I first met Mingering Mike at a Denny’s in June. He brought along his cousin Joseph War. He didn’t say all that much. He kept his guard up. He ate slowly, listened to my questions, and only hinted that he may open up. I revisited the Mingering story a few months later.

I sort of put him off because I thought he’d be difficult. I was only partly right. It took me three weeks of begging and generally debasing myself before he allowed me inside his apartment. Lyrics, his lyrics, the ones he wrote at 12:05 p.m., and 4:03 a.m., etc., were buried under vinyl, VHS, and CDs. He had been writing songs for nearly 40 years and doing his own album artwork for albums that never saw proper release.

Mingering turned out to be a really sweet guy. What makes a man write songs in secret for 40 years? Who is Mingering Mike? I tried to find out. You can check the story here. The story includes three songs, one of which Mike hasn’t released, and one we did together with former arts editor Glenn Dixon. Yeah, I tried to write a song.

I will be updating our music blog, Black Plastic Bag, regularly in the next few days with unreleased Mingering lyrics, soul history tidbits, an interview with Chuck Brown and other soul legends. Stay Tuned.

Mingering may stop by City Desk, too.