Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Rediscovery Recordings of Howard Tate

Howard Tate was one of the significant musical figures who passed away in 2011. His recordings in the 1960s were covered by the like of Janis Joplin, and his own Verve album became legendary. I was privileged to see him in 2002 shortly after his rediscovery and his performance was indeed memorable. I purchased this CD and my review of it (corrected for this blog) appeared in the Dec. 2003 - Jan. 2004 DC Blues Calendar which was the newsletter of the DC Blues Society.

The rediscovery of soul singer Howard Tate was certainly welcome by those who have heard his legendary Verve album, Get It While You Can. This writer was fortunate to see him at the 2002 Pocono Blues Festival and was delighted to acquire

Rediscovered, his first recordings in about three decades, on Private Music. Reunited with Jerry Ragovoy, who wrote most of the songs here and plays piano on most as well, Tate sounds as strong a vocalist as he did three-and-a-half decades ago.

Most of the material is deep soul although a couple of blues gems are included such as Don’t Need No Monkey on My Back. There certainly is a blues tinge to some of the material that is also reflective in the bluesy accompanying guitar while the Uptown Horns provide their usual crisp and punchy backing. Among other standout numbers are the opening Mama Was Right and All I Know is the Way I Feel. I would not be surprised to see the latter song become a favorite for cover versions. There is also a fine version of Prince’s Kiss as well as a gospel number Eternity before the album concludes with Tate reprising Get It While You Can accompanied just by Ragovoy’s piano.

This album certainly will please the fans of Tate’s classic recordings and for others this serves as a first-rate introduction to a soul survivor who is at the top of his game.

Here is a video of Howard & Jerry Ragavoy doing Get It While You Can.

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