Sunday, December 04, 2011

Now it's Howard Tate RIP + Hubert Sumlin

This has been a terrible week for sixties soul men. Now, Howard Tate, possessor of one of the most beautiful soul voices of the era, has died aged 72. A friend of Garnet Mimms through his early gospel roots, he was introduced to producer/songwriter Jerry Ragovoy (who also died this year) and recorded some scintillating and sophisticated soul records for Verve in the late sixties, including Ain't Nobody Home, Look at Granny Run Run, Baby I Love You, Get It While You Can and Stop. Howard recorded further albums for Turntable (produced by Lloyd Price and Johnny Nash) and Atlantic, but his career faltered and he left the music business in the late 1970s. A disc jockey discovered his whereabouts in 2001, and that year Howard 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 a new version of Get It While You Can.

I missed Howard in New Orleans, but saw him perform at Porretta in 2006 (see photo). It was a patchy performance and I wrote at the time: "The weakest day was Saturday where the headliner was Howard Tate. Fine on his early hits like Get it while you can and Ain't nobody home, he struggled with material from his latest CD as he read from a song sheet and, unlike Irma, failed to sing into the mic or, at times, keep in tune. He would have been fine as a support, but as the main act on the busiest night he didn't quite cut it."

A dreadful loss - yet another - all the same. Here's one of his greatest tracks

And now blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin has died, aged 80. This has been some week for lovers of blues and soul! Hubert played in Howlin' Wolf's band for many years and subsequently found continued success with other members of Wolf's band and as a solo artist. He was listed as one of Rolling Stone's 100 greatest guitarists. His last album About Them Shoes was released in 2004. I saw him perform several times, including a Howlin' Wolf tribute in New Orleans in 2005.


At 3:05 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bit more about his life from Dick Waterman:



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