Tue. Aug. 03, 2021

Garnet Mimms – What It Is (Arista)

Lost but not least! Garnet Mimms – What It Is (Arista)

Bringing me back to the very first time I heard this. And in the meantime, the first time ever I came to Le Vaudeville in Brussels. And what a place this was! Those of you who’ve managed to get there at the time should remember. A club where you would be taken into the most infectious Disco, Soul, Funk jams one could think of back then…

This is how I stumbled upon Garnet Mimms‘ What It Is’, instantly caught up by its obsessive blend of strings and horn lines over an infectious rhythmic guitar driven rhythm pattern. That famous blend that would stand as producers Jeff Lane and Randy Muller‘s trademark.

Taken from Mimms‘s ‘Has It All’ Album back in 1978, altghough credited to Garnett Mimms & Truckin’ Company on its single release the year before. The opportunity to get to an outstanding singer who sadly happened to remain so underrated…

What’s the value of your vinyl record?

– Ashland, WV native Garnet Mimms grew up in Philadelphia where he started singing in church choirs and Gospel groups, with his first recording dating from 1953 as a member of the Norfolk Four

Gifted with an incredible voice, he remained quite underrated, although he collaborated with luminaries such as Jimi Hendrix. But also The Senate which featured drummer Robbie McIntosh of the Average White Band fame. He eventually seeing some of his songs covered by Janis Joplin (‘Cry Baby’) and Led Zeppelin (‘As Long As I Have You’).

1977 saw him releasing the Funk fuelled ‘Has It All’ album featuring the infectious ‘What It Is’ carrying the instantly recognizable signature of producers Jeff Lane and Randy Muller of the Brass Construction fame.

Mimms gave up his music career shortly afterwards.

– Born in Guyana, Randy Muller relocated to Brooklyn, NY where he first took up music at Thomas Jefferson High School. There, he made friends with Solomon Roberts, Jr. and Jeff Lane with whom he would establish some solid partnership along with time.

Muller started arranging songs for Jeff Lane‘s group B.T. Express. Meanwhile the latter became his partner, producing early material for his group, Brass Construction.

A multi-instrumentist, Randy established himself as the driving force of the latter, Skyy, Funk Deluxe and First Circle. This resulting in an incredible series of standards. From ‘Movin” to ‘Love’, ‘Ha Cha Cha’ and ‘Music Makes You Feel Like Dancing’. But also ‘Can You See The Light’ or ‘Walkin’ The Line’ for Brass Construction. Then ‘First Time Around’, ‘Let’s Celebrate’ and ‘Here’s To You’. This in addition to ‘Call Me’, ‘Skyyzoo’, ‘This Groove Is Bad’ and ‘Show Me The Way’ for Skyy. Not to mention ‘This Time’ and ‘Workin’ Up A Sweat’, respectively for Funk Deluxe and Full Circle.

The depository of an instantly recognizable sound, he has collaborated with countless artists. From Garnet Mimms (What It Is’) to Charles Earland. But also Mark Radice and Tamiko Jones. Meanwhile he would bring Rafael Cameron to sign a record deal with Salsoul Records. This resulting in extra goodies such as ‘Magic Of You’, ‘Funtown U.S.A.’, ‘All That’s Good To Me’. And last but not least ‘Boogie’s Gonna Get You’ with remix work courtesy of François K.

Still in activity nowadays, Randy runs his own label, Plaza Records, which he launched back in 1988.
Also a flautist, ‘Livin’ In Da Rhythm’ saw him more recently exploring jazzy territories under his Randy Muller Boom Chang Bang guise. Meawnhile he also ventured sporadically into House such as on the firing ‘Devotion’ and on ‘Worm Theory’ as… Worm Theory.

His natural penchant seeing him returning to Soul and Funk vibes along with Carolyn Harding on the blowing ‘Beautiful Feelin”. This with additional remixes courtesy of Nigel Lowis.

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