Gary: “This is a group I know very little about. I really do not remember much about them except a couple of songs. I knew they were based out of Philadelphia and eventually worked with Van McCoy, who would ultimately became a disco hit maker. They had a kind of Doo Wop Soul sound; so here we have…
The group had a distinctive, almost doo wop sound, especially at the start, featuring Payton’s sweet occasionally rough-edged vocals with background male harmonies. The line-up changed around 1971 with the original three men having departed. Two female backing singers (Pat Mercer and Deborah Martin) were brought in to support Payton.
The group had a series of hit singles in the late 1960s and early 1970s, mainly in the US soul charts mostly on small independent labels, Dionn and Top & Bottom, operated by the group’s manager, Gilda Woods. Two were big US pop hits.
In 1967, their first release on the Dionn label, “Dry Your Eyes” (Pop #20, R&B #2), was written by Brenda Payton with pianist Maurice Coates when they were just 15 or 16 years old.
In 1971, “Right On The Tip Of My Tongue“, (Pop #23, R&B #5), was written and produced by Van McCoy.
They released three albums, Dry Your Eyes (1967), Brenda and the Tabulations (1970) and I Keep Coming Back for More (1977).
The group broke up in the 1980s, and Jackson went on to write “Touch of You” for Kool and the Gang.
Brenda & the Tabulations are one of many recording artists referenced in the song “Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)” by the studio group, Reunion.
Brenda Payton, who was born in 1946, was known as Brenda Hill when she passed away on June 14, 1992. She was only 46 years old. A 1992 obituary for Brenda Payton Hill reported that she and her
husband, Jim Hill, had run a record company since 1985.
Eddie L. Jackson died on May 3, 2010, from a brain aneurysm, at the age of 63.
The group’s music burst back into cultural consciousness in 2011, when “The Wash” from the Dry Your Eyes album was licensed by Unilever for use in an Axe Body Wash commercial.