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Joe Morris Orchestra & Laurie Tate

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One of the first in a long line of R&B divas who shaped the sound and success of the legendary Atlantic Records imprint, Laurie Tate was born and raised in Richmond, VA. Little is known about her formative years, but in the summer of 1950 she was signed to Atlantic by co-founder Herb Abramson and soon after entered the studio with the Joe Morris Band. The resulting single, the scorching ballad "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere," went on to top the Billboard R&B charts in mid-November, establishing the fledgling Atlantic as a true commercial force. With the follow-up, "Don't Take Your Love from Me," Tate joined Morris' band full-time, alongside featured vocalist Billy Mitchell. Now billed as the Joe Morris Blues Calvacade, in mid-1951 the group issued its third single, "You're My Darling," in conjunction with a tour of the West Coast. With 1952's "You Can't Stop My Crying," Tate and Morris again hit paydirt, reportedly selling 50,000 copies in the first ten days of the single's release. During a tour in support of the disc, the Blues Calvacade welcomed a new singer and pianist named Ray Charles, who exited after just a few weeks to mount a solo career. With replacement Lowell Fulson in place, the Blues Calvacade was poised to mount a national tour with the Five Keys when Tate abruptly resigned, citing her impending motherhood behind the decision -- Morris replaced her with Faye Adams, who went on to an enormously successful R&B career of her own. Tate's subsequent activities, both personal and professional, are unknown as of this writing. ~ Jason Ankeny