Charles Mingus composed "Fables of Faubus" to mock the racist attitude of then-Arkansas governor Orvil Faubus, premiering the song on his Columbia LP Mingus Ah Um. The piece utilized a combination of a mocking sound from the horns, as if denouncing Faubus as a mere clown, along with a somewhat ominous sound from the saxes, to possibly imply the dangers of his fight against school integration. Mingus promptly re-recorded the song for Candid, but had to rename it "Original Faubus Fables" for that record because of contractual difficulties. At least nine different versions exist from Mingus' well documented 1964 European tour the group which included Eric Dolphy and Clifford Jordan, as well as additional versions from the 1964 recording Right Now and several later treatments, with a final arrangement for Mingus' last recording session as a bassist (before Lou Gerhig's disease robbed of his ability to play) with Lionel Hampton in 1977.
Both the posthumous tribute groups Mingus Dynasty and the Mingus Big Band have released versions of "Fables of Faubus." Interpretations by other musicians have been infrequent, though Pepper Adams, Ran Blake, Jay Hoggard and Enrico Rava are among the better known players who have recorded this historic work.