The Mints aka The Four Mints
The Mints (Center, Texas)
aka The Four Mints
James Wilson (Lead)
Gene Warr (First Tenor)
Aubie McSwain (Second Tenor)
Al Warr (Bass)
1956 - Busy Body Rock / "(Don't Leave Me) Alone (Lin 5001)
1956 - Night Air / Pledge Of Love (Ken Copeland) (Lin 5007 / Imperial 5432)
The Four Mints
1956 - What'Cha Gonna Do / Night Air (Choctaw 8002/Imperial 5432)
1957 - Gold / Ruby Baby (Decca 30465)
1958 - Hey Little Neil / Teenage Wonderland (NRC 003)
1958 - You Belong To My Heart / Wolf (NRC 011)
1959 - Tomorrow Night / Pina Colada (NRC 037)
1959 - The Fabulous Four Mints (AZTEC ALP 1002)
Journey's End / Love Is The Reason / You'll Never Walk Alone / Lonesome Road / Roll 'Em Pete / Born To Swing / Only You / Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall / Falling In Love / Scarlet Ribbons / Ruby Baby
The Four Mints (also known simply as the Mints) were a true oddity, a respected white vocal group in the midst of the early rock & roll era, capable of doing convincing R&B. James Wilson (lead), Gene Warr (first tenor), Aubie McSwain (second tenor), and Al Warr (bass) had known each other since childhood and sung together for years, throughout the '40s. Their main influence was gospel music, and they'd sung in churches for most of their lives.
The quartet had sung locally around Center, TX, mostly at local events and church functions. They took on the name the Four Mints and crossed over into popular music and R&B in 1954-1955. They'd always listened to the black R&B vocal groups of the period and proved good -- even inspired -- students: unlike, say, the Crew Cuts, the Four Mints didn't "bleach" out the sounds that they learned to create, but kept them intact even as they made them their own.
They were, in many respects, the group equivalent of the phenomenon that Sam Phillips claims to have been searching for, a white man who could sing black music.What's more, they were good enough to get bookings far outside of Center, even managing to cross paths with Elvis Presley in the process and even getting his future drummer, D.J. Fontana, on the skins for some of their gigs in Louisiana.
They cut a handful of songs for Lin Records in Gainesville, TX, including "Night Air" and "Little Mama Tree Top" (the latter unissued for 40 years). Although sometimes identified, for convenience's sake, as a doo wop group, the Mints were more animated than most of the acts to which the name is usually applied -- their models were groups like the Treniers, most of all, more so than the balladeer-type outfits usually called doo wop groups.
The Four Mints left Lin after just a few months for the much larger Decca label in 1956. They failed to generate any hits, but Decca's promotional efforts on their behalf and the resulting exposure gave them the intro the needed to break out of the south and become a national act.
They followed their idols, the Treniers, into the same Las Vegas clubs and remained popular for years. McSwain left the quartet in 1960. He was replaced, and the group lasted for another two years, breaking up in 1962.
Bruce Eder, All Music Guide
(updated by Hans-Joachim)
Magic Of Love Night Air Busy Body Rock
(Don't Leave Me) Alone
The Four Mints
Ruby Baby You Belong To My Heart / Wolf What'Cha Gonna Do / Night Air
Gold Hey Little Nell Teenage Wonderland
Tomorrow Night / Pina Colada
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