Music » Rare Grooves

Eric Quincy Tate

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Which one's Eric?

None of 'em, actually. As outlined in the expanded reissue of 1971's Eric Quincy Tate (Rhino Handmade), this southern-rockin', soul-shoutin' Texas quartet -- guitarist Tommy Carlisle, drummer Donnie McCormick, bassist David Cantonwine, keyboardsman Joe Rogers -- drew its name from three disparate sources: Eric Burdon, a group fave; Quincy, Mass., a town near the port where the musicians were stationed during their mid-'60s stint in the Navy; and a "hard-ass boatsman's mate" named Tate who served with them on the USS Essex.

The musical lineage, however, is anything but obscure. Within the grooves of these 11 songs one hears James Brown (horn-heavy number "Stonehead Blues"), southern gospel ("Try A Little Harder," which also channels the Band's "The Weight"), Stax/Volt (sleek strutter "When I'm Gone") and gritty swamp rock á la Tony Joe White (the hard-chooglin' "On The Loose").

Hold that thought: White co-produced the record in Memphis with Tom Dowd and Jerry Wexler. And intriguingly Wexler, who'd signed the band to Atlantic's Cotillion imprint following an audition/demo session in Macon at Capricorn Studios, dictated that only McCormick and Carlisle should play on the album, with White and studio aces from the Dixie Flyers (including Jim Dickinson) and the Memphis Horns filling in. As a result, Eric Quincy Tate pulses with an unmistakable Memphian vibe. Newly expanded by seven unreleased tracks that do feature the EQT band proper, it takes on an additional archival heft, even more so when factoring in the presence of Duane Allman on one of the Capricorn demos, "Comin' Down."

EQT subsequently moved to Atlanta to be part of the regional southern-rock scene alongside the Allmans, Wet Willie and other mainstays. Two more albums, and the band was done. But with overlooked gem Eric Quincy Tate newly excavated, the group finally gets to re-stake its spot in history.


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