Tuesday, February 12, 2008

F is for The Four Mints

Thank god for the fine folks at Numero Group. Whether it's their amazing Eccentric Soul series, the two entries they've delivered in the Cult Cargo series or their collections of rare folk releases, they put together consistently amazing releases. The track-listings are excellent, the production quality is top-notch, the liner notes educational and the packaging is beautiful - if you're a music lover, can you really ask for more?

I would have said 'no' but apparently when the folks at Numero Group asked themselves this question, the answer was instead 'yes' and so now we're treated to a new imprint called Asterisk (*). This 'sub-label' will focus on releasing full-length albums from a variety of artists discovered while researching the minor labels they've excavated. As the news section at Numero Group's website puts it: "While we were busy compiling obscure soul labels and documenting non-genres like gospel funk and kid soul, fantastic little albums got stuck on our turntables. Not long enough to warrant the elaborate Numero treatment, and yet too good to keep secret, we had to start an entirely new label to house these curiosities."

There are four Asterisk titles so far (of which I've heard three - still waiting to check out Johnny Lunchbreak's Appetizer/Soup's On) and while I'm especially impressed with the self-titled album from Chicago's Boscoe, in keeping with my alphabetical postings so far, we're going to talk a bit about The Four Mints' Gently Down Your Stream.

Fans of the Eccentric Soul series will no doubt notice that The Four Mints were included in the very first release, The Capsoul Label, which featured "You're My Desire" and "Row My Boat" (which lead off Gently Down Your Stream).

The Mints - like the Capsoul Label itself - were from Columbus, Ohio and Gently Down Your Stream was their only album. It was recorded in 1973 and served as a ten-track vehicle for the five singles the group recorded. As Numero Group explains, the 1997 pressing of a CD version was terrible due to a faulty turntable drive that slowed the crisp soul harmonies, creating a sonic sludge. The remastered version Asterisk has issued rectifies this problem, and adds three rehearsals and instrumentals to boot. I strongly encourage you to pick up this record if you're a soul fan.

Here's an mp3 of the 45 version of "You're My Desire" that I found on Derek's Daily 45 blog.

And here's a 'video' of "Why Did I Go"

Don't forget to check out the Numero Group website and all their great releases.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...

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