Howard Tate: Howard Tate
Highly regarded by soul music cultists, and virtually unknown by anybody else, Howard Tate had some minor
success with the Verve label in the late '60s. The singer brought a lot of blues and gospel to his phrasing, but
what made him palatable to the modern R&B (and, to a lesser degree, pop) audience was the Northeast soul
production of Jerry Ragovoy, who also wrote much of Tate's material. Howard made the R&B Top 20 three times
in the late '60s (with "Ain't Nobody Home," "Stop," and "Look at Granny Run Run"). However, he's most famous
to rock audiences as the original performer of "Get It While You Can," which became one of Janis Joplin's
Howard Tate from 1972 contains gritty, no-frills Southern soul, but Tate never quite
achieves the highs on Atlantic he had reached with Verve or Lloyd Price's Turntable label. He put plenty of
emotional punch and fire into these numbers, but couldn't elevate them or make them hits.
The Very Great Howard ("Ainít Nobody Home") Tateís
eponymous Jerry Ragavoy-produced 1972 Atlantic LP includes an awkward and extremely unconvincing
take on "Jemima Surrender".
This must have been part of someoneís attempt to play to what Otis Redding
memorably called "the love crowd" since the same album also has a misguided cover of
"Girl from the
North Country." The Band and Dylan songs stick out like a couple of ugly sore
thumbs on an otherwise
classy set of smooth urban soul.
Howard Tate was released on CD in 2001 (Koch CD-8311). It's a straight reissue -- original cover art and no bonus tracks -- but it has informative new notes by Freddie Patterson that include Tate's "rediscovery" this year. From the notes:
The Band's "Jemima Surrender," like the Dylan song ["Girl of the North Country"], is not an obvious choice for Tate. "When the Band did it, I loved it," said [producer Jerry] Ragovoy, "and I thought I could turn it into something for Howard. And it nearly worked."
Howard Tate - Howard Tate - 1972 - Atlantic SD-8303