Howard Tate - “Ain’t Nobody Home”
Single release 1966, available on Get It While You Can (1966)
Today, we turn our attention back to soul great Howard Tate, who has spent most of his career flying under the radar, but who has nevertheless earned acclaim from soul fanatics over the decades.
Part of his mystique is due to the fact that, after a career that seemed to be on the ascendancy in the 1960s, Tate's fortunes took a turn for the worse by the early ’70s; the minor hits stopped coming, the music career dried up, and Tate developed a drug habit that led to homelessness. For many years, it was an open question over whether he was even still alive or not. In 2001, though, he improbably resurfaced, started performing live again, and even returned to the studios. Still pretty much a cult figure, but it's a happier ending for this guy than one would've previously imagined.
One of his best singles, “Ain’t Nobody Home,” was written by his producer, Jerry Ragovoy (as was most of his best material), and it’s probably my favorite Tate track. It’s a mid-tempo soul shuffle, with the classic R&B combo and horn section lifting Tate’s soaring falsetto up as he sings about rebuffing the advances of an old, cold-hearted girlfriend. Whereas he used to go begging for her to take him back, the tables have now turned - but he’s on to better things, and happily telling her to take a hike. In 2004, the Hip-O Select label released a remastered version of the Get It While You Can album, and that’s the version I’m posting. Great, great stuff here.
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