Howard Tate – Look At Granny Run Run

Howard Tate – Look At Granny Run Run from the Verve Records 45

I first heard this joint through my man Devil Dick. It was on my want list (which is growing larger and larger every day, it’s a mile long), and I figured when it came around in the field I’d scoop it up. Well, it came around recently and I couldn’t say no. It’s funny, and I know a lot of you record guys can feel my pain. There is just so much music out there, it’s never ending. I can’t say no to any of the great 45s. When I pick up one great side, there’s always 10 more that go on the list, and so on and so on. This side is another example of something I had to get my hands on, and I urge you to jump on it if you get the chance. Check out Howard Tate and “Look At Granny Run Run” om Verve Records from 1966.

Born in Macon, Georgia in 1939 and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Howard Tate grew up around music. Joining a Gospel group with future Soul luminary Garnett Mimms, he’d also record with the Gainors, who were formerly the Bel-Aires ( with Sam Bell, Willie Combo, and Mimms) during the early 1960’s and record on Mercury. He’d then go on to perform as a vocalist with organist Bill Dogett. It would be a chance introduction by Mimms (or was it his back up singers in The Enchanters?) that would introduce Jerry Ragovoy into his career. The two would partner up and for around ten singles, and Tate would release records first on Utopia, then his longer stint with Verve, which this record is on. He’d also record sides for Lloyd Price’s Turntable, Atlantic, and finally Epic. Tate is another unsung hero of Soul music. Not really known outside the hardcore Soul circles, his success was measured more in cult status than in monetary value. He turned out a variety of minor hits: “Stop”, “Get It While You Can”, and “Ain’t Nobody Home”. He would step out of music from 1974 on, making a brief appearance in the 1980’s, before becoming a drug addict and homeless. Rediscovered in the early 2000’s, he cleaned up his act, made a few new records, and started playing shows. His music has been covered by Janis Joplin, Ry Cooder, and Jimi Hendrix, and at close to 70 years of age, really has shown no sign of stopping.

With a nice piano hook, and funky bass line, this tale of a horny Grand Dad stays in the pocket and paints a vivd picture of Granny running around the house from her now randy husband after a visit from the doctor and a gift of a magical pill. Jerry Ragovoy and Howard Tate really knew how to fuse together Gospel, Soul and the blues. They enlisted some great New York session players (Eric Gale and Paul Griffin among others) that gave Tate a superb sound. It almost seems like a broken record (no pun intended) when I review these sides: Southern church boy goes from church to secular music, then goes away, gets on drugs, gets swindled, and fades further into obscurity. However, there is a happy ending to this. Tate is back on track, recording and performing, and while still holding his underground status has remained an inspiration for many musicians today. Here is what one great musician had to say about him:

“One of the sweetest voices in soul music, combined with one of the most savvy soul producers—Howard Tate & Jerry Ragavoy—and God has seen fit to reincarnate them! Is this a beautiful country or what —Al Kooper

Keep Diggin’!

9 responses to “Howard Tate – Look At Granny Run Run

  1. Every Verve release of Tate’s I’ve heard is a killer. I picked up a couple last year for less than an English pound. Believe me my particular part of the UK is a desert when it comes to digging for soul from the golden age so you can imagine I was a happy boy that day.

  2. Cheers my funk soul brother!
    This is a good one!
    Looks like no digging tomorrow as the weather looks aweful…
    And oh man do i feel your pain with the records and want lists….. do i ever…

  3. Love this one! I first heard it on a BBC radio show where UK music legend Paul Weller was playing some of his favourite records. He introduced it by saying something like, “This one pre-dates the whole Viagra thing. It’s a story of a man who went to the doctor to get something to put a bit of lead back in the old pencil.” Classic!

    Hope all is well Pres’!!!

    Peace and SOUL,

  4. Howard Tate has a new CD, “Blue Day,” due out on the Evidence label on August 12, 2008. It’s produced by Jon Tiven and features Steve Cropper and Felix Cavaliere.

  5. Astounding Work! I’ve had this on the Capital Blues Ensemble list since discovering it (and other gems) on teh PHANTOM BLUES BAND album a while back. Last night’s rehearsal Dave (keyboards) found RY COODER’s version and I was amazed that (like always it seems) again I’m the LAST on my block to find something ‘new’…
    and today here I find you sharing The Source… great to tie this version with what the PBB clearly took from it whole and didin;t mess up a whit… just some polish and arrangement work.

  6. Pingback: R.I.P. Howard Tate | Flea Market Funk·

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