• The Tabs (2)

    The Tabs (2) (St. Louis, Missouri)


    Personnel :

    Charles Drain (Lead)

    Howard Robertson (First Tenor)

    Lionel Stokes (Baritone)

    John Hopkins (Second Tenor)

    Tuman Hughes (Bass)


    Discography :

    Singles :
    1961 - Dance All By Myself / Dance Party (Vee Jay 418)
    1962 - Mash Them Taters / But You're My Baby  (VeeJay 446)
    1963 - Two Stupid Feet / The Wallop (Wand 130)
    1963 - Take My Love Along With You / I'm With You (Wand 139)

    Unreleased :
    1962 - The Big Show (Wand)
    1962 - The Landlord (Wand)
    1962 - Laughing To Keep From Crying (Wand)


    Biography :

    Charles Drain was born in Eupora, Mississippi back in 1939. He began singing at the age of eight and formed his first group a couple of years later. After moving to St Louis, he secured work singing back-up vocals before joining the "Tabs" as their lead singer. The group back then consisted of Charles Drain, Sonny Robertson (1st tenor), John Hopkins (2nd tenor) & Lionel Stokes (baritone). All the guys were childhood buddies though a couple of additional members (Tuman Hughes & Leroy Terry) had dropped out down the years. Sonny Robertson had started out in gospel groups as a teenager and had sung in male gospel quartets back in St Louis with the likes of Mel & Tim. Although not actually a member of the group, Charles’ brother William (Billy) was influential in their development. Billy schooled the group, helping them develop their singing skills plus he wrote songs especially for them.

            The Tabs (2)

                                                                                                                             Charles Drain

    The group were signed by Vee Jay in 1962 and they enjoyed two 45 releases. Their first single was issued in December 1961 and this coupled “Dance All By Myself” (written by Ollie Jones) with “Dance Party” (written by Charles Drain himself). Their 2nd 45 also featured a song that Charles had written; “Mash Them Taters” (c/w “But You're My Baby”) and this escaped in June 1962. They got to tour, playing shows with the Miracles, Flip Wilson, Redd Foxx, Moms Mabley and the Isley Brothers at venues such as the Apollo, the Uptown in Philly, the Howard in D.C. & the Regal in Chicago. For their show at the Apollo, they were backed up by a group of musicians that included Phillip Upchurch (guitar) and King Curtis (sax). Next, the group were signed to a deal by New York based Wand Records. Their initial outing for the label was “Two Stupid Feet” (written by Wand's Luther Dixon) which was backed with a Billy Drain song “The Wallop” (Wand 130; February 1963).

    The Tabs (2)

    Reggie Obrecht, who had earlier worked with Leiber & Stoller on tracks by the Drifters, was responsible for the arrangements on the tunes. This single got some radio airplay and so Wand got behind it's release and placed some ads in US music magazines.  By April, “Two Stupid Feet” was popular enough to land the group a big theatre gig in Philadelphia and this was followed by a number of other theatre bookings on the east coast circuit. Another 45 came out that July; “Take My Love Along With You (William Drain) / I'm With You” (Ed Townshend, Alvin Stewart) but this didn't do as well. The group had cut a number of other tracks for Wand (“The Big Show”, “The Landlord” and “Laughing To Keep From Crying”) but these failed to make it out of the tape vaults and so their career began to drift.


    Songs :

    Dance All By Myself                        Mash Them Taters     

       Dance Party                                   Two Stupid Feet

    But You're My Baby                               The Wallop       

    Take My Love Along With You


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