Mint Condition


One of a myriad of R&B-inspired American outfits who emerged in the early 90s, Mint Condition was formed by Larry Waddell (31 August 1963; keyboards), Homer O’Dell (b. 17 May 1965; guitar), Stokley Williams (b. 17 July 1967; vocals/drums), Jeff Allen (b. 17 November 1968; saxophone/keyboards), Keri Lewis (keyboards), and Ricky Kinchen (b. 7 July 1966; bass). The group was formed in 1989, and two years later found itself signed to Terry Lewis’ Perspective Records, for whom they released their Meant To Be Mint debut. Despite including the US Top 10 single ‘Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)’ and the minor hit ‘Forever In Your Eyes’, the album struggled to breakthrough into the mainstream charts. The same fate befell From The Mint Factory, released two years later. This time the hit single, ‘U Send Me Swingin’’, reached number 2 in Billboard’s Hot R&B chart and also broke into the pop Top 40. A concerted effort was then made to propel their third album, Definition Of A Band (1996), higher up the charts. Few critics quibbled with the standard of the writing and production displayed on this set, especially on the compulsive first single, ‘What Kind Of Man Would I Be’.

The sextet returned in 1999 with a new album on Elektra Records, which included the US Top 30 hit ‘If You Love Me’. A lengthy hiatus then ensued, during which keyboard player Keri Lewis left the group to concentrate on a production career. The remaining five members regrouped in 2005 and in the latter part of the decade released a series of studio and live albums on their Caged Bird Records label.