Eric Quincy Tate were not a person, they were a band — a quartet of down-and-dirty swamp rockers, Naval reservists stationed in Quincy, MA, but based down South, playing regularly in Texas where they were discovered by Tony Joe White, who shared a similar taste for blues, R&B, and soul. White helped get them signed to Capricorn and produced their self-titled 1971 debut, which sank into collector cult status not too long after its release and remained there until Rhino Handmade reissued it in 2006. Upon that reissue, the record was revealed as a real lost gem, something that could hold its own with Tony Joe White’s own classic Monument albums, of which it’s very reminiscent. Like Tony Joe, Eric Quincy Tate is pure swamp pop, mixing up soul, blues, country, and rock & roll into a dynamite concoction of thick, funky roots rock. EQT could really play, which makes the fact that they didn’t play on their debut all the stranger. When EQT entered the studio, the quartet found the Dixie Flyers — the name of engineer Stan Kesler’s studio band at the Sounds of Memphis studio — all set up, ready to play. Only vocalist/drummer Donnie McCormack and guitarist Tommy Carlisle, EQT’s two songwriters, were allowed to play on the album, with the Memphis Horns added later as overdubs.
According to Bill DeYoung’s liner notes to the 2006 Handmade reissue, nobody remembers who made the decision to use the Dixie Flyers as the core band — Tony Joe White and Jerry Wexler share producing credits with Tom Dowd, who worked on the final bit of the record — and the decision to use studio pros is a bit odd, as the three demos, alternate takes, and unreleased cuts featured on the reissue showcase a gritty Southern rock & roll band, one that was looser and funkier than the one that finished record, but all the more appealing because of it. The Eric Quincy Tate reissue is also graced with the presence of none other than Duane Allman, who happened to be in the studio as a guest of Wexler, so he played some impromptu slide on the demo for “Goin’ Down,” unveiled here for the first time. It’s not just Allman who gives the demos a dirtier, bluesier feel: without the overdubs of the horns and the tight attack of the Dixie Flyers, this is lean, hard rhythmic rock instead of the punched-up soul of the finished album.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the original Eric Quincy Tate as an album — far from it, really. McCormack and Carlisle were fine songwriters with an ear for blending soul, blues, and rock so there were no borders between the styles, and the Dixie Flyers helped give the music an assured momentum that made it more commercial in 1971, even if the album went nowhere on the charts. Despite its lack of success, Eric Quincy Tate has aged very well — the songs sound like buried gems and the music itself is the kind of deeply rooted roots rock that sustains its appeal, even increases it, upon repeated plays. Thankfully, Rhino Handmade put this back into circulation — perhaps as a limited edition that went out of print quickly, but it helped spread the word and whet the appetite for the group’s other two, equally forgotten albums. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)
To boil it down into a couple sentences; if 70’s R&B/blues is your thing, then this disc is a must have! At the very least, it can safely be labled as criminally forgotten.
First of all, Eric Quincy Tate was not an individual but rather a blue-eyed R&B outfit playing the club circuit in Texas when they were discovered. This swampy concoction, there first and only studio effort, was recorded at the “Sounds of Memphis” studio in 1971. The cast of characters was absolutely stellar! Three legends share production credit; Tony Joe White, Jerry Wexler and Tom Dowd. The personnel roster boasted the Dixie Fliers(house band for the studio), overdubs by the Memphis Horns and a cameo appearance on slide by none other than Duane Allman.
Only the drummer/vocalist and guitarist from the actual band were allowed to play on the LP; which gives the digitally remastered original tracks a tighter, more professional feel than the bonus tracks which feature the “real” band. The “demos” by the real band, which form the last part of the disc, have a looser, more naive and therefore sincere groove. The sound quality throughout is excellent.
All in all, this disc easily qualifies as one of the best 70’s releases that you never heard of. The song writing is superior and the instrumental attack is engaging throughout.I strongly recommend it. (by C. Pumarejo “Bunny Rabid”)
What a wonderful start of a band, that was really one the greatest Southern Rock Bands of all time !
David Cantonwine (bass)
Tommy Carlisle (guitar, vocals)
Donnie McCormick (vocals, drums)
Joe Rogers (keyboards, vocals)
Duane Allman (guitar on 13.)
Jim Dickinson (keyboards, dobro on 03., dobro on 08.)
Michael Utley (piano on 02. + 05.)
The Memphis Horns:
Wayne Jackson (trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone)
Andrew Love (saxophone)
Floyd Newman (saxophone)
The Dixie Flyers
With Duane Allman:
01.Stonehead Blues (Cantonwine/McCormick) 2.17
02. I Want ‘Cha (Carlisle) 2.44
03. Try A Little Harder (Carlisle) 2.28
04. On The Loose (Cantonwine/McCormick/Rogers) 3.00
05. Makes No Difference (Carlisle) 3.45
06. When I’m Gone (McCormick/Carlisle) 2.18
07. Comin’ Down (McCormick/Carlisle) 2.54
08. Hooker House (McCormick/Carlisle) 2.58
09. The Bream Are Still Biting In Ferriday (McCormick/Carlisle) 2.48
10. Ain’t It A Bummer (McCormick) 3.41
11. License To Love (McCormick/Carlisle) 3.47
12. Stonehead Blues (Demo) (Cantonwine/McCormick) 1.51
13. Comin’ Down (Demo) (McCormick/Carlisle) 2.52
14. Ain’t It A Bummer (Demo) (McCormick) 3.16
15. Gimme Some Lovin’ (S.Winwood/Davis/M.Winwood) 3.31
16. Blowin’ The Clouds Away (Alternate Version) (McCormick/McWhorter/Morgan, Jr.*/ Carlisle) 4.00
17. Get On The Road (Eric Quincy Tate) 2.31
18. I Don’t Know Much (Eric Quincy Tate) 7.29
The Eric Quincy Tate today: