Brenda and the Tabulations, Dry Your Eyes

Lenny Kaye

By Lenny Kaye

on 08.09.11 in Reviews
Perfectly balanced between R&B eras

Though their classic-harmony sound was on the verge of obsolescence by 1967, “Dry Your Eyes” became a Top 20 hit for Brenda Payton and original Tabulation Maurice Coates. Discovered singing in a Philadelphia playground by manager Gilda Woods, they filled out the group with two other male singers (Eddie Jackson and Jerry Jones), and recorded for the Jamie-associated Dionn label. Their debut album featured an innovative take on the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” a nod to the Supremes (“Where Did Our Love Go”), and a spirit-cleansing dance in “The Wash,” which would, improbably, surface in an Axe Shower Gel commercial decades later. Brenda would go on to make the transition to early-’70s soul when she recorded “Right on the Tip of Your Tongue” with producer Van McCoy, shedding the original Tabulations; but their early work has a purity and winning innocence that balances them perfectly between R&B eras.