An almost cult-like figure in the Deep Soul, Southern Soul, and
British Northern Soul circles, Tommy Tate started drumming and
singing in small clubs in the Jackson, Mississippi area when he
During the 1960s, he recorded singles for ABC-Paramount,
Okeh, Verve, Swing,
Atco, Big Ten, and Musicor.
On many of these recordings, he was backed by fellow
Jacksonians, Tim Whitsett & the Imperial Show Band. In 1965,
Tommy began performing with Whitsett’s band (along with Dorothy
Moore) and by 1966 he’d become their featured vocalist. Between
1966 and 1969, Tommy and the Show Band, traveled extensively,
performing in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Canada.
In 1970, Whitsett joined Stax Records and recruited Tommy to
the label’s roster. Tommy recorded some 20 tracks for Stax and
its distributed label KoKo, and wrote many chart songs for
Luther Ingram. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, he cut one album for
Frederick Knight’s Juana label, two LPs for Tim Whitsett’s
Urgent! Records, dozens of sides for the Sundance label, and
wrote numerous songs for Malaco artists Bobby Blue Bland,
Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, et al.
Tommy Tate’s singing and songwriting career came to an
unfortunate and premature end in 2002 when he suffered a
debilitating stroke. But he continues to gain new fans as his
recordings keep appearing in compilations and new formats.
I FORGOT TO BE YOUR LOVER
STAND BY ME
DON’T MAKE ME EXPLAIN
GET IT OVER ANYWAY
WHEN A FOOL TAKES HIS TURN
HARD TIMES S.O.S.
ALL OR NOTHING