Tuesday, July 28, 2009

cry baby: battle royale


Garnet Mimms is one tight homie. First of all, his name is Garnet. Which is also the name of my birthstone. We were MFEO. Garnet has dipped his toe in soul, gospel, and doo wop. He is such a baller.

In the sixties, Garnet was hanging around New York and singing in a group called Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters. A songwriting team including master Jerry Ragovoy (he wrote "Time Is On My Side" that the Rolling Stones later covered) wrote a song for Garnet to sing called "Cry Baby." This song shot up the charts and was a huge smash. I mean, he is singing with so much passion. I almost want to shout along with this so hard I start crying. Amazing. Jerry went on to write several more songs for Garnet that were successes.

Later in his life, Garnet worked in prisons as a minister. Then he returned to music. He has released albums with pretty much every kind of music. His powerful voice shall live forever.

Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters - Cry Baby

I was Janis Joplin once for Halloween when I was about twelve. How tight? I really had it down. I was definitely channeling the Pearl album in my costume - I just wasn't hold enough to hold a bottle of SoCo. Are we on the same page with this? Anyway, I had the feathers in my hair and everything. The only thing that ruined it was my enormous tortoise shell glasses and probably some kind of orthodontics. Boring.

ANYWAY, if you thought Garnet was wailing in his version, get ready for this. Janis covered "Cry Baby" for her monumental 1971 album Pearl. This was her last album and she actually died before getting to finish recording vocals for some tracks. The thing is, Janis puts every single thing she has into these songs. I can't even handle her screams of pain. That opening screech. She was a troubled soul anyway but she channels it so much with her vocals. No one like her.

Sidenote: Janis was a big fan of Jerry Ragovoy songwriting, seeing as she also covered "Get It While You Can" on this same album and "Piece of My Heart" earlier in her career.

Janis Joplin - Cry Baby

Janis definitely had a rep for singing old blues and soul songs. Most of the time now, her versions are more well known than the originals. Some people are pretty critical of this. But I don't mind too much. She made them her own with her signature vocals and I will still listen to the older versions because I just love soul. Give these a listen and see what you think.

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