Howard Tate is the connoisseur's soul man of choice. His beautifully emotive rough-hewn vocal style often ignites the material he sings. That he has spent his career in virtual obscurity is one of popular music's more puzzling conundrums. That he all but vanished from music in the 70s and became a dug addict, drug counsellor and subsequently a preacher provides a thrilling narrative. That he returned in 2003 with an album worthy of his original work adds an appealing coda. Tate came to prominence as a member of The Gainors with Garnett Mimms, and also spent some time singing with Bill Doggett's band. He came to the attention of songwriter and producer Jerry Ragavoy, and the two worked on a run of successful R&B hits such as Ain't Nobody Home and Stop. Tate recorded the original version of Get It While You Can, popularised by Janis Joplin. After recording for Verve Records, Tate moved to Turntable Records, Atlantic Records (where his self-titled 1972 album contained a fantastic cover of Bob Dylan's Girl From The North Country), and finally Epic Records. After cutting several sides for the latter in 1974, he all but vanished. Following a campaign by a Jersey City disc jockey in 2001, Tate was tracked down and played his first live date for years in New Orleans. The album Rediscovered, a mix of classics, covers and new material was delivered with the voice of someone who had experienced much. Again, it was critically lauded yet commercially ignored. His remarkable comeback continued with albums A Portrait Of Howard and 2008's Blue Day.
Followers: Mick Hucknall, Janis Joplin, Elvis Costello
Influenced By: The Drifters, Sam Cooke, Lloyd Price...