Get It While You Can-Legendary Import
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Audio CD, Import, 20 Jun 1995
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The greatest soul singer ever to fall below '60s pop radar, Howard Tate remains a tantalizing cipher remembered only through explosive cover versions of his late '60s singles by a blue-chip array of fans including Janis Joplin, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, and Ry Cooder. Tate's original versions were even better: his ecstatic falsetto, sinuous tenor releases, and gruff asides placed him in a category of R&B vocal stylists as lofty as his stratospheric pompadour. But the Macon-born, Philadelphia-raised former doo-wopper eluded broader acclaim despite a string of powerful performances that just dented the charts. As produced by R&B stalwart Jerry Ragovoy, Tate's sessions mixed emotive standouts, including "Ain't Nobody Home," "Stop," "Get It While You Can," and "Look at Granny Run Run," with shrewd soul updates of electric blues classics like "How Blue Can You Get" and King's signature tune, "Everyday I Have the Blues." The singer's vein-popping performances are matched by rock-solid arrangements and production, well served in this overdue anthology. As for Tate, he disappeared into legend in the early '70s, making this mother lode of deathless soul all the more valuable. --Sam Sutherland
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US released March 2007 as a numbered limited edition CD of 5000 – "Get It While You Can – The Complete Legendary Verve Sessions" by HOWARD TATE is on Hip-O Select B0002210-02 and its 29-tracks break down as follows (74:55 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 are his debut album “Get It While You Can” – it was released April 1967 on Verve V-5022 (Mono) and Verve V6-5022 (Stereo). The STEREO mix is used here (all the singles are the Mono variant).
1. Ain’t Nobody Home 2. Part-Time Love 3. Glad I Knew Better 4. How Blue Can You Get 5. Get It While You Can 6. Baby, I Love You 7. I Learned It All The Hard Way 8. Everyday Have The Blues 9. How Come My Bulldog Don’t Bark 10. Look At Granny Run Run
Tracks 11 and 12 are "Stop" and "Sweet Love Child" - two STEREO tracks that were added onto the February 1969 reissue LP on Verve Records V6-5072 (it also had different artwork which is on the first page of the booklet).
Tracks 13 and 14 are "Ain't Nobody Home" and "How Come My Bulldog Don't Bark" – the A&B sides of a June 1966 USA 7" single on Verve VK 10420 (Mono)
Tracks 15 and 16 are "Look At Granny Run Run" and "Half A Man" – the A&B sides of a December 1966 USA 7" single on Verve VK 10464 (Mono)
Tracks 17 and 18 are “Get It While You Can” and “Glad I Knew Better” – the A&B sides of a March 1967 USA 7” single on Verve VK 10496 (Mono)
Tracks 19 and 20 are "Baby, I Love You" and "How Blue Can You Get" – the A&B sides of a May 1967 USA 7" single on Verve VK 10525 (Mono)
Tracks 21 and 22 are "I Learned It All The Hard Way" and "Part-Time Love" – the A&B sides of an August 1967 USA 7" single on Verve VK 10567 (Mono)
Tracks 23 and 24 are "Stop" and "Shoot 'Em All Down" – the A&B sides of a December 1967 USA 7" single on Verve VK 10573 (Mono)
Tracks 25 and 26 are "Everyday I Have The Blues" and "Night Owl" – the A&B sides of a June 1968 7" single on Verve VK 10604 (Mono)
Tracks 27 and 28 are “Sweet Love Child” and “I’m Your Servant” – the A&B sides of a November 1968 USA 7” single on Verve VK 10625 (Mono)
(Bonus) Track 29 "Give Me Some Courage" is an alternate mix first issued in 1995 on the Mercury Chronicles CD set “Get It While You Can: The Legendary Sessions”. It is freshly mixed for this CD.
Hip-O Select have used a favorite remaster engineer of mine – SUHA GUR. He’s had his hand in many great Soul reissues (especially on the Motown front) and received unanimous praise for them all. The sound is fantastic – punchy, present and full of sock-it-to-em emotion. It’s housed in a three-way foldout card digipak and is numbered in Gold to 5000 on the rear. The 20-page booklet has contributions from long time fan Harvey Weinger and musical associate, mentor and album Producer Jerry Ragovoy. It also reproduces the original liner notes from both issues of the album and well as track-by-track annotation.
Most white boys like me will know “Get It While You Can” and “Look At Granny Run Run” from Janis Joplin and Ry Cooder (both songs penned by the dynamic duo of Jerry Ragovoy and Mort Shuman). “Get It While You Can” got soul-rocked on Janis’ Joplin’s sublime “Pearl” album in 1971 while Ry Cooder did a furiously funny version of “Look At Granny Run Run” on his fabulous Americana “Bop Til You Drop” album in 1979. Even Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Stephen Stills covered “Stop” on their wicked Blues Rock album “Super Session” in 1968.
I love the huge feel of the STEREO album – tracks like “Glad I Knew Better” sound just amazing – instruments and his aching Little Richardesque vocals leaping out of the speakers (lyrics from it title this review). Both “Stop” and “Sweet Love Child” added on in 1969 only made an already perfect album even better.
I have the “Howard Tate” album he made on Atlantic in 1972 on the "Atlantic Soul Legends" 20CD Mini Box Set issued in 2012 (see separate review) that is a cracker as well. Unfortunately this CD quickly sold out and in 2014 has built up a hefty price tag – but this is one of those occasions where spending the wedge is worth it.
Beautiful stuff and one of the reasons why Hip-O Select is held in such affection by Soul fans and collectors…
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Producer Jerry Ragovoy not only always got great performances from Tate, he wrote great songs for him to work with. On the one side, "Get It While You Can" waxes some useful free advice. On the other side, the sly humor of "Look at Granny Run" offers an assurance that age is nothing but a damn concept. Another aspect of Ragovoy's intelligence was keeping the instrumentation basic and effective - one that could be heard in a Southern church.
On this enormously satisfying recap, it's Tate's voice that matters the most. Pick up on his notes of desperation on the blues standards "How Blue Can You Get" and "Part-Time Love". On other Ragovoy gems, such as "I Learned It All the Hard Way" and "Glad I Knew Better", Tate's quavering falsetto leaves a real footprint there in the best possible way. The final verdict, regarding singer Howard Edward Tate, is that he measures up to any of the soul and blues greats and he is outclassed by no one. So to the music-buying public, there's some work to do.
Growing up in the 50's & 60's, there was so much to be influenced by musically. In the Soul category, if nothing else by Howard Tate was noteworthy, "Ain't Nobody Home" was the epitome of what the greatest Soul Sounds were all about. And if you listened to Soul Radio, 1966 was arguably its best year in the 60's! Some may argue 1967 was better but some of '67's best tunes hit the airwaves in late '66.
Altogether, you had, "Try A Little Tenderness" by Otis, "Are You Lonely For Me Baby" by Freddie Scott, "I'm Walking Out On You" by Reuben Wright, "Reach Out I'll Be There" by The 4 Tops, "Wait A Minute" by Tim Tam & The Turn-Ons, and "Ain't Nobody Home" by Howard Tate. Yeah, it didn't stop there, there were hundreds of thousands tunes in that mighty year, but these were 'some of' my favorites Soul tunes that year. Yeah, 1967 was the year Otis and Freddie made the aforementioned hits popular, but it was late in 1966 when those songs hit the airwaves on Soul Radio. Of course, this is by no means intended to disrespect the very early '60's. I absolutely admired everything Soul-wise leading up to 1966.
"Look At Granny Run" is great [B+], his follow-up hit, but all you really, really need here is "Ain't Nobody Home" [A+++]! If you have to pay $100, it's worth it!
BTW, I got this CD back in the early 90's on Mercury, I wanted a cleaner version of "Ain't Nobody Home" that badly! I would've paid whatever the price tag.
I also still have the original 45rpm on Verve Records from 1966; scratches and all. ;)
"Part time Love" and a soul grove standout "Look at Granny Run Run" show Tate capable of delivering the goods at various tempos. Producer Ragovy was in the studio at the same time Aretha's Breakout record was being recorded and the feeling was that Tate would be the Next big thing. Tate, Unable to deal with industry pressures quickly faded back into obscurity and this record became a cutout bin standard.
The only people who were familiar with these tracks were musicians and a handful of collectors. Do yourself a favor and pick this CD up.