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Ace (CDTOP423)

Cry Baby, Don’t Change Your Heart, Baby Don’t You Weep, Anytime You Want Me, A Little Bit Of Soap, So Close, That Goes To Show You, More Than A Miracle, Prove It To Me, All About Love and more...

Marking more than 50 years since his breakthrough hit, Cry Baby, this set includes all 14 A & B sides of his singles for United Artists and Veep in the 1960s, and an incredibly consistent and impressive bunch they are.

Born in West Virginia but moving to Philadelphia at an early age, this gifted soul singer started performing in church as a young boy before joining numerous gospel and R&B groups. Upon teaming up with Jerry Ragovoy and through him, with Bert Berns, a crack song-writing team was soon in place. Alongside Garnet’s faultless voice, it was no surprise that the hits soon started coming, though nothing that would rival Cry Baby in 1963 in terms of commercial sales.

Across all 28 tracks here, there is a high level of East Coast sophistication, in terms of the highly literate songs and lush studio arrangements. The mastery of the craft ensures that stylistically Garnet is able to effortlessly and convincingly move from up-tempo dance-oriented numbers to slower ballads designed to tear at your heart strings.

As a consequence, the songs in this set are beautifully balanced, alternating between giving The Drifters a run for their money on the exemplary A Quiet Place, some heartfelt balladry of Welcome Home, and the gorgeous near-southern soul of That Goes To Show You. This track is introduced by a deep trembly guitar and driven on by punchy horns under Garnet confident vocals, complemented so well by lovely female backing singers. So Close also bounces along nicely and fits in as a funky dance number between some quality high gloss balladry. And could there be a more earth-scorching, taking-no-prisoners steamer than As Long As I Have You to close the set?   

Garnet Mimms should really have been massive and each and every one these enjoyable tracks is a testament to that fact. The impressive booklet provided with this CD helps explain the story behind his career, hopefully this release will also help further an appreciation of his fine talent.

Review Date: April 2015

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