Listen: Cry Baby / Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters GarnetCry.mp3
I’ll admit it. I had not heard this record, nor seeked it out, until Janis Joplin recorded her version of ‘Cry Baby’ in ’71. I’d seen Garnet Mimms’ records mentioned occasionally in the obscure sections of Billboard: like Bubbling Under The Hot 100, or listed as a possible minor hit in the ‘Chart’ section of their Singles Review page (the catagories were ‘Top 20′, ‘Top 60′ and ‘Chart’, in that order). Seemed like an eternity, those eight years between his release and hers. Now it’s just a blink.
Her rendition would make anyone want to seek out the original. She just tore it apart. Certainly Garnet Mimms’ RnB version had to be great too. Taste in black music Janis Joplin certainly had.
Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters’ ‘Cry Baby’ was worth the search. Turns out he’d sang in many gospel groups, as well as with Sam Cooke, before being drafted. Once discharged in ’57, he hit the circuit again before forming The Enchanters in ’62. They cut ‘Cry Baby’, and it went on to sell a million units, peaking in Billboard’s pop charts at #4. Within a year, the group disbanded.
Composed by then struggling Brill Building staff writers Norman Meade and Bert Russell (aka Bert Burns), and produced by Jerry Ragovoy, ‘Cry Baby’ is a now perfect snapshot of New York RnB in it’s heyday.