Mint Condition   1 comment

Mint Condition is an R&B band from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Formed in the late 1980s, its original members were Stokley Williams (lead vocals, drums, percussion), Ricky Kinchen (bass guitar), Homer O’Dell (guitar), Larry Waddell (keyboards, piano), Keri Lewis (keyboards, synthseizer), and Jeffrey Allen (saxophone, keyboards). Currently, this line-up remains intact, with the exception of Lewis, who left the group to produce for other artists. The group is well known for its highly diverse musical style (able to play anything from traditional jazz stylings to mainstream R&B and rock-based music to funk grooves and even Latin and Jamaican-based rhythms) and also its captivating live performances. The band is also well known for their well written and produced R&B ballads, mainly in the 1990s. They mostly known for their hits “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)” (1991) and “What Kind of Man Would I Be” (1996)



[edit] History

Mint Condition has been together since they were students at Central High School in Saint Paul.[1]

[edit] 1989-1995: Meant To Be Mint

Discovered and originally signed to Perspective Records by music producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis in 1989 (after being heard at a performance at a club in downtown Minneapolis called First Avenue), their debut album was entitled Meant To Be Mint (released in 1991). Despite their musical versatility the band attempted to attract New Jack Swing listeners with their dance cut “Are You Free”, but it wasn’t successful (the song hit #55 on the R&B charts). However, they did enjoy major success with the ballad “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)“. The song stayed on the charts for 34 weeks, hitting the R&B top 5 (#3), and the Pop Top 10 (#6) and was certified gold by the RIAA. The third single “Forever In Your Eyes” was also a successful Top 10 R&B hit (#7 R&B). Two years later they released their 2nd platinum album, From The Mint Factory (1993). They enjoyed success with the single “U Send Me Swingin'” which peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart for four weeks straight in the spring of 1994. The song was also a smash on the Rhythmic Top 40 charts where it reached #14. The bands next two singles “Someone to Love” and “So Fine” were Billboard Top 30 R&B hits hitting the #28, and #29 spots respectively.

[edit] 1996-2000: Still Meant to Be Mint

In September 1996 saw the release of Definition of a Band which would be the bands most successful period in their career. The album peaked the R&B Top 15. The first successful single on this album was the Billboard R&B smash hit single “What Kind Of Man Would I Be?” which was about remaining faithful in a relationship (#2 R&B, #17 Pop). The single crept up to the number 2 spot on the Billboard R&B charts in a matter of weeks and received a Gold certification by the RIAA that December. “What Kind Of Man Would I Be?” was so popular due to the fact it featured the late and beautiful actress, Michelle Thomas (RIP), that it stayed on the Billboard R&B Charts for a total of 41 weeks before it finally fell off. “You Don’t Have to Hurt No More” was the second single released from Definition of a Band and it was also a Top 10 R&B hit. (#10 R&B, #32 pop). With the success of these two singles along with the positive reviews that the album received allowed Definition of a Band to reach Gold status as well. Two years later, The Collection: 1991-1998, a greatest hits compilation, was issued. After Perspective Records/A&M folded, the group signed with Elektra Records in 1999, releasing their fourth full-length album, Life’s Aquarium which also debuted in the Top 10 (#7 R&B). Its main single, “If You Love Me”, hit the R&B Top 5 while appearing on the R&B Charts for 31 weeks. The second single “Is This Pain Our Pleasure”, peaked at #42, while also peaking at #34 on the R&B Airplay Charts.

[edit] 2000s: Livin’ The Luxury Brown and E-Life

After a six year hiatus, the group resurfaced as a quintet due to former member and keyboard player Keri Lewis leaving the group to produce for other artists, such as his wife, singer Toni Braxton. In 2005, they released Livin’ The Luxury Brown on their independent label Caged Bird Records. The album hit #1 on the Independent Album Charts. Live From The 9:30 Club, a performance of a concert at the 9:30 club in Washington DC, was issued in 2006.

In 2008 they released a new album entitled E-Life which debuted at #8 on the Billboard R&B album chart, and spawned two singles, “Baby Boy, Baby Girl” and “Nothing Left To Say.” The second single “Nothing Left To Say” became the band’s first Top 30 R&B single in almost a decade (#27 R&B) and also a Top 5 Billboard Urban Adult Contemporary hit peaking at #3.

[edit] 2010-Present: 7…, Tour with Prince, TV appearances

The new Mint Condition album 7… will be released on April 5, 2011[dated info] on Shanachie Records. It features their new hit single “Caught My Eye” as well as their collaboration with Kelly Price, “Not My Daddy”, also a hit. The album is reportedly called 7… because it is the seventh studio album of their career. The songs run the gamut from their signature love ballads through funk and soul tracks with touches of jazz and rock. And, responding to longstanding requests from their fans, there’s even an instrumental track. A special limited edition of the album featuring five bonus tracks not available elsewhere (three new songs and two live recordings) is being made available exclusively at Best Buy stores.

Beginning in December 2010, Mint Condition joined pop legend Prince and an ensemble cast of R&B and Jazz musicians for his Welcome 2 America tour.

They appeared as the house band for TV One‘s program Way Black When every night during February 2011.

This year, Mint Condition is celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band.


Posted February 19, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

One response to “Mint Condition

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  1. Hey very nice blog!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally?I am glad to find numerous useful information here within the post, we’d like develop more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

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