A Quiet Place - Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters
About twenty years ago I saw a listing in the telephone book (remember them?) for Rare Grooves, a specialist vinyl shop and the following Saturday paid it a visit. First impressions were not good, it being in a nearby small town in a defunct cattle market converted into one of those sad malls where all the shops are full of cheap or secondhand goods and even the bookshop is only second rate Mills and Boon and old Dan Browns. I found Rare Grooves at the furthest end, attended by a spotty youth who was unctuous in the extreme, and came out from behind his rack of Status Quo, Rod Stewart and Dire Straits platters to ask me what I wanted. I sensed he had nothing rare and said he wasn't to worry but he insisted, so I thought "I'll show him" and asked if he had anything by Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters, sure he'd never have even heard of them. I had barely heard of them myself, knowing only that said Mimms had recorded the original of "Cry Baby" subsequently covered fabulously by the inimitable Janis Joplin. But the spotty youth seemed to relish the challenge, turning aside to a wall of thin shelves each marked with a letter, and from the level marked "M" like a conjurer producing an egg from an ear, brought out a 45 and said enthusiastically: "I've got "A Quiet Place"; this one's a real beaut".
I was stunned, but not as much as I was when I took the single home and played it.
"A Quiet Place" is one of the all time greatest singles ever made from the opening shout of "Johnny, Johnny Dollar!" through the lamenting Mimms intro of
"Lady, lady lady
Why do you holler?
Ain't nobody seen your
backed by the Enchanters' superb doo-wop timpany that sounds as though it's straight from the nearby street corner, to the resigned fade-out two minutes and fifteen seconds of pure bliss later.
This song outdrifts the Drifters, melding Mimm's gospel singing roots with the nighttime urban environment in soul's gentle riposte to "Rear Window" as Mimms lists all of the different things that disturb him as he tries to sleep.
A few weeks later I went back with a list to see what other gems the spotty youth had to offer, but the shop had disappeared without trace leaving just a white plaster wall in the far corner of the mall.