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Grady Tate - She Is My lady
 

Grady Tate - She Is My lady

Price: $20.00 currently not available     
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Genre: jazz
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  She Is My lady
Company: Janus
Catalog: JLS 3050
Year: 1972
Country/State: Durham, North Carolina
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: cut top right corner' white label promo copy
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 292
Price: $20.00

Best time to play: Saturday night after the kids have gone to bed

For a guy best known as a jazz drummer (having played with everyone from Quincy Jones to Simon and Garfunkel), I have to admit that 1972's "She Is My Lady" came as a major surprise to my ears. Produced and arranged by Bobby Martin, the album framed Tate as an adult contemporary soul singer - think along the lines of a gutsier Lou Rawls, or perhaps an O.C. Smith. Half of the album featured support from the cream of Philadelphia International's house band, while the other half showcased an all star cast of New York musicians. Across both sides of the album Tate certainly had an impressive voice; deep and raspy and he seemed quite comfortable with the collection's pop and soul outings. That said, producer Martin didn't seem to know what to do with Tate. Way too many of these songs seemed intent on marketing him as a love-man crooner. Mind you there wasn't anything wrong with ballads like the title track, the cocktail-jazzy 'Let's Fall In Love All Over Again', or '', but after awhile they began to suffer from the dreaded "sound alike" issue.

"She Is My Lady" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) She Is My Lady (George Clinton) - 4:36
The title track was a pretty, adult contemporary ballad. Quite commercial and radio-friendly, but frankly it sounded a bit formulaic to my ears. Not to worry since there were other treasures to come. rating: ** stars
2.) Whoever's Thrilling You (Is Killing Me) (Allen Toussaint) - 2:48
One of three Allen Toussaint covers, 'Whoever's Thrilling You (Is Killing Me)' was given a nice slinky bluesy vibe. Easily one of the album highlights. rating: **** stars
3.) Let's Fall In Love All Over Again (Robert L. Martin) - 3:46
Another pretty ballad, 'Let's Fall In Love All Over Again' added a touch of elevator jazz to the mix. rating: ** stars
4.) Sweet Touch of Love (Allen Toussaint) - 3:48
The second Toussaint cover, 'Sweet Touch of Love' cranked up the wattage with a breezy, slightly funky arrangement and some nice fuzz guitar and punchy horns. The brittle female backing singers weren't necessary, but so what ... rating: **** stars
5.) When You Get Right Down To It (Barry Mann) - 3:05
'When You Get Right Down To It' was easily the album's most pop-oriented tune and would have gotten an even higher rating were if not for Grady's needless scatting at the end. rating: *** stars

(side 2)
1.) Freedom from the Stallion (Allen Toussaint) - 3:24
Perhaps the best overall performance, Tate's cover pf this Toussaint classic showcased what a great voice the man had; especially when given a Stax-styled arrangement. rating: **** stars
2.) I Wish I Could Walk Away (Bobby Goode - More Goodel) - 4:36
'I Wish I Could Walk Away' was the album's most conventional jazz number which didn't do much for my ears. Very supper-club-ish to my ears. rating: ** stars
3.) I Just Wanna Be There (Nickolas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 4:01
Tate's cover of this Ashford and Simpson number was simultatneously slinky and soulful. Odd to say, but even though it was recorded in New York, it was the track with the most Philly International feel. Great bassline from Ron Carter ... rating: **** stars
4.) WIlloughby Groove (R.W. Scott - Danny Meehan) - 4:58
Hum, imagine Lou Rawls trying to sing one of those Clarence Carter story songs (aka 'Patches') and you'll get a feel for what 'WIlloughby Groove' sounded like. rating: *** stars

Janus tapped the album for a couple of singles:

- 1972's 'Freedom from the Stallion' b/w 'I Wish I Could Walk Away' (Janus catalog number J-223
- 1973's 'Lady Love' b/w '???' (Janus catalog number J-233)

Not great, but worth checking out simply because Tate had such a great voice.
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