No tags :(

Share it




The universe is hardly fair.

Take for instance the roles of men and women in the world. For eons the male has been positioned as the breadwinner, the advertised stronger sex who goes out to hunt, work and cavort while the female was traditionally held back educationally because they would inevitably be required to tend to the home, have babies and raise those children as their primary duties in life.

Modern society has thankfully been slowly chipping away at that division of labor, as women have outperformed men in education for years and as they move into the workforce are able to provide a different perspective that enhances any business or cultural pursuit. But even so there’s still one thing nobody’s figured out how to get around…

Pregnancy. Nine months of indentured servitude to a formless creature growing inside a woman that may not even see the light of day or turn into anything worthwhile if it does.

As time goes on it remains one of the final surefire ways for men to get an upper hand in society, knowing that the women are going to be taken out of the equation for long stretches, as happened to Laurie Tate, one of rock’s budding female stars at the dawn of the 1950’s who is not long for this profession due to that insidious form of biological sabotage.


Sorry I Stopped
We’ve posed – and answered –the question before, but it helps to remind everybody as we head into this meeting with Joe Morris and Laurie Tate that it was this pairing that gave Atlantic Records their very first chart topping single.

Morris had been the company’s first consistent seller with instrumentals in the late 1940’s but as times, tastes and styles changed he needed to find a singer to give the band more commercial potential and in Laurie Tate he seemed to have found one who fit the bill. Though she had a high-pitched whine that might be seen as an acquired taste, it was in fact a popular trait in female rock singers as evidenced by Little Esther who was as big as they came in 1950.

Late that summer Morris and Tate released Anytime, Any Place, Anywhere which hit the top of the charts in November and the next winter followed it up with a second Top Ten entry before Tate had to take a leave of absence because she was having a baby.

Now I’m sure the tyke was a welcome addition to the household and I really hope the kid grew up to be a happy, healthy and productive member of society, a friend to all who knew them, a good neighbor and a credit to humanity… and all that hooey. However whatever their future value in the world, that same little moppet derailed their mother’s career just as it was taking off, robbing Tate of more fame, money and glory and depriving us of countless records that might have taken their place among the best of their era.

Now she’s back, but only briefly, as life on the road was nowhere to raise a kid, which has us wondering if maybe she shouldn’t have told her man to Rock Me Daddy if that kind of nocturnal activity was going to result in an early retirement.

At least Atlantic Records, or Joe Morris for that matter, could’ve paid for birth control.

Couldn’t Even Hear A Sound
If you didn’t know (and who would?) that this was actually a track left over from her very first recording session in July 1950 you’d think that Laurie Tate was getting used to raising her voice to be heard over a house full of screaming children. Her usual piercing tone seems sharper and more insistent than usual here, even as Joe Morris and company are doing their best to make sure the track is as active as possible so that she doesn’t stand out too much.

The churning boogie of the piano gives way to a steady bass and higher pitched horns that are laying down quick bursts of bright sounds that are mirrored by the increasingly wild-eyed demeanor Tate exhibits. Though she doesn’t lose control of the melody, she seems more frantic as the song progresses… and considering what it’s about, who can blame her?

Maybe Atlantic took so long to issue this because the topic is rather racy, as Rock Me Daddy is very blatantly about make-up sex, which I suppose will explain those little dividends nine months down the road. Like many of her songs, Tate co-wrote this and to her credit the fight isn’t glossed over here at all, giving the story the punch it needs (well, let’s hope it wasn’t THAT kind of fight) to make the payoff work that much better.

So we get a good scene to start with and some of the lines are really good – the places they get it on are really diverse! – but as always Tate’s shrill voice can be hard to make out at times and her tendency to speed up at inopportune times causes the band to play catch-up.

Morris’s crew though are a professional bunch and know how to deliver the goods themselves with a nice active bass that helps to offset the high pitch sounds coming from the vocal mic. The horns are guilty of that too, maybe Morris assumed that it was better to roll with that particular tide than fight against it, but I think a more prominent baritone would’ve been a more effective anchor to use than the squealing sax found here behind and between the vocal lines.

The sax solo is fairly rudimentary but isn’t bad, sounding like an alto hoping to pass muster as a tenor, or a tenor masquerading as an alto. It’s relatively short and not quite as suggestive as the lyrics would suggest, but it does convey the basic attributes of the tune’s meaning.

Though we can grant Tate some leeway because it’s her first time in a studio and nerves combined with not knowing the difference between singing on stage over a crowd full of drunken patrons and in a quiet sterile studio might explain her inability to modulate her voice better, somebody in the control room – Ahmet Ertegun or Herb Abramson – needed to tell her to dial it down from eleven to somewhere around 7 or 8 so the story had more sultry bite to it than it does at this volume.

There’s a good song here underneath the noise and while the overall spirit of the performance is what it calls for, this is one that needed another more controlled take… maybe one cut in 1952 when Tate was on a steady supply of tranquilizers to be able to relax with all the noise that had invaded her home.


I Ain’t Nowhere
Because of the recording dates this was something that you might assume was simply pulled out to get it off the shelf in a year when more profane topics were becoming de rigueur, as well as to just give Joe Morris a release while he sort of re-grouped and decided what direction he was going to head in.

You might even think Laurie Tate was long gone, reduced to days of potty training and nights of heavy consumption of alcohol to get through the potty training. But no, Tate was indeed back in the fold, touring with Morris again throughout the summer and fall, which is probably the reason why Atlantic issued Rock Me Daddy to try and build their appearance fees.

The thing is, Atlantic credited Tate herself on the label and in the ads, even though her time on stage was coming to a close, retiring for good by the end of the year.

Here’s an idea, short of having dear old dad stay home with the kids while momma earns a living, considering Tate’s voice was always going to be something of a hinderance and there’s more money in songwriting, why not just stay at home and simply write songs like this for other women to sing… hoping those other women don’t get pregnant and derail their own careers while one of Tate’s songs is climbing the charts.

Then again, surely we can build kids in the laboratory by now and keep sex completely separate from creating babies, saving it instead for after hours fun and all the rock ‘n’ roll song topics we need.

Come to think of it, why doesn’t someone have a talk with Mother Nature about that very thing and maybe we’ll finally bring some equity to the universe?


(Visit the Artist page of Laurie Tate as well as Joe Morris for the complete archive of their respective records reviewed to date)