Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Genius + Soul = JazzReleased: 1961Charted:
A Mint Julep is a drink made with bourbon, sugar, and cracked ice. Served with a sprig of mint, it is a traditional drink at horse races.
The Clovers did the original version in 1952 (with a cover by Louis Prima the same year), but Charles made it uniquely his own. Other artists to record the song include Sarah Vaughan, Duane Eddy, Count Basie, King Curtis and The Ventures.
Released on ABC's Impulse! Jazz label, Charles' recording was a surprise hit. The producer was Creed Taylor, who started the Impulse! label. Charles' one and only album with Impulse! was due to their association with ABC Records, whom he was signed to.
This song is mainly an instrumental, with room for some improvised vocals. Taylor takes credit for the one vocal line in Ray's version of the song, stating he told Charles that during the break in the instrumental, he wanted Charles to say, "Just a little bit of soda." Charles seemed hesitant for a bit, but complied... sort of. Instead, he said, "Just a little bit of SOUL, yeah!" Interestingly, this "incidental" line helped further fuel the Soul Music Movement of the 60s. In addition, several other acts began using the phrase in their own way, most noticeably Little Stevie Wonder in his first hit, "Fingertips (Part 2)