Garnet Mimms

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Garnet Mimms
Birth nameGarrett Mimms
Born (1933-11-26) November 26, 1933 (age 88)
Ashland, West Virginia, United States
GenresSoul, rhythm & blues
Years active1953–1978
LabelsUnited Artists, Veep, Verve, GSF, Arista, Evidence

Garnet Mimms (born Garrett Mimms, November 26, 1933)[1] is an American singer, influential in soul music and rhythm and blues. He first achieved success as the lead singer of Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters, and is best known for the 1963 hit "Cry Baby", later recorded by Janis Joplin. According to Steve Huey at AllMusic, his "pleading, gospel-derived intensity made him one of the earliest true soul singers [and] his legacy remains criminally underappreciated."


Born in Ashland, West Virginia, United States,[1] Mimms grew up in Philadelphia, where he sang in church choirs and in gospel groups such as the Evening Stars and the Harmonizing Four.[1] He first recorded as a member of the Norfolk Four, for Savoy Records in 1953.[2][3] He returned to Philadelphia after serving in the military and, after a spell in a doo-wop group, the Deltones, formed another group, the Gainors, in 1958, with Sam Bell, Willie Combo, John Jefferson, and Howard Tate.[1] The Gainors recorded several singles over the next few years for the Red Top, Mercury and Talley Ho labels, but failed to have any chart success.[1] Mimms and Bell left the group in 1961, and joined with Charles Boyer and Zola Pearnell to form Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters.[2][4]

The group moved from Philadelphia to New York in 1963,[1] and began to work with the songwriter and record producer Bert Berns, who signed them to the United Artists label and teamed them with fellow songwriter and producer Jerry Ragovoy.[2] Dominic Turner wrote that "the partnership between the Enchanters on the one hand and Ragovoy and Berns on the other was very much an experiment in applying Mimms' gospel and deep soul roots to the new uptown soul in vogue in New York."[3] The new team had an immediate hit with "Cry Baby", written by Berns and Ragovoy, and with uncredited vocal backing by the Gospelaires, featuring Dionne Warwick, Dee Dee Warwick, and Estelle Brown.[5] The song topped the R&B chart and went to number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1963.[1] It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[4] The group followed it up with "For Your Precious Love," a cover of Jerry Butler and the Impressions' original, which hit the Billboard Top 30 later that year, as did the flip side, "Baby Don't You Weep."[2] Another hit recording with the Enchanters, "A Quiet Place", became a popular song among the Carolina beach music community.[6]

In 1964, Mimms left the Enchanters for a solo career;[1] with Sam Bell as lead vocalist, the group went on to have a minor hit with "I Wanna Thank You".[7][8] Mimms continued to record for United Artists, and had several minor R&B hits over the next two years, including "One Girl" and a cover of the Jarmels' "A Little Bit of Soap." Some of his recordings at that time, including "It Was Easier to Hurt Her", "As Long As I Have You", and "Looking For You",[1] later became popular on the British Northern soul scene.[3] Berns and Ragovoy produced Mimms' final Top 40 hit in 1966, "I'll Take Good Care Of You", which climbed to number 15 in the R&B chart and number 30 in the Hot 100.[7] Mimms also released three albums on United Artists, As Long As I Have You (1964), I'll Take Good Care Of You and Warm and Soulful (both 1966).[9]

He moved to the UA subsidiary label Veep in 1966, releasing several singles including "My Baby",[1] later recorded by Janis Joplin and made the live setlist of the last edition of The Yardbirds and early Led Zeppelin, and the following year toured in the UK with Jimi Hendrix. An album, Garnet Mimms Live, was recorded with Scottish band the Senate (who featured drummer Robbie McIntosh, later of the Average White Band), and was released in the UK in 1967.[10] He continued to work with Ragovoy, and in 1968 started recording for Verve Records.[5] In 1968–69, Led Zeppelin performed an extended version of Mimms' "As Long As I Have You" on their UK and US tours.[11] Mimms' final recordings for several years were issued on the GSF label in 1972.[5]

In the late 1970s, he released a few funk songs under the name Garnet Mimms and the Truckin' Company.[1] He had his only hit in the UK at this time, when "What It Is", produced by Randy Muller of Brass Construction, reached number 44 for one week on the UK Singles Chart in June 1977.[12]

Mimms gave up his music career shortly afterwards.[1] He became a born-again Christian,[1] and in the 1980s found his calling ministering to lost souls as part of the New Jerusalem Prison Ministry. He later established the Bottom Line Revival Ministries, again ministering to prisoners.[13] In 2007 he returned to recording, and a year later released a new gospel album Is Anybody Out There? on the Evidence label, produced and (primarily) written by Jon Tiven.

Mimms was given a Pioneer Award in 1999 by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.


Chart singles[edit]

Year Title Chart positions
US Pop[14] US
1963 "Cry Baby"
Garnet Mimms & the Enchanters
4 1 -
"For Your Precious Love"
Garnet Mimms & the Enchanters
26 * -
"Baby Don't You Weep"
Garnet Mimms & the Enchanters
30 * -
1964 "Tell Me Baby" 69 * -
"One Girl" 67 * -
"A Quiet Place"
Garnet Mimms & the Enchanters
78 * -
"Look Away" 73 * -
1965 "A Little Bit of Soap" 95 * -
"It Was Easier to Hurt Her" 124 - -
"That Goes to Show You" 115 - -
1966 "I'll Take Good Care Of You" 30 15 -
"It's Been Such a Long Way Home" 125 - -
"My Baby" 132 - -
1977 "What It Is"
Garnet Mimms & Truckin' Company
- 38 44

Note: * Billboard did not publish R&B chart in this period.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1701/2. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve, Biography, AllMusic. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Turner, Dominic, "Garnet Mimms", Black Cat Rockabilly. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 163. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  5. ^ a b c Discography, SoulfulKindaMusic. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  6. ^ Simmons, Rick, Carolina Beach Music: The Classic Years, The History Press, 2011, p. 117.
  7. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 308.
  8. ^ "The Enchanters* – I Wanna Thank You / I'm A Good Man" at Discogs.
  9. ^ "Garnet Mimms", Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  10. ^ "The Senate's Dundee Connection", Retro Dundee, September 23, 2010. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  11. ^ Led Zeppelin Concert Setlists. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  12. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 368. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  13. ^ Galligan, Matt, "GARNET MIMMS: Back To My Roots". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 476. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  15. ^ Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952–2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 518. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.

External links[edit]