What a great start to the week. I was gonna push this post off until Friday and let my latest mix ride, but I figured I’d throw some midweek goodness your way. I need to shout out the peeps at Funk Deli for giving my blog and my 100,000 Hits and Runnin Mix a great review. Thanks a lot fellas, definitely appreciate it. Maybe I need to get a late pass for this record. I always seem to pick up every other Brenda & the Tabulations record, except this side, which I believe is their best and funkiest. It’s been a hard side for me to find in the field, and thanks to some trading this past weekend, I was able to get a copy of it. Let’s jump right in to Brenda and the Tabulations with “Scuze Uz Y’all” on Top and Bottom.
Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Brenda Payton would team up with Maurice Coates in 1966. The two worked together at a Philly playground on Second and Lehigh, and while performing for their children they supervised at the end of the Summer, were discovered by Dionn Records owner Gilda Woods. She scooped the two up (who lied about having any material at all). The tune “Dry Your Eyes” was put together quickly, and recorded on Jamie/Guyden Records by producer Bob Finiz. With the edition of James Rucker and Eddie Jackson, Philly Soul legends were born. The band, relabeled Brenda and the Tabulations, would go on to put out three more singles in 1967: “Stay Together Young Lovers”, “Just Once In a Lifetime”, and “Who’s Lovin’ You”. The cut “Hey Boy”, would be featured on the B Side of a few of those cuts. All the hits were eventually packaged together and released on Dry Your Eyes, a full length Lp. The band was also known to do some covers, putting out great renditions of Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By”, a funked up version of the Beach Boys “God Only Knows” (featuring a young Patti Labelle on back up vocals), and my favorite “California Soul” (which I need a copy of if anyone has it). They went on to put out sides on Dionn, Top and Bottom, Epic, and Chocolate City, and eventually dabbling into Disco in the mid 70’s. Not everything was a success, and the group eventually would change personnel, adding Bernard Murphy in 1970, only to end up a trio with Pat Mercer and Deborah Martin. Says original member Maurice Coates on the eventual demise of the group: “I was trying to wear too many hats back then,” he says. “I probably should have just stayed at home and wrote music.” These words reflect back to the time when Brenda and the Tabulations were touring all over the United States and Europe, rubbing elbows with Jackie Wilson, the Beatles, Mick Jagger and Gladys Knight and the Pips. This nonstop touring was definitely a source of tension, as well as stagnation in the composing area. The group eventually called it quits, and would never reform. Brenda Payton would pass away in the 1990’s, while Coates works as a security guard these days, and dabbles in music a little. Brenda and the Tabulations saw a bit of resurgence on a few Rhino Records compilations as of late, which is always a good thing, as well as an official CD release of Dry Your Eyes. They were an integral part of the music scene in Philly in the late 60’s, and deserve all the recognition by a new audience, as well as the people who dug them in the past.
While most of Brenda and the Tabulations stuff i’ve picked up is very soulful, “Scuse Uz Y’All” gives off a different vibe. It’s a down and dirty Funky slice of Soul that doesn’t really have many lyrics (if you even count the bum pum bom pum bom), and I think is better with out them. It’s fuzzy wah-wah guitars and heavy drum beats had me hooked from the very first drop of the needle. The addition of the strings is a great touch, and when Brenda yells out “The Devil made me do it”, just before a slight break, and the beat kicks in again, you really can’t help but nod your head. This one is a keeper my friends, and if you can get your hands on it, I’d definitely say do it. It’s a winner all around, and your ears and your friend’s ears will agree. I’ll be back Friday, and make sure to stay tuned for the newest Funk and Soul mix coming your way after the weekend.