Live From El Paso
811 Gold Records
Dallas’ Laura Tate studied acting in New York City at both the Herbert Berghoff Studio, and the Stella Alder School of Acting. She performed off-Broadway and toured in theatrical productions in Los Angeles, and Nashville. She soon found herself on the production side of the business directing music videos, documentaries and commercials. One of her documentaries narrated by Ossie Davis and Colin Powell received both the PBS Golden Apple for Education, and induction into the Smithsonian institute Film Archives. She holds a Master’s Degree from The University of Texas El Paso, and has performed benefit concerts for a variety of non-profit organizations. She was the recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award from both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Tate recorded her debut album “Songs from My Suitcase” in 2013. Her last studio album was 2017’s “Let’s Just Be Real”. This live album is her fifth overall and was recorded under the stars at the West Texas McKelligon Canyon Amphitheater to benefit the El Paso Community Foundation’s Laura Tate Fund for the Arts. The album is co-produced by Tate and Terry Wilson, leader of Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps. Led by bassist Wilson the ensemble includes Tony Braunagel, drums; Jeff Paris, piano; Doug Hamblin, guitar; vocalist James; and the horn section of Lee Thornburg (Tower of Power); and trumpeter Darrell Leonard, and saxophonist Joe Sublett from the Phantom Blues Band.
Four songs from the set list were written or co-written by Mel Harker. Tate opens with the sultry rhumba “No Place To Hide” originally recorded by Tate on her 2016 album “I Must Be Dreaming”. “Still Got The Blues”, co-written with Doug MacLeod, is reprised from “Let’s Just Be Real”. Two new songs are also included: “What A Way To Go” co-written with Pat Schunk; and the western swing of “Cowboy Jazz” co-written with Paul Marshall.
The remaining eight songs are also reprised from Tate’s last album. The Stax-like “I’ll Find Someone Who Will” was written by Wilson and James. The playfully sexy “I Need A Man” is from Rick Deltrick. “Hitting On Nothing” credited to Naomi Neville, a songwriting alias used by Allen Toussaint, features a great horn arrangement and was first recorded by Irma Thomas in 1978. The jazzy “Can’t Say No” co-written by Wilson, The Rhythm Tramps guitarist Billy Watts, and David Raven, first appeared on James’ 2004 album “The Rhythm Method”. Both “Nobody Gets Hurt” and “Big Top Hat” are from Stephen Bruton who recorded with both Kris Kristofferson and NRBQ. The closer “If That Ain’t Love” was written by Wilson and Paris.
This wonderful live set was recorded June 2, 2018, and captures Tate at her best, with backing from some of the West Coast’s finest players. Lucky for us it was captured by South Coast Audio for everyone to enjoy. Thank you Laura and Terry.