by: Howard Tate

About a year after masterful soul singer Howard Tate returned to active duty with the album Rediscovered following nearly 30 years out of the music business, he was booked to play a major music festival in Denmark, and someone had the good sense to commit his set to tape. To listen to Live, an album drawn from that Denmark concert, you wouldn't guess this guy spent the better part of three decades between gigs -- Tate's voice is in great shape; his delivery is committed, passionate, and fully authoritative at all times; and the fact that he's one of the less celebrated figures in R&B history actually works in his favor on this album. While a handful of hardcore soul obsessives may have a working familiarity with the original studio takes of "Get It While You Can" and "Look at Granny Run Run," most folks will have to judge this disc without comparison to Tate's classic recordings, and on its own terms this is a great performance from a man who still carries the sweet fire of the golden age of soul and can sing with pure feeling without overplaying his hand. Tate's band, powered by a tight and sympathetic horn section and Austin DeLone's gospel-flavored organ, generates a deep and satisfying groove in the great tradition of Southern soul, and if this isn't the definitive Howard Tate album, it leaves no doubt that the man is still a force to be reckoned with, good news for soul fanatics and anyone else who loves good music from the heart and the gut. Someone get this man back in the studio again before he takes another 25-year break! ~ Mark Deming

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