Tate, Howard


Band members                          Related acts

- Howard Tate -- vocals, guitar

 

 

 

- none known

 

 

 


 

Genre: soul

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Howard Tate's Reaction

Company: JAD/Turntable

Catalog: TTS-5002   

Year: 1970

Country/State: Macon, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: Canadian pressing; still in shrink wrap (opened); cut out hole

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6186

Price: $75.00

 

 

When Howard Tate's debut album "Get It While You Can" disappeared without a trace, Verve Records essentially lost interest in Tate.  Needing to pay his bills Tate continued to be a popular draw on the Northeast club circuit, eventually finding a mentor in the form of Lloyd Price.  In addition to owning the New York nightclub Turntables which frequently featured Tate, in 1968 Price formed Turntables Records which was in turn distributed by Johnny Nash's JAD label.  One of the label's first signings was Tate.

 

Co-produced by Price and Nash ,1970's "Howard Tate's Reaction" had a somewhat tortured history.  Some of the tracks were apparently recorded for a planned Coasters comeback album, but the project fell apart leaving Price to salvage the sessions by bringing Tate in to recut vocals over the previously recorded backing tracks.  In spite of the set's troubled roots, musically the eleven tracks proved a great fit for Tate.  Tate had a unique tenor that I've always found highly attractive and this time out he actually sounded more confident and comfortable in the studio surroundings.  That said, Gerry Thomas and Arthur Jenkins occasionally threatened to drown Tate out with their overly busy arrangements.  Showcasing a heavy dose of Price-penned material, the album may have been release in 1970, but songs like 'Question' and 'Plenty of Love' had a distinctive 1966-67 feel.  Hard to describe it, but the album just sounded kind of dated (in a good way).  

 

- 'Question' opened the album with a wonderful up tempo number.  With an instantly catchy, looping rhythm, Tate seldom sounded as easy going and comfortable.  Yeah, the female backing vocalists were a bit shrill, but who cared when the rest of the song was so good.   Shame it didn't go on longer.   rating: **** stars

- A James Brown influenced rocker, 'Have You Ever Had the Blues' wasn't the album's most original offering, but proved a surprisingly good fit for Tate's occasionally fragile voice.  He literally kicked the crap out of this one ....   Easy to see why it was picked as the album's leadoff single.   rating: *** stars

- A highly commercial slice of pop-soul, 'Plenty of Love' this one had everything needed to make it big on the radio - great melody; nice Latin-tinged percussion, killer horn charts, and a fantastic Tate vocal.  You had to wonder why it wasn't released as a single.  Always loved the end of song nod to Wilson Picket ...   rating: **** stars

- One of the few non-Price numbers, 'That's What Happens' was another wonderful pop-soul number that sounded a but like a top-40 Rufus Thomas performance.  This one had everything the previous song had, along with an even better lyric ...  how could you not love a song that included 'hypochondriac' in the lyric ?    Easily one of the album's standout performance, it was tapped as the album's second single.     rating: **** stars

- Opening up with some skitterish Steve Cropper-styled lead guitar 'Little Volcano' was simply a lost soul classic.    One of the few songs I'd give a five star rating to.   rating: ***** stars  

- The first mild disappointment, with it's predictable call and response arrangement, 'It's Too Late' sounded like a second rate Sam and Dave number.  Second rate Sam and Dave isn't bad so take this one with a grain of salt.     rating: *** stars

- Nash's ska-flavored 'Hold Me Tight' was apparently one of the aborted Coaster sessions.  Musically the arrangement didn't differ much from Nash's original version which had been a hit the year before, but the surprising thing was how good Tate sounded working in the ska genre.  One of the album highlights ...   rating: **** stars

- The mid-tempo ballad 'Come Into My Heart' (previously a big hit for Price), sounded positively old-school and was probably another session from the aborted Coasters projects.  The song didn't have much of a melody, though Tate gave the song his all.  rating: ** stars

- 'What'll I Do' was a conventional, blues-tinged ballad showcasing one of Tate's most intense vocals and some pretty acoustic guitar.  This was another track that would have benefited from a stripped down arrangement.

- Slowed down to almost a dirge pace Tate's cover of Sam Cooke's classic 'Chain Gang' was interesting.  It wasn't enough to make you forget the original, but stood as one of the better covers of the classic tune I've heard.   rating: *** stars

- Tapped as the album's third single, 'My Soul's Got a Hole In It' was another track that sounded somewhat dated for its 1970 release date.  To my ears the track actual had kind of a Sam Cooke feel to it, though Tate seemed surprisingly unaffected in his performance.   rating: *** stars

- Not only did it have the album's best song title, but 'These Are the Things That Make Me Know You're Gone' stood as the album's standout performance.  Tate managed to break heartbreak down into terms anyone could understand ...   rating: ***** stars

 

A couple of singles were released off the album:

 

 

- 1969's 'That's What Happens' b/w 'These Are the Things That Make Me Know You Re Gone' JAD/(Turntable catalog number TT 505)

- 1969's 'Have You Ever Had the Blues' b/w 'Plenty of Love' (JAD/Turntable catalog number TT 507)

- 1969's 'My Soul's Got a Hole In It' b/w 'It's Too Late' (JAD/Turntable catalog number TT 508)

 

Simply a wonderful album that deserved a far better fate.  Well worth looking for.

 

"Howard Tate's Reaction" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Question   (Lloyd Price - H. Logan) - 2:18

2.) Have You Ever Had the Blues   (Lloyd Price - H. Logan) - 2:35

3.) Plenty of Love   (Lloyd Price) - 2:40

4.) That's What Happens   (Al Pyfrom - Jimmie Norman) - 2:42

5.) Little Volcano   (L. Dixon) - 2:35

6.) It's Too Late   (Lloyd Price) - 2:25

(side 2)
1.) Hold Me Tight   (Johnny Nash( - 2:25

2.) Come Into My Heart   (Lloyd Price - H. Logan) - 2:27

3.) What'll I Do   (Lloyd Price) - 2:45

4.) Chain Gang   (Sam Cooke) - 2:56

5.) My Soul's Got a Hole In It   (Titus Turner) - 2:49

6.) These Are the Things That Make Me Know You're Gone   (Jimmie Norman) - 2:20

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Howard Tate

Company: Atlantic

Catalog: SD-8303   

Year: 1972

Country/State: Macon, Georgia

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: bullet hole lower right corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4994

Price: $75.00

 

Reunited with mentor/producer/writer Jerry Ragovoy and finally signed to a major label, the combination of Tate's talent, Atlantic Record's deep pockets, in-house resources and marketing clouts should have ensured 1972's cleverly titled "Howard Tate" was a major hit and Tate finally a major star.  Once again produced and largely penned by Ragovoy, the set showcased Tate's killer falsetto against some highly commercial soul and funk moves.  Highlights included the opener 'She's a Burglar', 'Where Did My Baby Go' and the Tate-penned 'The Bitter End' (the only Tate original).  At the same time the album marked a modest effort to broaden Tate's audience. In addition to standard soul moves, the set included a surprisingly pair of rock covers.  Tate's cover of Dylan's 'Girl of the North Country' was breath-taking - simply one of the best Dylan covers by a soul artist.  As for Tate's cover The Band's 'Jemima Surrender' ... Well it was apparently Ragovoy's idea.  Nice try guy.  Elsewhere Atlantic tapped the album for three singles:

 

- 1971's 'Keep Cool (Don't be a Fool)' b/w ??? (Atlantic catalog number 45-2836)

- 1972's 'You Don't Know Nothing About Love' b/w 'She's a Burglar' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2860)

- 1972's '8 Days On the Road' b/w 'Girl of the North Country' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2894)

 

Unhappy with Atlantic's choice of singles (none charted) and with the company unwilling to support Tate's touring expenses, he promptly signed with Epic Records.

 

"Howard Tate" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) She's a Burglar   (Jerry Ragovoy) - 2:44

2.) 8 Days On the Road   (Jerry Ragovoy - Michael Gayle) - 2:39

3.) You Don't Know Nothing About Love   (Jerry Ragovoy) - 2:33

4.) When I Was a Young Man   (Jerry Ragovoy - Joe Levine) - 2:21

5.) Girl of the North Country   (Bob Dylan) - 3:42

6.) Where Did My Baby Go   (Jerry Ragovoy) - 2:25

(side 2)
1.) Keep Cool (Don't Bea Fool)   (Jerry Ragovoy) - 2:45

2.) Jemima Surrender   (J. Robbie Robertson - Levon Helm) - 2:29

3.) Strugglin'   (Jerry Ragovoy - Michael Gaye) - 2:35

4.) It's Heavy   (Jerry Ragovoy - Gene Pistilli - 3:14

5.) It's Your Move   (Jerry Ragovoy - Joe Levine) - 3:40

6.) The Bitter End  (Howard Tate) - 2:44 

 

 

 

 

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