Bumble Bee Slim
Cephas & Wiggins
Davis, Rev. Gary
Fuller, Blind Boy
Holeman, John Dee
Howell, Peg Leg
McTell, Blind Willie
Photo credit: Photograph
by Sudy L. Bristol. From Sheldon
Harris's Blues Who's Who (Arlington House, 1979).
Full name: Charles Henry Tate
Nicknames/Recorded Under: Baby Tate
Born: Jan. 28, 1916, Elberton, GA
Died: Aug. 17, 1972 (some sources say 1977),
Instrument(s): Guitar (and vocals)
Baby Tate mostly performed as a sideman throughout his career of half a
decade. Although he
was born in Georgia, Baby Tate grew up in Greenville,
South Carolina. By the age of 14, he had taught himself to
play guitar; shortly thereafter he began appearing
alongside Blind Boy Fuller, from whom he picked up the
basics of the blues. A few years later, Tate began performing with Roosevelt Brooks and Joe Walker in clubs
and bars around Greenville. In 1932, he discontinued his collaboration with Brooks and Walker and joined the
Carolina Blackbirds. They played numerous shows for the
radio station, WFBC. During the 1930s, Tate played at
local parties, medicine shows, and celebrations, and
he continued performing as a mere hobby. Serving in the
U.S. Army in the
late 1930s and early '40s, Tate entertained in local pubs and
dances while stationed in Europe. In 1942, he
returned to Greenville, held a series of odd jobs, and
took up music again in 1946, when he commenced appearing
on the local blues club scene. He recorded for the Kapp
label of Atlanta four years later. In the early 1950s, Tate moved to Spartanburg SC,
performing by himself as well as with Pink Anderson. The
two remained a duo until the 1970s. Tate recorded his first and only album,
See What You
Done Done, in 1961. He was featured in Samuel
Charters' documentary film, The Blues the very
next year. In 1972, along with Peg Leg Sam on mouth
harp, Tate recorded more sessions. He died on August 17
of that same year due to a heart attack.
Bastin, Bruce. Red River Blues:
The Blues Tradition in the Southeast. Urbana:
University of Illinois Press, 1986. p. 492.
Bastin, Bruce. Crying for the Carolines.
London, Studio Vista, 1971. (brief mention)
Charters, Ann, and Samuel Charters. Blues Faces: A Portrait of the
Blues. Boston: David R. Godine, 2000.
Cooper, Peter. Hub City Music Makers.
Spartanburg, SC: Holocene Publishing,
June 1997, p.152.
Harris, Sheldon. Blues Who's Who:
A Biographical Dictionary of Blues Singers. New
Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1979. p. 103.
The Blues. Written and directed by Samuel Charters. Released by Macmillan Films, 1973.
21 min. 16 mm. Color. Documents the music and the environment of blues singing in the urban and rural areas of the South. Includes music sung and played by J. D. Short, Baby Tate, Memphis Willie B., Gus Cannon, and Sleepy John Estes. Available at UNC Chapel Hill Libraries.
Charters, Samuel. Liner notes accompanying
The Blues of Baby Tate: See What You Done Done. Berkeley, CA : Prestige/Bluesville OBCCD-567-2, 1994
Recordings on CD
The Blues of Baby Tate: See What You
Done Done. Recorded 1962. Prestige OBCCD-567-2
Illustrated Baby Tate Discography.
Accessed Sept. 26, 2005. <www.wirz.de/music/tatebaby.htm>
mp3.com/Baby Tate. <http://www.mp3.com/baby~tate/artists/119475/biography.html>
Accessed October 13, 2005.
All Music Guide: Baby Tate