On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters – Cry Baby (1963)
Wow! It’s 1963 and we’re continuing in the US today. Once again we’ll be immersing ourselves in a bit of soul. Why not? We’ve had some good examples of soul so far on this list. Our featured artist today is somewhat underappreciated and the song in question is better known by other artists’ recordings. This happens sometimes but thankfully this 1001 Songs list has gone back to an early recording. The artists today are Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters, and the song is Cry Baby.
Cry Baby is a somewhat tragic love song with the narrator singing about a woman who has decided she wants to be with someone else and has gone to be with them. Unfortunately, this relationship has not worked out, she’s extremely distressed and in need of comfort, so has come back to the narrator. He has two choices: either welcome her with open arms or tell her he isn’t interested. Our narrator acknowledges he should maybe say no but she is so beautiful and he loves her so much that whenever she comes back his door will always be open to her. This is either true or misguided love, depending on your individual perspective, of course.
Garnet Mimms’ voice is really powerful in this song but it is further enhanced by the backing vocalists who offer a stunning rendition of the chorus. The final verse takes a different turn with Garnet Mimms speaking the lyrics while his backing vocalists maintain the harmony. The overall subject is, for me, quite tragic really when you think about it. The song would be covered by many artists with Janis Joplin having one of the most famous renditions. Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters deserve great credit though for laying the foundations for what is a memorable song.
Favourite songs so far:
Johnny Cash – I Walk the Line (1956)
Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode (1958)
Ritchie Valens – La Bamba (1958)
Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues (1958)
Peggy Lee – Fever (1958)
The Everly Brothers – All I Have to Do Is Dream (1958)
The Shirelles – Will You Love Me Tomorrow (1960)
Edith Piaf – Non, je ne regrette rien (1960)
Ben E. King – Stand By Me (1961)
The Contours – Do You Love Me (1962)