Charles Mingus

Fables of Faubus

Song Review by

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.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Mingus Ah Um 1959 Legacy / Columbia 8:13
Lionel's Sessions 1977 Universe 6:12
Columbia Jazz Masterpiece Sampler, Vol. 2 1991
Various Artists
Columbia 8:12
Jazz Classics 1995 Peter Pan (ISP) 6:12
Goodbye Pork Pie Hat [Jazz Hour] 1995 Jazz Hour 24:55
This Is Jazz, Vol. 6 1996 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 8:15
No Image 1998 Moon
The Complete 1959 CBS Charles Mingus Sessions [Columbia/Legacy] 1998 Columbia / Legacy 8:13
The Sound of Jazz, Volume 5 1999 Galaxy Sound of Jazz 6:14
Fables of Faubus [Giants of Jazz] 1999 Giants Of Jazz Recordings 8:13
The Black Box of Jazz [Millenia] 2000
Various Artists
Castle / Essential 6:14
Portrait: Charles Mingus 2000 Sony Music Distribution 8:15
Black and White Box of Jazz [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
Pulse 6:14
The Unique 2003 Acrobat Music 6:14
The Sound of Love 2005 Master Tone Records / Point 6:14
The Jazz Biography 2007 United Multi Consign 0:00
Stuttgart Meditations 2007 Get Back Records 40:54
In the Mind of Jamie Cullum 2007 District 6 8:10
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Charles Mingus 2007 Verve 27:51
Very Best of Charles Mingus [Music Brokers] 2007 Music Brokers 6:10
Jazz Collectors, Vol. 1 [Music Brokers] 2009
Various Artists
Music Brokers 6:10
The Complete Columbia & RCA Albums Collection 2012 Columbia 8:13
The Complete Albums Collection 1957-1960 2016 Enlightenment Series 8:14