Reviews

Blues News Finland Magazine
TT Tarkiainen, November 2018, #296 
Laura Tate ~ Let's Just Be Real ~ 811 Gold Records 

New Yorkissa majaansa pitava, teksasilaissyntyinen Laura Tate on laulajan uransa ohella kunnostautunut nayttelijana. Ulkoiselta ole-mukseltaan hanesta tu lee mieleen muuan Ma-rilyn Monroe,jonka hennosta lauluaanestakin on kuultavissa vivahteita etenkin balladeissa. Voimallisimmillaan Lauran vokaloinnista aistii vaikutteita Etta Jamesilta ja Koko Taylorilta. 

Parhaiten Taten aanelle sopivat rennon jatsahtavasti kulkevat balladit, kuten levyn nimikappale.  

Studiossa on ollut mukanajoukko eturivin muusikoita, etunenassaan vaskipuhallin-maestro Lee Thornberg, kosketinvelho Jeff Paris ja lyomasoitintaiteilija Tony Braunagel. Solisti itse jakaa erityiset kiitokset taustalaulaja Teresa Jamesille ja basistiTerryWilsonille. Herkullisimmat taltioinnit ovat big band -versio Thin Lizzy -klassikosta Boys Are Back In Town (Phil Lynott), Still Got The Blues (Mel Harker, Douglas Macleod) seka rockaavam-mat Nobody's Get Hurt ja I Know You Lie. Kiekon linjasta poikkeava paatosraita WildestDreams on radiosoittoon tarkoitettua AOR-poppia. 

Vivascene
Randall Parrish  March 14, 2018
Laura Tate – Let’s Just Be Real ~ 811 Gold Records
Number 5 in our series of Best Blues Albums of 2017 
4.7 out of 5 Stars Overall

On Laura Tate’s fourth album, Let’s Just Be Real, her maturation process has manifested itself to make a potent musical statement that is undeniably one of the top releases of 2017. Tate proves that she is an interpreter of songs with the ability to bare her heart while warming your soul in the process. Quite a few of the outstanding musicians playing on Let’s Just Be Real are holdovers from Tate’s last album “I Must Be Dreaming.” The addition of heavily-in-demand veteran drummer Tony Braunagel to the mix can only be termed an asset. Terry Wilson returns to once again arrange, produce, and engineer the set as well as adding some backing vocals and bass guitar throughout. Her last release was a salute to the songwriting talent of Mel Harker. Harker gets compositional credit for two of the dozen tracks on this new album, as Tate expands her scope. 

The opening song is from the catalog of renowned late Texas-based guitarist and vocalist Stephen Bruton. It is entitled “Nobody Gets Hurt,” and is a medium tempo blues shuffle led by the Hammond B-3 organ of Jeff Paris in tandem with the deep rocking-chair groove dug by the rhythm section of bassist Wilson and drummer Braunagel. Billy Watts delivers a subdued electric guitar lead that is sweet as molasses. Laura Tate sings the tune with a self-assured tone that substantiates the fact that she is the one in complete control of the relationship. The song’s confident lyrics read in part: “stay where you are baby, don’t say another word, just do what I say, and nobody gets hurt.” Tate’s enunciation really stands out and grants the lyrics extra clarity, especially when she sings lines like “I need you to listen to me baby.” 

The iconic horn section of former Tower Of Power trumpeter Lee Thornburg and saxophonist Paulie Cerra (Lucky Peterson, Little Milton, Joe Bonamassa, etc.) really scintillates on the T.Wilson/J.Paris composition “If That Ain’t Love.” Tate’s vocal is oh-so-fine, reminiscent of the early 60’s Phil Spector girl groups that ruled the charts in those days. 

The sax lead barks and the piano of Paris bites, while Tate alluringly sings “you ain’t hittin’ on nothing unless you got something for me,” on the R&B “Hitting On Nothing.” The song is a bit more up-beat, and everyone involved sounds very fine. 

The jazzy tango of “Can’t Say No” finds Laura doing her best enticing sultry vocalese. A sample is the way she states with a purr: “you only call me cause I can’t say no.” Horn punctuations join in with jazzy piano, guitar, and Braunagel’s kettle-drum sounding snare to enhance this exhibition of Tate’s charismatic vocal expertise. 

Laura reimagines the Thin Lizzy/Phil Lynott song “Boys Are Back In Town” and does a discerning job fitting the mood of the song with the lyrics to create an entirely new environment. Starting very slow and then kickin’ it up a notch this take contains tender guitar as well as a softly dynamic Tate vocal. 

The first Mel Harker composition of the album, “Still Got The Blues,” transpires as a blues ensemble piece with a rich luster. Tate occupies the tune with a bluesy lounge singer vocal that is tender as a medium-rare porterhouse steak. The accompany guitar is also very tastefully presented along with corresponding piano and brass. 

A classy R&B feel comes with the delight “I’ll Find Someone Who Will.” Tate is sass personified with the lead vocal, and the background vocal is well-placed as well. The bass and drums lay the foundation for a steady rolling rhythm and the horn work adds to the atmosphere. The cymbal percussion help support a hand-clapping impression to the song. 

The title track, “Let’s Just Be Real,” is the second Mel Harker composition on the release, and it is a treasure that sparkles like a perfect diamond. The romantic vocal of Laura Tate is as relaxingly clear as a nightingale singing tranquil and peacefully in the orchard. It is the title track for a good reason, and I believe it is my favorite song on Let’s Just Be Real. 

Some honky-tonk piano suitable for an old TV western bar alongside slide guitar accompany Tate’s crispy vocal on “I Know You Lie.” A sample lyric that illustrates the song’s message is “Everybody’s somebody’s fool, but honey I’m just not yours.” 

Tate somewhat reminds me of a female Muddy Waters on “I Need a Man.” She pulls no punches in letting you know just what is on her mind. As on all of this record, she impressively displays an ability to impart pop sensibilities into whatever genre she is delving in. 

”Dallas-born and raised, this charismatic singer and actress brings a vibe to everything. Her years in Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York show through in this fun fusion of blues, rock, and jazz. When you’re ready for an album that gets real and rings true, enjoy discovering Laura Tate on “Let’s Just Be Real.” ~ Cindy Graff Cohen, Music Writer 

That quote pretty much sums it up perfectly. This is a fun recording that has the capacity to greatly please a wide variety of audiences.

La Hora Del Blues 
Vincente P. Zumel (Barcelona, Spain)  October 2017 
Con este su cuarto álbum Laura Tate y los músicos que la acompañan se han embarcado en una nueva aventura llena de ricos y coloridos sonidos y matices. Con su dulce y sugestiva voz Laura nos invita a un delicioso viaje que combina rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues y algunos sabores de regusto jazzy. Las doces canciones que han sido incluidas en el disco nos hablan de las diferentes caras que tiene el amor y de los sinsabores que este nos produce. Aunque desde los inicios de la música popular, la mayoría de las canciones suelen estar inspiradas mayoritariamente en el tema recurrente del amor, Laura nos lo muestra con una visión diferente, sorprendente, tierna y sensual a la vez. Todo ello nos impulsa a que escuchemos las canciones una y otra vez, descubriendo algo nuevo y diferente en cada escucha. Los arreglos de Terry Wilson son también magníficos y todos los músicos que han participado en estas grabaciones han realizado un excelente trabajo encaminado a realzar las cualidades vocales de Laura, destacando especialmente Billy Watts a la guitarra, Jeff Paris al piano, B-3 y mandolina y la sección de vientos formada por Lee Thornberg y Paulie Cerra. MUY BUENO.

With this fourth album Laura Tate and her musicians have started a new adventure full of rich sounds and colourful nuances. With her sweet and suggestive voice, Laura invites us to a delightful journey that combines rock 'n' roll, rhythm and blues and some jazzy flavours. The twelve album songs talk about the different faces of love and the troubles and rewarding moments it may give us. Although popular music songs have ever been inspired and mostly deal with love aspects, Laura shows these subjects with a different perspective on an amazing, tender and at the same time sensual way. So she gets to make us listen to her songs again and again and each time she makes us discover something new and different. Terry Wilson’s arrangements are really superb. All the musicians who have been involved in these recordings have done an excellent work to enhance Laura’s, vocal qualities with a special mention to Billy Watts on guitar, Jeff Paris on piano, B-3 and mandolin and a powerful horn section including Lee Thornber

Macalle Blues - Short cuts: I cd in breve… (Italy) 
Giovanni Robino  September 2017 
Laura Tate, “Let’s just be real” 
811 Gold Rec. (USA) – 2017

The Rocker - The new home of Zeitgeist and The Rocker
Stewart A Hamilton  September 26, 2017 
I remember “I Must Be Dreaming” from a couple of years back. I enjoyed her rootsy, jazzy, bluesy, soul tinged sound and now she’s back for another go. 

And it’s another enjoyable release which sees her working in the sweet spot occupied by Bonnie Raitt and her ilk. It’s the fourth album from Ms Tate and the mixture of new songs and covers works well as she smokily works her way through a set of well arranged and performed material. 

The musicians who’re along for the ride really have a feel for the music with the likes of producer and bass player Terry Wilson, Jeff Paris on piano, B3 and mandolin and some splendid brass work from Pauline Cera and Lee Thornberg putting in an excellent shift. 
Ms Tate works best when the music slows down and she can fill the spaces, so songs like ‘Still Got The Blues’ work best. She also finds space for a rearranged run through of the Thin Lizzy classic ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ on what is a thoroughly enjoyable release.

Il Popolo del Blues Online
Michele Manzotti  August 4, 2017

Con Laura Tate ci troviamo di fronte a una voce versatile di cui abbiamo già parlato due anni fa. Questo album raccoglie brani di vari autori tra blues, soul e atmosfere jazzate che ben si adattano alla sua personalità, molto melodica e con la giusta dose di swing. Se immaginiamo Laura Tate dal vivo, immaginiamo che possa passare da un club a un palco all’aperto con sicurezza. Le dodici tracce del disco la aiutano a evidenziare queste sue doti, supportata da ottimi musicisti,  tra cui Jeff Paris alle tastiere e la sezione fiati composta da Lee Thornberg e Paulie Cerra. Tanta energia nella traccia iniziale Nobody Gets Hurt, nel soul di Hitting For Nothing e di I’ll Find Who Will, in I Know You Like, così come si apprezza la vocazione alla melodia nella swingata Boys Are Back in Town, in Still Got The Blues e nella traccia titolo. Una conferma delle ottime doti della cantante texana.

Musiczine 
August 2, 2017 
Laura Tate est chanteuse, mais également actrice. Née à Dallas, cette Texane a beaucoup voyagé au cours de son existence. Elle a ainsi vécu à New York, Los Angeles ou encore Nashville. Ses chansons parlent d’amour et de passion. Mais se nourrissent autant de joie que de tristesse. Les sessions d’enregistrement se sont déroulées au studio Ultra Tone, à Los Angeles. Elle y a reçu le concours de musiciens locaux expérimentés. Dont son fidèle partenaire, le batteur Tony Braunagel ; mais également deux membres de Rhythm Tramps, soit Teresa James (une autre Texane) qui donne la réplique vocale ainsi que son guitariste Billy Watts. Sans oublier Terry Wilson, qui se consacre à la basse et se charge de la production. Laura n’assure pas la composition. Sur les 12 plages de cet elpee, trois sont co-écrites par Wilson et deux par l'auteur compositeur Mel Harker, qui avait inspiré son œuvre précédente, "I must be dreaming". 

Signé par le regretté Stephen Bruton, "Nobody gets hurt" ouvre la plaque, une piste atmosphérique, légèrement country, colorée par l'orgue. La voix de Laura est claire et émouvante. Billy égrène ses notes nonchalantes de gratte. Ballade r&b, "If that ain't love" est  tapissée de cuivres en arrière-plan. Le "Hitting on nothing" d'Allen Toussaint" nous entraîne à la Nouvelle Orléans. A cause de ces rythmes, du piano et des interventions au saxophone de Paulie Cerra, bien mises en évidence. Miss Tate est également à l’aise dans l’univers du jazz. Et elle le démontre tout au long de "Can't say no", une ballade exotique enrichie par une très jolie incursion aux ivoires, opérée par Jeff Paris. Notre jolie blonde aime se plonger dans les atmosphères nightclubiennes. Ainsi, elle adapte de manière plutôt surprenante, mais surtout convaincante, le tube de Thin Lizzy, "The boys are back in town". Mais aussi lors du "Still got the blues" de Mel Harker, un blues lent qui ressemble étrangement à une compo de Gary Moore. Sa voix est alors proche du murmure. Et devient caressante, veloutée sur "Let's just be real" et "I need a man". Teresa James apporte son soutien aux vocaux, tout au long d’"I know you lie", une plage qui nous replonge dans une atmosphère louisianaise, entretenue par le piano et la slide. Et c’est le plus pop "Wildest dreams" de Miss Jodi Siegel qui clôt cet opus. La mise en forme est excellente ; et alors que les cordes de Watts peuvent s’enflammer pour la dernière fois, l’ombre de Tom Petty se met à planer…

American Blues Scene
Anna Warkentin  August 2, 2017

Laura Tate blends blues, smooth jazz, swing, and soul masterfully.

Texas-born Laura Tate began sharing her cheerful disposition and mesmerizing voice at the age of nine. However, music was not the only way she performed. Moving to New York as a young adult she studied at the Herbert Berghoff Studio School of Acting and the Stella Alder School of Acting. Her talents graced theatres across the US. As she grew her skills only expanded, and she quickly developed a bright career as a TV star, on-screen personality, and director. But music was always her true love. She released three albums in three years (2013, 2014, and 2015) then took her time producing a fourth to round it out. Let’s Just Be Real is that fourth album, and it thrives with the extra time and love poured into it.

Laura thrills alongside some names that are familiar to fans and followers. Terry Wilson accompanies her on bass in every track, as well as backup vocals. Jeff Paris not only shares his talents on piano in this album, but also on mandolin. However, we must make a special note of Pauline Cera, whose skills on saxophone perfectly complement the rest of the team. Her saxophone solo on “If That Ain’t Love” is especially noteworthy.

The tracks on Let’s Just Be Real are a smooth blend of reimagined classics and original material. Laura Tate blends blues, smooth jazz, swing, and soul masterfully. The first song on the album, a cover of Stephen Bruton’s “Nobody Gets Hurt,” has definite gospel and rhythm-and-blues influences, and Laura trims down the original to keep it short and sweet, a strong opening song. We especially enjoyed her rendition of “The Boys Are Back In Town,” originally by Thin Lizzy. While the original is an entertaining Gaelic gallivant, Laura’s version adds depth and soul that any blues fan can appreciate.
Finally, the title track, “Let’s Just Be Real,” is clearly a song that she’s put her all into. Laura bares her heart in this strong blues track that features a slow piano opening, gorgeous vocals, lyrics that manage to be down to earth while packed with literary references, and a strong trumpet section. “Let’s Just Be Real” is definitely a song that could get couples swaying on the dance floor.

We very much enjoyed Laura Tate’s Let’s Just Be Real. Her mature voice and creative leadership, combined with the instrumental talent surrounding her, has allowed her to craft a beautiful album that is sure to offer enjoyable listening to any who pick it up. There’s something for everyone on Let’s Just Be Real.

Let’s Just Be Real by Laura Tate
12 Tracks
Label:  811 Gold Records
Running Time  50:06

The Blues and Roots Music Blog
Marty July 16, 2017

Laura Tate new album release "Let's Just Be Real"...tough and tender from a smooth Texas lady
Laura Tate’s fourth CD, “Let’s Just Be Real,” takes this Texas singer and her talented musicians to a rich, new level of sound and message. On these twelve tracks – a mix of old, new and originals released for the first time – Laura gets real and stays there. With her smooth and sultry voice, she invites us on a jazzy journey that combines rock-and-roll and rhythm-and-blues. It’s a journey through the cycle of love that carries us through new love, passion, breakup, and back again with heart and humor. Even though poets have written about romantic love for thousands of years, the dozen songwriters featured here will make you see love with new eyes. These songs are surprising and sexy, tough and tender – and Laura’s vocals make each one a pleasure to hear again and again.

Bits Blues In The South
Norman Darwen July 7, 2017

Laura Tate Let’s Just Be Real (811 Gold Records) And that’s just what Dallas, Texas based singer Laura is here, tackling real music – soul and blues mostly, either strutting coquettishly as on ‘I’ll Find Someone Who Will’ or getting nicely mellow as on the melodic ‘If That Ain’t Love’. Hitting on Nothing’ comes from Irma Thomas and certainly keeps a New Orleans flavour. For examples of her blues approach, try ‘Still Got The Blues’, and the lovely slow blues, ‘I Need A Man’ or for a more jumping sound, try ‘Big Top Hat’. For something a little different, there is Laura’s supper club styled version of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Boys Are Back In Town – honest! - ‘whilst the closer, ‘Wildest Dreams’ moves into Cyndi Lauper pop territory – definitely quite a change and totally unexpected, judging from what has gone before! Laura has some of today’s top musicians backing her here: Teresa James on backing vocals, Tony Braunagel on drums, and Lee Thornberg supplying brass, among others, and the result is a top quality release. Recommended indeed.