Brenda & the Tabulations

Right on the Tip of My Tongue

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Unfortunately original release information is not given with this package. But it can safely be deduced that this includes most or all of the tracks from their eponymous 1970 Top & Bottom LP, as well as some non-LP singles ("Right on the Tip of My Tongue" and "A Part of You") and one previously unreleased track, "Sha Na Na -- He Loves Me." Basically, then, it's a survey of their 1969-1971 Top & Bottom output, entirely produced by Van McCoy. The Brenda & the Tabulations/Van McCoy collaboration marked a real high-water mark in Philly soul that deserves wider historical recognition. Certainly there was little, if any, soul produced in the city outside the Gamble-Huff and Thom Bell empires that was of such a high standard. Philly sweet soul was rarely more melodic than this, probably due in large measure to McCoy's songwriting and arrangements, which went heavy on the graceful strings and flutes. Brenda Payton and her group do a lot on their part, though, putting across the songs without overdoing it. A half-dozen R&B hits are here: the title track (also a pretty big pop hit), "The Touch of You," "And My Heart Sang (Tra La La)," "A Part of You," the one stab at social consciousness ("A Child No One Wanted"), and a remake of "Don't Make Me Over." There's not much filler -- an unusual condition for soul-pop artists of the time -- although the one unissued tune, "Sha Na Na -- He Loves Me," is a giggly throwaway.

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