Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Howard Tate's 1972 Blues

Howard Tate - It's Your Move

After writing Saturday's post about Howard Tate I was inspired to do another post this week. As noted in the Howard Tate interview referenced in Saturday's post, after Tate's initial brush with fame at Verve, he parted ways with Jerry Ragovoy and moved on to Lloyd Price and his Turntable label under the illusory promise that he would make more money there. The resulting album, 1969's Howard Tate's Reaction, was a decent album that didn't do very well and, after Howard's discovery of Turntable's mob ties, Tate returned to Ragovoy. Ragovoy tried to create a sound for Howard that was more suitable for 1972, but but despite his and Tate's efforts, the Atlantic LP Howard Tate that resulted got little promotion from the label and "Keep Cool (Don't Be a Fool)," one of the weakest songs on the album, was picked to be the lead-off single. The single and album flopped, and after a 1974 single on Epic met a similar fate, Tate and Ragovoy again parted ways. Tate self-produced a great deep soul single in 1976 ("Pride," featured on one of the podcasts) and a 12-inch single in the early '80s (when I wrote on Saturday that he hadn't recorded since 1976 I had forgotten about "Sweetness"), and then he vanished.

Fortunately, the re-emergence of Tate in 2001 resulted in a flurry of reissues of the Verve, Turntable and Atlantic material, so the 1972 LP has received a new lease on life. Although the Howard Tate album has a lot of great nuggets on it, including great readings of "Girl From The North Country" and "Jemima Surrender" and the Tate-penned "The Bitter End" (which I need to post, because it's a nice ballad featuring some Joe Tex-styled monologues by Tate), "It's Your Move" gets the nod to be today's selection since "Tuesday is blues day." This swinging blues finds Tate ready to dump a woman who has enjoyed all of the pecuniary benefits of their relationship but has offered nothing in return. "Look out the window, it don't look so sweet," Tate warns. "I can arrange it to put you back on the street." Serious stuff, huh?

1 comment:

Red Kelly said...

serious as a heart attack, yo!!

excellent cut, as always. You got it goin' on, Stepfather!