One Mint Julep

Album: Genius + Soul = Jazz (1961)
Charted: 8


  • 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)." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Faundell - Brooklyn, NJ, for above 2

Comments: 4

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 29th 1959, "One Mint Julep" by Chet Atkins entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart for a six week stay, peaking at #82...
    Fourteen months later on February 28th, 1961 Ray Charles' version entered the Top 100; and on May 1st, 1961 it peaked at #8 (for 2 weeks) and stay on the Top 100 for 13 weeks...
    And on April 17th, 1961 Mr. Charles' version reached #1 (for 1 week) on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    R.I.P. Mr. Atkins (1924 - 2001) and Mr. Charles (1930 - 2004).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny"One Mint Julep" was Ray Charles second instrumental record to make the Top 100; his first was "Rockhouse - Part Two", which peaked at #79 in 1958...
  • Nick from London, United KingdomThe Clovers were Atlantic's biggest selling vocal group with twenty-one hits in the R&B chart including three #1s and four #2s. This success did not carry over into the pop charts; perhaps they were just too black for the mainstream. Ahmet Ertegun (b. Istanbul 1923-2006) founded Atlantic Records in 1947 with his partner and former owner of National Records, Herb Abramson. Ertegun had fallen in love with jazz at an early age and he set the company up with the aim of releasing straight ahead jazz recordings. But Ertegun was also canny enough to realise the long-term potential of rhythm and blues, which was then sweeping the airwaves. Moreover, he was a budding songwriter and using his nom-de-plume of Nugetre, he wrote four hits for the Clovers including their first hit, Don't You Know I Love You So. Arranger Jesse Stone was behind most of their records, and his slick jazzy productions became the trademark sound of Atlantic's early years. The Clovers updated their earlier Orioles-based style to produce a more bluesy, jump-influenced sound with latin influences to the fore. Writer of One Mint Julep, Rudy Toombs seemed to have an obsession with alcohol; his other liquor-based songs included Nip Sip, Serve Another Round and One Scotch-One Bourbon-One Beer.
    Nick Duckett
  • Shell from Riverdale, GaInvented in the South and part of the tradition of the Kentucky Derby, not of horse races in general.
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