=Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stop Sneaking Around - Brenda and the Tabulations

Well, hello again regular visitors. It's been quite some time since I last posted anything, but don't worry, now that things are back in order at the Trunk of F.U.N.K. compound, I should be at this on the regular again for at least the next few months. All aspects of my life, both personal and work-related, have been beyond hectic lately. In particular, my hard drive failed a little over a week ago, leaving me without a home computer for a bit and making it impossible to put anything up here. Luckily, nothing of significance was lost with the untimely demise of the hard drive, as I've learned my lesson in the past. This unfortunate event, mind you, was coupled with 80+ hour work weeks that made it even less possible to put anything up here. Taken together with some major personal life events that I'm not going to get into here, things have been pretty poor lately. Luckily, last weekend was a long holiday here in the states, so I got to head down to Chicago to see some family and friends that have been sorely missed (as well as getting in some great digging at a new spot and a pretty alright set at a party on Saturday night).

So, to get things back in working order around here, I figured I'd send out a good bit of sister soul from the city of brotherly love...

Stop Sneaking Around - Brenda and the Tabulations - Top and Bottom

A fluke of quite serendipitous sorts is the easiest way to describe the early incarnation of Brenda and the Tabulations. During the summer of 1966, two teenagers, Brenda Payton and Maurice Coates, were working a summer job at a children's park. They decided it would be fun to practice a few popular numbers that they could peform for the kids at work one day. Luckily for them, as they were performing the newly learned numbers, the wife of a prominent Philly radio jock and owner of a couple of Philly record labels, Gilda Woods, drove past and liked what she heard. She approached the duo and asked if they had any original material, to which Coates responded that they did, prompting the duo to put together the future hit, Dry Your Eyes, at the ripe old age of 15 or 16. The original incarnation of the group (featured in today's selection) assembled for this recording consisted of Brenda Payton as the lead with Eddie Jackson, Maurice Coates, and Jerry Jones providing backing harmony vocals. This group lasted until 1971, at which point the guys parted ways with Payton. Payton didn't call it quits, however, chosing to be replace the men with the female backing vocalists Pat Mercer and Deborah Martin. During the decade-long existence of Brenda and the Tabulations, three albums and a number of singles were recorded for the labels Dionn and Top & Bottom, both of which were run by Gilda Woods. Today's selection was written by Maurice Coates and Brenda Payton, with arrangements prepared by Sam Reed.

I should also mention that a few months back, I posted a single from a Philly group, The Broad Street Gang, despite having little/no information on the group. A few weeks back, the brother of the bass player sent me an e-mail with the following information: The bass player on this particular track is my brother "James Alexander Fox" (a stage name). Chester Greere, Mitch AKA Mitchell Rowe, and the brother of the bass player were present during recording of several of the tracks for the LP.

Additionally, I've heard a bit of speculation on the group Lunar Funk, who were featured here previously with the single Mr. Penguin. A friend Paul from Detriot area sent me an e-mail that Lunar Funk may have actually been the band The Fabulous Counts, covered exhaustively previously by our friend Larry from Funky16Corners.

Enjoy the week, and rest assured that a new mix will be posted for your listening pleasure this Friday.


mitchell rowe said...

the recordings for brenda were at 919 sound @ 919 n. broad st , phia pa , inside universal record distributors . the engineer was
"jungle joel " , his asst was "ken present" . ken went on to sigma sound & engineered hundreds of sides for gamble/huff . he was best known for his work on the manhattens ( kiss and say goodbye ) , blue magic , and major harris .
mitchell rowe

greg a.k.a. DJ GA said...

Thanks for filling in some of the gaps. It's really great of you to share your knowledge of the Philly music scene around these parts.

mitchell rowe said...

greg a.k.a. DJ GA & friends :
looking at the 45 rpm record , you see a symbol that says j / g .
that stands for jamie guyden ( the name of the company that owned(s) 919 n. broad st , philadelphia pa , where the 919 studio was , universal records distributors , and jamie records .
the owner , Harold Lipsius
( rip ) , a lawyer by trade , owned and ran the businessess . besides Brenda & the Tabulations , Jamie was MOST FAMOUS for a 45 called "LOVE CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY" , if you find someone to love . a monster hit , if there ever was one . Universal distributors was extremely active in label representation and one stop record distribution . 919 studio was managed and engineered by "jungle joel" , and later also Kenny Present . the address was a hangout for record people , promotion men , and producers of all shapes and sizes .

mitchell rowe said...

forgot one IMPORTANT item about 919 studio ...
919 n. broad was where Jimmy Bishop , the program director at
r & b radio WDAS , produced , and conducted "YES I"M READY" by the lovely , talented "BARBARA MASON" .
yes i'm ready crossed over to pop , and was a monster "smash" hit . barbara's record put 919 sound on the national scene .