Howard Tate: 1939-2011

1960s soul singer songwriter Howard Tate has died. Tate was known for the hits "Ain't Nobody Home," "Stop," and "Look at Granny Run Run" but also as the creator of "Get It While You Can," which, while not a hit for Tate, later became a smash when covered by Janis Joplin.

Tate was raised in Philadelphia. In his teens, he joined a gospel music group that included Garnet Mimms and, as the Gainors, recorded rhythm and blues sides for Mercury Records and Cameo Records in the early 1960s. Tate performed with organist Bill Doggett and returned to Philadelphia.

1960s soul singer songwriter Howard Tate has died. Tate was known for the hits "Ain't Nobody Home," "Stop," and "Look at Granny Run Run" but also as the creator of "Get It While You Can," which, while not a hit for Tate, later became a smash when covered by Janis Joplin.

Tate was raised in Philadelphia. In his teens, he joined a gospel music group that included Garnet Mimms and, as the Gainors, recorded rhythm and blues sides for Mercury Records and Cameo Records in the early 1960s. Tate performed with organist Bill Doggett and returned to Philadelphia.

Mimms, leading a group called the Enchanters, introduced Tate to record-producer Jerry Ragovoy, who began recording Tate for Verve Records. Utilizing top New York City session musicians such as Paul Griffin, Richard Tee, Eric Gale, Chuck Rainey and Herb Lovell, Tate and Ragovoy produced, from 1966 to 1968, a series of bluesy soul-music recordings that are regarded as some of the most sophisticated of the era. "Ain't Nobody Home" (1966), "Look at Granny Run Run" (1966), "Baby I Love You" (1967), and "Stop" (1968) all written or co-written by Ragovoy, were well received by record buyers. "Ain't Nobody Home", "Look At Granny" and "Stop" charted pop and top 20 R&B.

Tate's reputation among critics was high, though he never was a big selling artist. As Robert Christgau writes in his review of Tate's Verve material, "Tate is a blues-drenched Macon native who had the desire to head north and sounds it every time he gooses a lament with one of the trademark keens that signify the escape he never achieved. He brought out the best in soul pro Jerry Ragovoy, who made Tate's records jump instead of arranging them into submission, and gave him lyrics with some wit to them besides."

Tate, working apart from Ragovoy, made an album called Howard Tate's Reaction that was released in 1970 on Turntable Records. Produced by Lloyd Price and Johnny Nash, it was distributed in minute quantities, and critics felt it lacked the flair of his Verve material. The record was reissued, as Reaction, in 2003. Ragovoy and Tate reunited for the 1972 Atlantic Records Howard Tate, which included more songs by Ragovoy along with Tate's versions of Bob Dylan's "Girl from the North Country" and Robbie Robertson's and Levon Helm's "Jemima Surrender." Again, the album was acclaimed by critics and virtually ignored by listeners.

After recording a single for Epic Records and a few songs for his own label, Tate retired from the record business in the late 1970s. He sold securities in the New Jersey and Philadelphia area, and in the 1980s developed a dependence on drugs, ending up living in a homeless shelter. In the mid-1990s Howard Tate began counselling drug abusers and the mentally ill, and worked as a preacher. A Jersey City disc jockey discovered Tate's whereabouts early in 2001, and in spring 2001 Tate played his first date in many years, in New Orleans. He then began working with Ragovoy on an album that was released, as Rediscovered, in 2003. It was regarded as a return to form and included covers of songs by Elvis Costello and Prince as well as a new version of "Get It While You Can."



In 2006, Shout! Factory released Howard Tate Live, recorded in Denmark in summer 2004. Working with producer, arranger and songwriter Steve Weisberg, Tate recorded A Portrait of Howard, which was released in fall 2006 on the independent Solid Ground label. It included compositions by Randy Newman, Nick Lowe, Lou Reed and Carla Bley, as well as songs written by Tate and Weisberg. In late 2007, Tate recorded Blue Day in Nashville with producer Jon Tiven. The record was released in summer 2008.

2010 saw a release of a limited vinyl only direct-to-disc live recording from Blue Heaven Studios with Tate and his touring quartet performing songs from his catalog.

On December 2, 2011 Tate passed away from complications of Multiple Myeloma and Leukemia.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Howard Tate.

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