The Mint Juleps - the six-piece all-female a cappella group - arrived at Stiff Records just as the label was starting to collapse in the mid-80s. Which is a terrible shame as they sensed something fresh and new in the band and, with some long terms support, could have made them a significant pop act.
The group centred around four sisters: Sandra, Debbie, Lizzie and Marcia Charles, who were joined by their two school friends Julie Isaac and Debbie Longworth. Before they landed at Stiff they’d gained great experience touring with everyone from Sister Sledge to Billy Bragg, and they’d sung back-up for Bob Geldof and Stiffies the Belle Stars and Dr. Feelgood.
Some likened the group to the Flying Pickets, but that didn’t do them any justice. The Pickets were about comedy songs as much as anything, whereas the Juleps tried to present a soulful a cappella style fused with earthenware rock songs. The results speak for themselves: a cover of Neil Young’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart (BUY 241) was their first single, followed by a cover of Robert Palmer’s Every Kinda People (BUY 257).
1985’s One Time (JULP 1) was recorded live at the Hackney Empire entirely a cappella with no overdubs and featured predominantly 60s Motown, soul and pop. By their last single - Girl To The Power Of 6 (BUY 263) – they were heading down an interesting new direction. It was produced by Trevor Horn, another factor which took them light years away from other a cappella groups. It was also an original and paved the way for a direction change that took them into primitive Salt N Pepa, US radio territory.