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Garnet Mimms

Best known for his original rendition of "Cry Baby," later a major item in Janis Joplin's repertoire, Garnet Mimms' pleading, gospel-derived intensity made him one of the earliest true soul singers. His legacy remains criminally underappreciated, since for some reason he never scored another hit on the level of "Cry Baby," but his output from the early to mid-'60s -- a blend of uptown sophistication and earthy, impassioned vocals -- has earned comparisons to Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson from hardcore soul aficionados. Mimms was actually born Garrett Mimms in Ashland, WV, on November 26, 1933. He was mostly raised in Philadelphia, and began singing in church as a boy; during his teen years, he performed with several area gospel groups, including the Evening Stars, the Harmonizing Four, and the Norfolk Four, with whom he cut his first record in 1953.

Mimms subsequently served several years in the military, and upon his release, he returned to Philadelphia in 1958 and formed a doo wop quintet called the Gainors, whose ranks included Sam Bell and onetime Evening Star Howard Tate (later an acclaimed solo singer in his own right). The Gainors recorded singles for several labels over the next three years, including Red Top (later picked up by Cameo), Mercury (from 1959-1960), and Tally Ho (1961). Failing to produce a hit, Mimms left the group along with Bell and put together Garnet Mimms & the Enchanters, which were completed by Charles Boyer and Zola Pearnell. Thanks to Dick Clark's American Bandstand program, Philadelphia had become a haven for teen idols, and Mimms took his group to New York in 1963 in search of a more receptive scene. There they met songwriter/producer Bert Berns, who signed them to United Artists and teamed them with another songwriter/producer, Jerry Ragovoy.

Mimms quickly struck gold with the proto-soul performance of "Cry Baby," a smash hit that reached the pop Top Five and topped the R&B charts in 1963. The follow-up, a cover of Jerry Butler & the Impressions' "For Your Precious Love," hit the pop Top 40 later that year, as did the flip side, "Baby Don't You Weep." Mimms and the Enchanters parted ways in 1964; the group to record separately with a new lead vocalist, while Mimms cut solo sides for UA steadily over the next few years. Ragovoy's productions became increasingly polished, mirroring the shift in R&B spearheaded by Motown, yet Mimms' vocals retained all the fire of his gospel training, making for a combination that was fairly unique for the time. Minor hits like "It Was Easier to Hurt Her" and "I'll Take Good Care of You" (the latter Mimms' last Top 40 hit in 1966) didn't perform nearly as well commercially as their quality seemed to indicate. In 1967, United Artists moved him to their Veep subsidiary, where "My Baby" was another inexplicable flop (it, too, was later covered by Janis Joplin on Pearl).

Mimms subsequently followed Ragovoy to Verve, where he recorded four singles to little response; ditto for his brief stint at MGM. Mimms did make one last minor chart appearance in 1977, recording for Arista as Garnet Mimms & the Truckin' Company; the disco-funk single "What It Is" was produced by Brass Construction mastermind Randy Muller. Mimms retired from the music business permanently after becoming a born-again Christian. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Comments

annettefromn n 4 1
I love love love cry baby
Cry Baby signature not enough air play for Mr. Mimms man this man have a Beautiful voice.
That's what you thought you know you miss me !!!! To late and that's what happen I found someone who does care not just to play!!!!
awesome cry baby was the bomb I still love it today
schiger
this brings back the good old days
spartanfan34 5
Awesome voice. He had soul and passion. Thanks Pandora for selecting his song(s).
You should hear Mimms' rendition of A Quiet Place. A Carolina Beach Music classic also known as Johnny Dollar. Mimms is one of the great ones.
t_heath
Really great voice, lot of emotion.....
killerclown2 0 8 9
oh another one i love is call one summer night
killerclown2 0 8 9
good song there goes my baby
otia_rogers
a voice that touches the soul
greatly underappreci a t e d
that_good
One of the great voices.... thank God for the pleasure.
mimianulo
Great voice love it!
I remember this song very well.
Another great voice of the real soul sound. Love it!!
A recognizable sound . His voice quality and delivery style reminds me of Jackie wilson.Jerry Butler , the incomparable soulful crooner , remains in a world to himself. I agree with the adjective 'little''''' e n j o y the music1
GM reminds me a little of Jerry Butler. They may have recorded some of the same songs. Great music. Great voice.
Is Garnet Mimms still alive?
Little known artist with excellant sound. Everyone during this time knows these songs but most cannot name the artist. I enjoy listening to daily!
bsmith559
All I can say is...wonderf u l ! ! Proud to be of the era! Thank God for music.
Where is he now? Much to great a voice to be quiet!
One the best voices of his time! Everyone knows his songs but most people do not know this artist. He certainly ranks among the best.
Where in the world is Garnet Mimms?
sounds a little like Jackie Wilson would like to see him perform to compare
Simply one of the best, and when you combine stellar voice with magical phrasing you have perfection.. . . r e m i n d s me of OC Smith. Is he still around...not much info on his biography... . S t u n n i n g . . .
As good as Jerry Butlers, what a song, same emotion expressed Percy Sledges When a Man Loves a Woman. Oh, what love can do.
Where HAVE all the flowers gone, what a voice.
wcburrowsllc
How come I never heard of this guy before, fabulous!!

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