One Mint Julep

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"One Mint Julep" is a rhythm and blues song written by Rudy Toombs that became a hit for the Clovers.[1] It was recorded by Atlantic Records in New York City on December 19, 1951, and released in March 1952. It was one of the first "drinking songs" to become a hit and one of the first to feature a tenor sax solo. It was an important step in the history of Ahmet Ertegün and Atlantic Records in its quest to become a hot rhythm and blues label.[2] Stylistically the Clovers were moving away from the sentimental lyrics of the romantic doo-wop group songs and adapting a cooler group style, emphasizing rhythm more, nearing the style of a jump blues combo.[3]

Toombs was hired by Atlantic to write humorous up-tempo rhythm and blues novelty songs. Atlantic wanted material that was true to life, but also funny. The humor in this song comes in part from the idea of a young black man getting drunk on mint juleps, thought of as an aristocratic southern white woman's drink.[2]


The story line is a classic one of a man who falls for the charms of a young woman only to realize a few years later that he has a ring on his finger. He remembers that it all started with "One Mint Julep".[3]

"One early morning as I was walking,"
"I met a woman, we started talking,"

The last verse outlines the trap.

"I don't want to bore you, with my trouble,"
"But from now on I'll be thinking double."[1]

Drinking songs[edit]

This is one of many popular R&B drinking songs to come out of the 1940s and 1950s.[4] It was the first of several successful up-tempo drinking songs by Toombs, who went on to write "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer" for Amos Milburn, "Fat Back and Corn Likker" for Louis Jordan and "Nip Sip" for the Clovers.[3]

Key recordings[edit]

In 1961 "One Mint Julep" finally reached a mass audience when Ray Charles's instrumental version reached No. 1 on the R&B charts, and also reached No. 8 on the pop chart.[2] Among the many who covered or remade this song are the following:[4]

The song is known for being part of the ending theme for the Elliot in the Morning show on WWDC and some rock stations along the eastern seaboard,

Preceded by
"Blue Moon" by The Marcels
Billboard Hot R&B Sides number-one single
(Ray Charles version)

April 17, 1961
Succeeded by
"Mother-in-Law" by Ernie K-Doe


  1. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 3 - The Tribal Drum: The rise of rhythm and blues. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. 
  2. ^ a b c Jim Dawson, & Steve Propes (1992). What Was the First Rock'n'Roll Record. Boston & London: Faber & Faber. pp. 99–101. ISBN 0-571-12939-0. 
  3. ^ a b c Gillett, Charlie (1996). The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll ((2nd Ed.) ed.). New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press. pp. 135, 165. ISBN 0-306-80683-5.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "gillett" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ a b "One Mint Julep". Retrieved 2006-11-02. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra - Cugi's Cocktails No.1 - Mercury - UK". 45cat. Retrieved 2013-06-09. 

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