

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# Mmmmm

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# What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought

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# Since Jesus came into my heart

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# Oh, yes

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# I have joy in my soul for so long I have sought

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# Since Jesus came into my heart

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# Well, I have ceased from my wanderings

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# And my going, going astray

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# Since Jesus came into my heart My, my

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# And my sins which were many You see, the Lord washed them

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# He washed them all away

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# Since Jesus came into my heart

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# I want to let you know

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# Since Jesus came into my heart

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# Oooh! Since Jesus came into my heart

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# Ooh, yeah!

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# Floods of joy o'er my soul Like the sea billows roll

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# Since Jesus came into my heart You know what?

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# There's a light in the valley of death now for me

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# Well, well Since Jesus came into my heart

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# And you know what else?

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# The gates to that city I believe, I believe I can see

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# Since Jesus came into my heart

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# I want to let you know

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# Since Jesus came into my heart

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# I want to Do you know what I'm talking about?

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# Since Jesus came into my heart

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# Well, well

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# Floods of joy o'er my soul

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# Like the sea, sea billows roll

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# Since Jesus came into... Listen

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# Since Jesus came into... I have a brand-new world

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# Yeah If you know he came into your heart

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# Come on, put those hands together

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# This is Songs Of Praise, yeah

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# Yeah, we're going to praise him

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# Came into... Since Jesus came into my heart

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# Yeah, yeah, yeah! Ye-a-h. Ooh! #

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APPLAUSE

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How amazing was that? Well, now it's up to the congregation

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to fill this glorious church with music

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with a hymn based on the Magnificat.

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Mary's song of thanks to God

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that she is to become a rather special mother.

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Tell Out, My Soul.

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Well, I'll tell you what, there are so many Candi fans

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here in the congregation, including Emma here.

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-You've got a question, haven't you?

-I do, yes.

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Who haven't you sung with that you would like to?

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I was pondering over the people that I've actually sung with.

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I've sung with Ray Charles and Gladys Knight and James Brown

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and the Commodores. Just so many.

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-But to answer your question, I think Adele.

-Adele?

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-I would love to do a song with Adele.

-Have you sung with Stevie Wonder?

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-Yes.

-OK.

-Stevie too. LAUGHTER

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She actually meant what she said. She has sung with everyone,

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literally! Very good question, well done.

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-Carmen, you've got a question, haven't you?

-Yes, I have. Hi, Candi.

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-Hi.

-We know that in your growing-up years

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-you had some very upsetting times.

-Yes.

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Are you now able to forgive those who mistreated you?

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Yes. Forgiveness is a process.

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And I had to first pray and ask God to give me the grace to forgive.

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Because the pictures keep coming up in your mind.

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And each time one comes up, I just said, "No, I love you.

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"I love you anyway. I'm going to love you whether you love me or not."

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It takes time. It takes a while sometimes for me to get there.

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-But eventually I'll get there.

-Thank you very much. Good question.

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And the Reverend Marcus Anthony, you've got a question.

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What life lessons can you pass on to your grandchildren?

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They've been there.

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A lot of my children and grandchildren were big enough,

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they were old enough to see what I was going through

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and they helped me through a lot of stuff.

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And they saw the mistakes I made.

0:29:330:29:36

One of my granddaughters just said to me the other day, she said,

0:29:360:29:39

"Grandma, if it had not been for that incident you went through,

0:29:390:29:44

"I don't think I could have gone through what I've gone through."

0:29:440:29:47

She was having relationship problems.

0:29:470:29:49

And she said to me, "If you can handle that, I can handle anything."

0:29:490:29:54

Thank you very much. Good questions, all of you. Well done.

0:29:540:29:57

Give yourselves a round of applause.

0:29:570:29:59

Candi, I've got to say, it's been the biggest honour ever,

0:30:040:30:07

not just sharing a stage with you,

0:30:070:30:09

but sharing a church with you as well. I hope you've enjoyed it.

0:30:090:30:12

I have loved it.

0:30:120:30:13

I have felt so at home, and the people... You guys are great.

0:30:130:30:16

It's Mothering Sunday and you're a very special mother.

0:30:180:30:20

-Thank you.

-So we've got a little present for you.

-Oh, goodness.

0:30:200:30:24

-Fresh from my garden...

-Oh! APPLAUSE

0:30:240:30:29

They smell wonderful. Thank you.

0:30:290:30:32

And if ever I didn't want a Songs Of Praise to end, this is it.

0:30:400:30:43

But unfortunately, we have come to the end.

0:30:430:30:45

We're going to end with a song,

0:30:450:30:46

a favourite with both English rugby fans and music fans.

0:30:460:30:49

It's a stirring way to finish, as well. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

0:30:490:30:53

From Candi, myself and everyone here, good night to you.

0:30:530:30:56

Next week, Cardinal Vincent Nichols reflects on his role

0:33:190:33:22

as leader of the Catholic community in England and Wales.

0:33:220:33:25

Sally meets the doctor with some very fit patients.

0:33:250:33:29

Our hymns come from

0:33:290:33:30

the spectacular St Oswald and St Edmond Arrowsmith Catholic Church.

0:33:300:33:34

In a special edition for Mothering Sunday, singer Candi Staton talks to Aled Jones about her faith and long career. She performs the song Mama that she wrote especially for her mother, and she reveals how her big hit of the summer of '76, Young Hearts Run Free, far from being a happy disco song, is in fact about her life suffering domestic abuse. Candi talks about how her faith got her through and leads the congregation in some classic hymns including Tell Out My Soul, Blessed Assurance and Praise to the Lord.


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