Chancellor of Soul's Chronicles-Journals Dedicated To The
Historical Preservation Of R&B, Pop and It's Artists and Music





Brenda & the Tabulations




The soulful sounds of Brenda & the Tabulations evolved

around the summer of 1966 when Maurice Coates and

Brenda Payton worked at a children’s playground in

downtown Philadelphia. Maurice and Brenda sang

together for a show they put together for the children.


Gilda Woods wife of the late legendary Philadelphia

WDAS deejay Georgie Woods (‘the man with the goods’) 

happened to drive by and catch their exhibition and

inquire if they had any original material. Coates said

‘yes’ (in reality he didn't) and in the course of two days

he and Payton composed ‘Dry Your Eyes’. Gilda went

to Maurice’s house and listened to the song. She was

very impressed and became their manager.  


With Brenda as lead singer, Maurice along with guitarist

Eddie Jackson and James Rucker (who also worked at

The 2nd and Lehigh playground), together they formed 

 Brenda & the Tabulations.



The group’s name was inaugurated by Gilda Woods as

she opened a dictionary and stumbled upon the first

word ‘tabulation’. In an interview with writer Jacquelyn

Brahen she associated the word with tabulating money

so they decided to keep it as a namesake.


The group signed with Jamie / Guyden Records where

in-house producer Bob Finiz and Gilda produced their

first release on her distributed label Dionn entitled

‘Dry Your Eyes’ b/w ‘The Wash’ at 1618 North Broad

Street. The single hit (No. 8 on Billboard’s R&B singles

chart on April 1, 1967 and No.20 Pop). A self-titled LP

‘Dry Your Eyes’ charted (No.19 on the R&B LP charts

on July 22, 1967).


Brenda & the Tabulations charted six more masterpieces

on Dionn.  ‘Who’s Lovin’ You’ (the classic B side Miracles

smash on Tamla) (No.19 R&B July 8, 1967) the B-side

‘Stay Together Young Lovers’ charted (No.44 R&B

July 1, 1967).  ‘Just Once In A Lifetime’ b/w ‘Hey Boy’

(No.41 R&B Sept 23, 1967)  ‘When You're Gone’ b/w

‘Hey Boy’ (No.27 R&B Jan 6, 1968), ‘To The One I Love’

b/w ‘Baby You're So Right’ (No.45 R&B April 28, 1968)

two uncharted masterpieces, ‘That’s In The Past’ b/w

‘I Can’t Get Over You’ (released Aug 1968) ‘(You Gave

Me) A Reason To Live’ b/w ‘Hey Boy’ and ‘That’s The

Price You Have To Pay’ b/w ‘I Wish I Hadn’t Done What

I Did’ (No.43 R&B June 28, 1969) The latter was produced

by Gamble & Huff.



The group played various theaters across the country

including their first appearance at the world famous Apollo

Theater in NY on Friday March 3, 1967, sharing the bill

with Jerry Butler, Junior Walker & the All Stars, Freddie

Scott and Linda Carr.  King Coleman served as the

M.C. that evening. In 1969, as the Dionn label folded,

the Tabulations added Bernard Murphy in the line-up

and signed on the Jamie / Guyden distribution label

Top & Bottom.  Gilda Woods chose legendary songwriter/

producer Van McCoy and his partner Joe Cobb to compose

new material for the group, although most of their tunes

were written by Payton and Coates.



The breathtaking ‘The Touch of You’ composed by

guitarist Eddie Jackson and drummer Jerry Jones

became the group’s first release on the label,

charting (No.12 R&B on Jan 17, 1970) along with

‘And My Hearts Sang (Tra La La)’ b/w ‘ Lies, Lies

Lies’ (No.12 R&B June 6, 1970) the first composition

by McCoy and Cobb, the Dionne Warwick 62’ classic

‘Don't Make Me Over’ b/w ‘You've Changed’ (No.15

R&B Sept 5, 1970) and ‘A Child No One Wanted’

(inspired by the Supremes’ classic 68’ hit ‘Love Child’)

b/w ‘Scuze Us Y’all’ (a remark made by Brenda) hit

(No.42 R&B Jan 14, 1971). An LP entitled ‘Brenda &

The Tabulations’ was released in 1970.



Top And Bottom Records reorganized a new female

line-up of Tabulations, Pat Mercer and Deborah Martin,

as back-up. The new band members consisted of Dennis

Doizer as lead guitarist, drummer Ken Wright, bass guitarist

Lee Smith and Don Ford on keyboards.


The collaboration of McCoy & Cobb yielded yet another

Tabulations masterpiece entitled, ‘Right On The Tip Of

My Tongue’ b/w ‘Always And Forever’. This beautiful

haunting melodic apologetic ballad, reached (No.10

on the R&B singles chart May 25, 1971) and (No.14

on the Pop singles).  Brenda’s vocal shines through

true sincerity as she expresses the one she loves her

absent-mindedness of her true sub-hidden feelings.




The Tabulations released two more singles on Top &

Bottom, the angelic ‘A Part Of You’ b/w ‘Where There’s

A Will’ (No. 14 R&B Sept 18, 1971) and ‘Why Didn’t I Think

Of That’ b/w ‘A Love You Can Depend On’ (No.34 R&B

Jan 14, 1972).   


The group signed with Epic Records in 1972 and released

4 singles, ‘Little Bit Of Love’ b/w ‘Let Me Be Happy’, my

favorite ‘One Girl Too Late’ b/w ‘Magic Of Your Love’

(No.48 R&B April 14, 1973), ‘Key To My Heart’ b/w

‘Love Is Just A Carnival’ and ‘I’m In Love’ b/w ‘Walk

On In’ under Van McCoy productions.


With lack of promotion and consistent material, the group

left Epic Records and signed with the Casablanca subsidiary

Chocolate City label in 1976.  Making the musical transition

to the up-coming disco craze, they charted three dance singles,

‘Home To Myself’ b/w ‘Leave Me Alone (No.61 R&B Oct 1976)

‘I’m A Superstar’ b/w ‘Take It Or Leave It’, their last entry

on the charts (No.31 R&B June 25, 1977) and ‘Let’s Go All

The Way (Down)’ b/w ‘I Keep Coming Back For More’ a

underground club cult hit produced by MFSB guitarist,

Bobby Eli and Gilda Woods.



The Chocolate City 1977 LP ‘I Keep Coming Back For More’

with music supervision provided by John Davis and his

Monster Orchestra, the Tabulations continued to tribute

to the traditional up-tempo sounds of Philadelphia. 



Brenda Payton would enter gates of soul heaven at the

age of 46 on June 14, 1992.



Brenda & The Tabulations contribution to genesis of Philly

soul should not go underrated in music history. Their music

help put on the musical map the elegance of soft silky soul

enjoyed by a legion of fans worldwide.    



Brenda…..just once in a lifetime….the touch of your sweet

sultry voice…. pulsates my heart to sing tra la la and makes

my soul continues… to be a part of you…always and forever.  





                                       Soulfully Yours,

                                       Mike Boone

                                   (Chancellor of Soul)



                                        August 2007




Materials should not be used or altered without the expressed

permission of the author, Mike Boone (Chancellor of Soul)








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