Howard Tate, Reaction

Dan Epstein

By Dan Epstein

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Rediscovered, Howard Tate's excellent 2003 comeback album, introduced this severely underrated soul singer to a new generation, and rekindled interest in his '60s and '70s recordings. But while most soul collectors swear by his late '60s Verve sides and his self-titled 1972 Atlantic LP, this 1970 session for Lloyd Price's Turntable label somehow continues to slip through the cracks. Produced by Price and Johnny Nash, Reaction is a warm collection of funky Southern soul ("My Soul's Got a Hole in It," "Have You Ever Had the Blues," and an emotional reading of Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang"), horn-driven northern soul dancers ("Question," "Little Volcano," "It's Too Late") and even a touch of early reggae (a faithful cover of Nash's "Hold Me Tight"). Tate's aching vocals hit the mark throughout the album, and the playing (courtesy of New York and Jamaican session vets) positively drips with bacon grease, making Reaction a must-hear for any fan of classic soul.