11 tracks/41 minutes
Freddie Pate is a Los Angeles native who began playing guitar at 4 years of age. He left home at 17 and moved to Texas and spent almost 20 years in Houston and Dallas as a sideman for country artists. He left Texas for Louisiana and has been there since traveling the globe with Wayne Toups and Zydecajun.
Of late he’s spent more time in Texas and hooked up with Delbert McClinton and has played on his cruise. He met Mike Zito on one and they became friends. He released a country album entitles Crossroads in 2016 but Zito pushed him to record a blues album and this is the result. Recorded at Marz Studio in Nederland, Texas, Zito helped Freddie produce this album.
Appearing on the CD with Pate (who does the guitar work and vocals) are Terry Dry on bass, Matt Johnson on drums, Lewis Stephens on keys and Mike Zito on rhythm guitar. The guitar work here is pretty damn good and the songs are all a lot of fun. The recording is well-crafted, balanced and has a good sound. Pate has a gravelly blues shouter approach to his vocals. Some may like by them some may not, but most will appreciate them for their authenticity and his overall exuberance. Pate wrote two of the songs here, so there are two originals and nine varied covers.
The party begins with “Let The Juke Joint Jump.” He offers up a mean guitar solo and shows his prowess on guitar on this cut Koko Taylor made famous. Elmore James’ “Sho-Nuff I Do” is a cool slow blues that Pate delivers with emotion. He growls as the backing musicians support him and then delivers a stinging solo on guitar before growling out the conclusion to the song. Have You Ever Loved A Woman” is the first original, a cut with a driving beat and big lead guitar and solo work. It’s a tune folks will dance to with abandon. Hank Williams’ “Hey Good Looking” gets a bluesy cover with nice guitar, piano and organ work. Toussaint McCall’s “Nothin’ Takes The Place of You” is a sad, bluesy ballad with mournful vocals and guitar. It’s a nice cover of a very cool song and Pate adds his guitar to spice up the cut. “I Got The Blues” is the other original. It’s a well done and mid tempo paced shuffle that’s a lot of fun. His guitar answers his vocal calls and he delivers another big guitar performance.
Fat’s Domino’s “Hello Jospehine” is next, paying more homage to his time in Louisina. Pate’s guitar offers up a sweet intro and then Pate gets into the groove vocally. His guitar does not rest as Freddie gives us another well done and varied solo. “My Babe” follows, a Willie Dixon classic. He uses a little echo and reverb on the vocals and guitar here to change things up. Pate takes Clifton Chenier’s “Jolie Blond” and turns it into a jumping, rockabilly styled enjoyable blues number.
The pace drops for a bit as he breaks into some cajun vocals and then re-initiates the attacks with his guitar. “Dance With Me Baby” is a B.B. King song that Pate makes his own. Piano and guitar pace the vocals nicely and then Pate once again delivers some killer guitar. Pate concludes with “Beer Drinkin’ Dog,” listed as a Niles K. Jones cut. Jones wrote “Your Poodle Dog,” released on the Pittsburgh Gemini label (and very similar to the Tampa Red “Let Me Play With Your Poodle”) but I did not find another recording of this one. It’s a boogie that’s slowed down a bit with more big guitar and fun lyrics as Pate takes us home.
The vocals are rough; that’s part of Pate’s charm. The guitar work is stellar- I really was impressed. I would enjoy going to see this guy based on the CD- I get a vibe from the songs that show me he’d be a lot of fun to see and hear live. The LA/Texas/Louisiana influences blend together well as Freddie Pate delivers a high energy and fun set of songs on this CD.