Eleven Days of Bass

The Four Mints were a wonderful Columbus, Ohio soul/funk four piece in the early Seventies bristling with hooks and irresistibly infectious instrumentation. A massive hit eluded them, and if it wasn’t for the wonderful Numero Group releasing their 1973 Gently Down Your Stream a few years ago they’d probably be totally forgotten today save a few Northern Soul fans (who loved their only almost hit ‘You’re My Desire’). For my money their ‘Too Far Gone’ is the highlight (and as long as I’m here I’d state it’s one of my favorite tracks ever) of that record; the vocals urge and wail, the drums compulsively drive forward (even when seeming to belie the songs actual subject matter), but it’s the bass (played probably by a Capsoul label session player so I’m unable to specify a name unfortunately), especially in the middle sections, that balances pulsing power with rollicking intricate fun. It bubbles and stretches everything; it’s fantastic.

The Numero Group release also features the track in its rehearsal state which is an interesting listen as well. The drums are a tad more rollicking, or at least appear so without the heavy bass track present in the polished studio version. The lyrics are more pained and raw, with adds to the exuberance of the liberation, but lack the punchy joy in the finished version. The finished version is so joyous in fact, I’ve argued that it ‘out happy’s’ the ecstatic contemporaries of the Four Mints, the Jackson 5, a band of yelping teenagers. That’s the wonder of American obscure Soul; grown men beating mere teenagers in exuberance! “Now I’m free, like a man should be…”

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