Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — November 23, 2021

259) Howard Tate — “Ain’t Nobody Home”

Richie Unterberger says of Howard Tate in All Music Guide:

Highly regarded by soul music cultists and virtually unknown by anybody else, Howard Tate had some minor success . . . in the late ’60s. The singer brought a lot of blues and gospel to his phrasing . . . . He’s most famous to rock audiences as the original performer of “Get It While You Can,” which became one of Janis Joplin’s signature tunes.

Harry Weinger tells us in the liner notes to Tate’s “rediscovery” CD that:

He was on the radio, was covered by the likes of Janis, Jimi Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad and B.B. King, and his style clearly influenced singers from Steve Winwood to Al Green. Then he disappeared. . . . [Before he was rediscovered,] Howard, it turned out, had given up on music. He also suffered tragic family loss, ended up addicted on the streets of Camden. A religious awakening brought him back to church in 1994, where he ministers and feeds the homeless in south Jersey.

“Ain’t Nobody Home” was Tate’s first single and biggest success (reaching #63 in August ’66 (#12 on the R&B chart)). I think it would work well for Adele:

“Boy, you put me through some pain and misery. And now you’re standing at my doorstep, telling me how much you need me. Ain’t nobody home. Ain’t nobody home. How many times I begged for you to come home. But you laughed at me and said to let you alone. Through my falling tears I saw you walk away. And now you beg me to forgive you. But this time, baby, it’s your turn to pay. Ain’t nobody home.”

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