If you follow me on Twitter, or have known me for any length of time, then you know that I LOVE the R & B band Mint Condition. Absolutely love them. I appreciate their musicianship and real music, and nobody can sang like Stokely.
I just can’t with some of this music out here today. It’s too much. Between the auto tune and the stuff that attempts to pass for hip hop/R & B/pop, I find myself relying more on older music. My Sirius/XM radio makes the rounds between Heart & Soul, The Groove, 70s on 70, and 80s on 8. I know I’m paying for many more channels and should probably make use of them…but these are programmed into my favorites.
Back to Mint Condition. I’m sure most R & B fans are familiar with their first hit, “Breakin’ My Heart” (Pretty Brown Eyes). Like everyone else, I loved that song, but it wasn’t enough to make me buy their first CD or give them much of a second thought. I wasn’t as in to music back then, either.
1993 marked my freshman year of college. That year, they came out with the From The Mint Factory CD. I fell IN LOVE with “U Send Me Swingin'”! That song sent me swinging! I would play it over and over because I went out and bought the cassette single. Yes, I said cassette single. It was 1993…cut me some slack! But still, I did not purchase the whole album.
I heard their music on the radio in the coming years, and while I definitely dug the singles they released (What Kind of Man Would I Be, You Don’t Have To Hurt No More), I still was not inclined to purchase any CDs.
Fast forward to 1999 and this CD:
Specifically track 7: “Is This Pain Our Pleasure.” I heard is on the radio and the beat, the words, Stokely’s voice…I ran IMMEDIATELY to Media Play (lawd, I’m old) and snatched it up. And basically listened to that song and “If You Love Me.” That as pretty much it, until I got my part time job.
I decided I wanted to pay off a few bills, so I got a part time job doing data entry. For 4+ hours I would enter in data on applications for 2nd and 3rd mortgages. BORRRRRRRRRING! They told us we could listen to CDs at our desks if we wanted to. This was before MP3 players, thank you very much!
One night, I brought in Life’s Aquarium and popped it in, not thinking much of it. I was just going to let it play while I typed.
I fell in love with that CD.
To borrow a phrase from MMH, who knew! IMHO, there is not one bad song on that CD. Not one. I can listen from start to finish. They have a song on there with Charlie Wilson, called “Pretty Lady.” Seriously? Who was doing songs with Charlie Wilson back then? Nobody! And at some point during my wedding, “This Day, This Minute, Right Now” WILL be played. That is an NDI (non-debatable issue – you can thank HH for that gem). LOL!
This band was just smart. Period. And they were more than just an R & B band. I found that out when I left the CD in and, after a long pause, the three bonus tracks kicked in. These dudes can play pretty much anything. And they actually play the instruments. I know that’s getting to be a foreign concept nowadays. Stokely, in addition to his velvet voice, can play the drums and the guitar. And probably some let ish I don’t even know about.
I was all ready for my next hit of Mint. And then the six year drought ensued.
Life’s Aquarium didn’t get much hype, and the guys were dissatisfied with their record company. They parted ways…and I ran my Life’s Aquarium CD into the ground, waiting for something new.
And then in 2005, they hit us with this:
Manna for heaven! They had their own label. Music was back! Before the CD was released,they advised that the first 100,000 copies would have a bonus DVD of them performing live. So, you know the kid was at Circuit City on that day, right?
Up until this point, I had never seen them live. I had NO IDEA what I was missing. Then I popped in that DVD.
And the rest, my friends, is history! It is impossible to see this band live and not love them. Matter of fact, if you haven’t seen them live, you are just missing out. Stokely drum solo? Check. Odell rolling around on the stage with the guitar? Check. Closing the show with an updated version of “Breakin’ My Heart?” Check.
After that, I made it my mission to see them live whenever they came to Charlotte. In 2008, my friend Stephanie got me the hook up (RIP, Moe) with their limo driver for their concert, and he got me their autographs. Winning, right?
And then THIS HERE HAPPENED at the Capital Jazz Fest in 2010:
Let the record show that Stokely is touching my shoulder, peeps! *twirls and faints*
Whew. OK. So yeah. I loves me some Mint Condition. And talking bad about them in front of me is like saying somethin’ bad about Miss Jenkins!
So don’t do it. LOL!
And that’s my story.