Howard Tate

Soul Legend's Triumphant Return to New Orleans

Otis Clay
One of the most important and enjoyable musical rediscoveries of the last decade is that of Howard Tate. In the late 1960s, Tate recorded a clutch of well-crafted soul classics. Songs about love, and inconsistent love, that were covered by artists as varied as B. B. King, Elvis Costello, Hugh Masekala, Janis Joplin, Little Bob & the Lollipops.

Howard TateBorn in Macon, Georgia, in 1939, he was raised in Philadelphia where sang doo wop on street corners with the Gainors, a group that also included Garnett Mims The group went on to record for Mercury and Cameo, but with little sucess. Mims went of to a successful recording career and he introduced Tate to his producers, Jerry Ragovoy and Bill Fox. The duo struck a deal with Verve Records in 1966 and Tate's second single, "Ain't Nobody Home," went straight to the top of the charts. Other hits from this period included, "Stop," and the memorable "Look At Granny Run."

After Verve, Tate recorded with Lloyd Price's Turn Table label, Epic and Atlantic, but only had neighborhood hits. Tate eventually drifted away from the music business and briefly sold securities before his inner demons got a hold of him. Tate was able to defeat those demons and he worked as a drug counselor for several years. A 1995, reissue of his Verve singles revived interest in Tate's music, but his whereabouts were unknown . Eventually tracked down by a Jersey City disc jockey, Tate actually rebooted his career here in New Orleans in 2001 where he made his first public appearance in over two decades at one of the first Ponderosa Stomp related concerts. Since then, Tate has made several well-received CDs, including most recently a live set recorded in Denmark.

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