b. Garnett Mimms, 16 November 1933, Ashland, West Virginia, USA. A former member of Philadelphia-based gospel groups the Evening Stars and the Norfolk Four, Mimms formed a secular quintet, the Gainors, in 1958.
The line-up included future soul star Howard Tate, as well as Sam Bell, Willie Combo and John Jefferson. Over the next three years, the Gainors made several singles for Cameo Records, Mercury Records and Tally-Ho which, although unsuccessful, betrayed a contemporary soul feel. The group subsequently evolved into Garnet Mimms And The Enchanters, where the singer and Sam Bell were joined by Charles Boyer and Zola Pearnell. Signed to United Artists Records in 1963, they came under the tutelage of writer/producer Jerry Ragovoy. His inspired work helped create some of urban R&B’s finest moments. The impassioned ‘Cry Baby’ was an immediate US R&B number 1/pop number 4 hit, while ‘Baby Don’t You Weep’ and ‘For Your Precious Love’ consolidated their arrival. The group split in 1964, when Mimms embarked on a solo career. Although the Enchanters found a new vocalist and continued to record, they were overshadowed by their former leader. Mimms’ subsequent releases, ‘Look Away’, ‘It Was Easier To Hurt Her’ and ‘I’ll Take Good Care Of You’, were artistic triumphs, pitting the singer’s church roots against Ragovoy’s sophisticated backdrop. Such excellent records were not always well received, and in 1967, Mimms was demoted to United Artists’ subsidiary Veep. ‘My Baby’ and ‘Roll With The Punches’ followed, but the singer’s tenuous position was confirmed when the latter was only released in Britain. Ragovoy then took Mimms to Verve Records (where he was also producing Howard Tate), but the four singles that appeared, although good, found little favour. It was not until 1977 that the singer returned to the chart. Credited to Garnet Mimms And The Truckin’ Company, ‘What It Is’ was a minor R&B hit and even clipped the UK chart at number 44. Mimms is now a born-again Christian and has not recorded for many years.