Brenda & The Tabulations – The Wash

Brenda & The Tabulations - The Wash

So the weather has dramatically taken a turn for the worse here in Belfast over the last few days with Summer most definitely behind us (did we actually get a Summer at all?). With that in mind I guess today’s choice seems kinda appropriate (rain, wash – you see what I did there?). This is a track that I had sort of forgotten about until the weekend when I was digging through my collection for a few 45s to bring down to the vinyl session at the coffee shop I own. This one didn’t make the cut, but it came back into my life again so we should all be grateful for that at least…

Brenda & The Tabulations were a soul group who formed in Philadelphia in 1966 and released their early singles on the Dionn label before moving to Top & Bottom Records and later, Epic. The song I bring you today is the b-side to their first ever single in fact – “Dry Your Eyes”. This proved to be the biggest hit for the group and probably explains why original copies can be picked up so cheaply. As so often happens it’s the b-side I prefer rather than the “A” which is slower and a little more commercial.

Some of you may remember this being used in a tv commercial a number of years ago for Lynx shower gel (or if you’re Stateside “Axe” shower gel). I’m also a big fan of their version of the classic “California Soul”, a record that sadly never got a 45 release. Apart from the aforementioned tracks arguably their next most well-known song was “Hey Boy” something that become pretty popular on the Northern Soul scene. That’s all for now – enjoy the rest of your week and let’s hope the weather picks up a bit!

Dyke And The Blazers – Let A Woman Be A Woman, Let A Man Be A Man

Dyke & The Blazers - Let A Woman Be A Woman, Let A Man Be A Man

Every now and then it’s good to return to the classics and today’s song is definitely a stone cold classic! Dyke & The Blazers formed in 1965 when Arlester Christian (a.k.a. “Dyke”) who had been part of a touring band with the O’Jays, joined forces with members of a Phoenix based group called “The Three Blazers” to create the imaginatively titled new outfit – “Dyke And The Blazers”.

James Brown and his band were to prove a huge influence on the new group and the newly emerging “funk” sound was to provide the basis of the Dyke And The Blazers vibe. Their debut release “Funky Broadway” scored them a top 20 R&B hit and they just scraped into the top 70 on the U.S. pop charts, however it was Wilson Pickett who was to have the greater success with the song when his version reached No1 on the R&B chart and the top 10 on the U.S. pop chart – sadly many people think the original release was by the “Wicked Pickett”, a scenario that was to all to often affect many of the lesser lights in the soul & funk world, but that’s another story…

The record I bring you today was the fifth single release for the band – and this is them on full on James Brown funk mode. When I used to play this song to those people who hadn’t been schooled in the ways of funk, they immediately thought it was just another JB record. The opening jangly guitar style was ripe for sampling and Stetsasonic duly obliged as did Tupac Shakur a few years later. English indie band “The Heavy” released their own version entitled “How Ya Like Me Now” which has since been featured in numerous tv ads and films, yet again ensuring the lack of recognition for the band. Sadly the group disbanded in 1971 after “Dyke” was shot and killed as the result of an apparent drug deal going wrong, however the band’s legacy to funk collectors remains in tact and they are often referred to as one of the most influential funk groups ever.