Recorded in Philadelphia in 1969, The Deirdre Wilson Tabac’s sole album is a beautiful blend of funk, jazz and soulful pop. Possessing the complex grooves, thrilling breaks and ethereal weirdness that The Rotary Connection pedalled so brilliantly, the LP failed to connect with audiences upon its original release.
In the decades since, it has deservedly attracted a considerable cult following. However, almost inevitably, it has become increasingly tricky to pick up a copy in good condition for anything less than eye-watering sums. As such, we're delighted to present the first officially licensed vinyl reissue of this undoubted masterpiece of freaky funk-rock, limited to just 500 copies.
The Tabac were, in fact, a trio. Discovered, managed and produced by Svengali Sonny Casella (who'd earlier managed garage band The Magic Mushrooms), they comprised Deirdre Wilson, Stu Freeman (formerly of said Mushrooms) and Barbara Payne (formerly with the James Brown Revue). They were backed by session players including jazz guitarist Chuck Anderson, bassist Hugh McDonald and keyboardist Roy Bittan (who went on to be a long-term Bruce Springsteen sideman).
Their first single coupled two fine Casella compositions, each featuring powerhouse vocal workouts; the supremely funk-fuelled blues beat of "The Other Side Of Life" and the psychedelic-flavoured "Look In My Face" - both of which are featured here. This 7" picked enough up airplay to merit an album, which duly appeared early the following year, but, as is often the way with these lost classics, it received barely any press. Correspondingly, sales where low and the trio didn’t last long.
And herein lies the real tragedy. The rest of the LP deserves to be heard from start-to-finish - it's that good. A beguiling mix of funky folk and rocky jazz tracks, with some deep, string-drenched harmony soul ballads and a handful of remarkable covers elegantly presented througout. Indeed, they put some sauntered head-nod funk into The Beatles' "Get Back" whilst tearing through a version of "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay" which gives Otis' original a real run for its money.
But the real standout cut for most - with its soulful, haunting vocals, swinging hammond organ and stabbing horns, is the incredible 6/8 time jazz dancer "I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes." Staggering.