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Rock 'n' Reel

It started with a Disc


So how did your great love affair with music begin? Each issue we give RNR's writers a chance to share their version of an age-old story...


Home taping is killing music!" hectored the 80s slogan,grimly. Really? It's true that it was taking money out of the industry, the bean counters apoplectic that music was been accessed for free. Little did they know what was just around the corner in the next century.

In my case, and I'd guess in many others', it simply nurtured my desire for music. What little I could access without paying just stimulated my habit, sending me out in search of more, cost be damned! My first experience of home-taped music came early on: certainly before I could operate a tape-recorder; quite possibly before I could walk or talk. This comes down to two key happenings: my dad getting a Philips four-track reel-to-reel, and him teaching at the local secondary school. A longtime jazz nut – “Nothing after 1929,” he would proudly proclaim of his tastes – the purchase of the Philips would enable him to copy the scarce 785 shared among the coterie of enthusiasts at Colchester Jazz Club. They were all at it: I'm surprised the place wasn't raided!


As the 50s turned into the 60s, though, he showed remarkably catholic tastes for one so self-admittedly purist, by borrowing records from his students at school. He'd bring them home for a night, and by next morning, these newfangled long-haired rockers would be sharing tape space with Bix Beiderbecke, Jelly Roll Morton and Jack Teagarden, to the longstanding benefit of my three siblings and me. The Beatles and the Stones, obviously. 'Twist And Shout', yay! 'Little Red Rooster', meh. Elvis's 'It's Now Or Never' barely hinted at what other joys The King had in store. Much preferred was homegrown equivalent Joe Brown's 'That's What Love Will Do', still a favourite to this day.


As the decade rolled on, my father's students' tastes grew hairier: I remember The Beatles' 'White Album'sparked a lot of interest at home; Jethro Tull's Stand Up, less so, although I particularly liked the stand-up cover. My father's taste in jazz was evolving towards acoustic blues by this time, and Tull's bombast I feel he found over-egged. Much more up his street, the following year, was the debut album by Mungo Jerry.


Curiously, when this album arrived in our house, I don't recall ever having heard their international smash hit 'In The Summertime? Released in the aftermath of the then relatively unheard-of band's surprise success at Staffordshire's Hollywood Festival, the single lodged itself at the top of the U.K. charts for seven weeks that June, a placing it also achieved in (deep breath) Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa,Sweden and Switzerland. In the U.S.A., it limped to a shameful Number Three in the Billboard Hot 100.

When the band's self-titled debut album surfaced the following month on Pye’s ‘progressive' imprint Dawn, it didn't feature the single, which had been released on a three-track 33 ‘maxi single’. Recorded during the same sessions, however, the album seems to set a different tone, quite apart from their – let's face it – novelty hit.


Harking back to the largely acoustic front-porch sounds of depression-era southern U.S.A. – with its barrelhouse piano, banjo, jug and kazoo – it was somewhat at odds with the heavy progressive blues of Blodwyn Pig, Savoy Brown and The Groundhogs, who were just breaking through at the time. As such, aiming old-fashioned good-time music at a young pop-loving audience, it was the first record to come into the house where my father and I really bonded. Indeed, to the exclusion of the rest of the family. As the youngest in the family, I was particularly drawn to the band's name, which I recognised from T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats, a favourite bedtime read. I was also much taken with the album's sleeve, featuring a 3D gatefold image, complete with red/green glasses.


We both enjoyed most of the tracks - a cover of Jesse Fuller's “San Francisco Bay Blues' was one of the highlights – although the old man seemed inclined towards those written by jug and banjo player Paul King, with his almost-world-weary vocals – he particularly loved “Tramp', featuring the jazzy violin of Johnny Van Derrick. I, meanwhile, preferred those of main singer, Ray Dorset, he of the impressive Afro-and-mutton-chop combination. Best of all, for me, was the wildly unrestrained 'See Me', featuring Dorset's blistering lead guitar and Colin Earl's pounding Joanna. But how could a eight-year-old fully understand Dorset's gurning lasciviousness and lyrics of? sexual predation? Later redeployed on the following year's Number One single ‘Baby Jump', I'll admit to feeling a little uncomfortable listening today. 

Nonetheless, I was fully enthused by the band and revelled in my newfound secret knowledge. I was certainly the only kid in my school who could list the band members by name; probably in all of Essex! Sadly, however, that line-up wouldn't stay together for long; indeed, they'd probably already begun to fracture by the time I heard them. Bassist Mike Cole, was given the boot in late 1970. After two more albums, with Dorset now indistinguishable in the public eye from the persona of Mungo Jerry, King and Earl left to form the King Earl Boogie Band, with Earl also joining brother Roger in U.S.-based Brit blues-rockers Foghat. As time wore on, my musical taste was greatly enriched by my father's high-school borrowings – Dylan, Lightnin' Hopkins, Ed Lang and Lonnie Johnson all joined my record collection, while I returned the favour, introducing him to Western swing. I still occasionally meet people who share their treasured vinyl back in the day; if you're the Halstead Secondary School student who lent him that Mungo Jerry album, I'm truly grateful. 

Gerry Ranson


Musikwoche

On August 15, 1970, “In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry was number one in the single charts in Germany for the first time. Overall, the song took pole position in more than two dozen countries that year, including Great Britain. France, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Canada. Australia or New Zealand. In the USA, the snappy, light-footed summer hit came third. The total sales of the song should now approach the mark of 40 million. “In The Summertime is considered the greatest summer hit of all time, for which its publishing partner Sony / ATV also presented Ray Dorset with a special award in 2000. The Wikipedia list of the best-selling singles in history leads his worldwide success in third place behind Bing Crosby's White Christmas "and Elton John's Candle In The Wind 1997. In the UK," In The Summertime was already on Dawn Records, a subsidiary of Pye Records at the time At the end of May 1970 as the world's first maxi single on the market and only with a delay as a normal 7-inch single with 45 revolutions per minute playback speed. Countless cover versions of the song have been made over the decades. For example Elton John, Billy Idol and even Bob Dylan sang In The Summertimes, the 1995 version of Shaggy feat. Rayvon - with Mungo Jerry involved.


Ray Dorset, who long ago made the band name Mungo Jerry his personal stage name, remembers how the smash hit came about. "The tune came to my mind one evening when I was trying out the second-hand Fender Stratocaster that I had just gotten from a music store in West London. The next morning I still couldn't get it out of my head and I decided to write a text for it. Daydreaming, I had the idea for the lyrics within minutes. With In The Summertime I created my kind of celebration of life - not only my own, but also from the point of view of many other people."


"In the studio, recording the track was a pretty straightforward process - but like all of the other 16 tracks I played for the first Mungo Jerry album - much with spontaneous, imaginative and at the time unconventional inputs. We recorded the accompaniment first - electric guitar, double bass, banjo and piano. Paul King added the log part and I have two vocal tracks - including mouth percussion - as well as acoustic guitar, Cabasa and the pounded Rhythms." That the song was in the charts was registered when he was reading a music magazine while he was on a gig for a TV show in Germany: "What particularly surprised me was that Mighty Man, the track that was also on the single at the time, also reached the top 20". Throughout the summer of 1978, Mungo Jerry received more and more inquiries from all over Europe and other continents. It was a time of endless waging from country to country and from place to place. Life never got the way it was before I composed and recorded this funny song, Dorset concludes. This song celebrates life and has brought great happiness and fond memories to millions of people from all over the world, and is rediscovered over and over again by their youngsters. It was a godsend to be able to do something like that, and I will be forever grateful for it.


The marketing rights “In The Summertime” are owned by BMG. Didier Dehauteur, Vice President International Catalog Marketing EMG Rights Management UK:  "In The Summertime is probably the best known and most popular summer song of all time. After becoming one of the best-selling singles in pop music history, surpassing the 30 million mark and topping the charts around the world 50 years ago, it is no coincidence that new generations continue to receive the song as the perfect summer anthem. The undeniable talent of its composer, Mungo Jerry, has created a cross-generational, cross-religious and cross-gender anthem that has withstood the ravages of time. The song is technically perfect and didn't need remixes or modernization, while it's still being covered by aspiring musicians around the world. He is a real blessing. It is our privilege and our obligation to support the song with the most modern marketing tools so that it can continue its long journey through more and more generations. That's exactly what we're doing with the latest Lyrics video released this summer for its 50th birthday."


The animated video clip of the Official Lyrics video for "In The Summertime" already generated almost 300,000 views. In the anniversary year, the hit and its creator have a strong multimedia presence despite the corona crisis. In Ray Dorset's homeland, Great Britain, the BBC aired a documentary about Mungo Jerry. In Germany, for example, a visit to the ZDF “Fernsehgarten”, a report in “Bild am Sonntag”, a special edition of the oldies magazine “Good Times” and features in various radio stations were among the promotional activities for the anniversary coordinated by Hans Derer, the has worked with the artist, who lives in Bournemouth, England, for 20 years. On his label 7us he has three albums by Mungo Jerry on offer with the studio albums "XStreme" and "Touch The Sky" and the re-released sampler Cocktail with comments by the artist on his hits and also offers these at a reduced price in a package.


Hans Derer enthuses: "Ray is one single creative factory, both musically and in business - always on the move, always on the go. Even with his 74 years of age, looking incredibly virile and youthful, tough, full of zest for action and with new ideas at the start. Before others even knew what digitization meant, he was already doing business successfully online. I don't know anyone who is as up-to-date as Ray. The thoroughbred musician, who briefly played with Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green in the blues rock band Katmandu in the eighties, demands a lot, but is one of those artists who perform well also appreciate. In short: it is simply fun to work with," says Derer, and adds: “His sons, Phillip, a success that is in demand worldwide as a rich social media manager, and Miguel, an excellent photographer who takes all the official photos of his father keeps him busy as does James Dorset, the owner of his own label, his father with Mungo's Boot Power Band, in which over 100 musicians performed the official anniversary version of In The Summertime on Zoom. made a truly beautiful gift."


Mungo Jerry would have liked to tour the big jubilee of the world hit - especially in Germany, which is now its most important market, as Hans Derer notes. The local booking partner Hypertension had planned a club tour for autumn but it fell victim to the corona crisis. Maybe something will happen again in 2021 when the next anniversary is Dorset's 75th birthday.

Morgenpost

DRESDEN - There are many summer hits, but there is only one "In the Summertime". Mungo Jerry's title climbed to the top of the German charts tomorrow 50 years ago. During a flying visit to Dresden, mastermind Ray Dorset (74) told the story of Songs of his life.

This melody is the soundtrack for summer - and has been for half a century. When it gets warm and the sun is shining, you hear "In the Summertime" on radios around the world! 50 years ago Ray Dorset came up with this timeless hit and since then the happy melody with the carefree lines has inspired several generations Released May 22nd - 1970, the single quickly stormed to the top of the UK charts and only three months later, on August 22nd, it also took first place on the German charts and stayed there for seven weeks.

"One evening I was jingling around on the used Fender Stratocaster that I had just bought for £ 75 from a music store in West London," the ever-smiling singer with the wild curls recalls today. "The next morning I had the tune for the song in my head. I started dreaming and in a few minutes came up with the idea for the lyrics. " It became a kind of celebration of life, not just of his own

But from that of many people - and made it to number 1 in 26 countries. Ray only saw the chart success in Germany by chance. "I think I must have seen it when I was browsing a music magazine in Germany while doing a gig or a TV show," he says. But what really surprised him was that "Mighty Man" was another Track of the EP, also reached the top 20. That changed everything for Mungo Jerry overnight. Ray Dorset, who at the time still had a regular job in a laboratory at Timex, recalls: “The sales were incredible. Up to 72,500 copies were sold a day, and if the numbers fell below 30,000, we thought it was bad news. ”In the summer of 1970 he had to quit his job because the band was only on the go. At short notice there were requests for performances at festivals in Germany, Holland, Denmark, Spain and France. Dorset: "It was a time of endless travel from country to country and from place to place."

For the 50th anniversary of the greatest summer hit of all time, the 74-year-old is giving himself two new music albums: the songs on “X-Streme” are bursting with energy and audible joy of playing; simple, happy songs meet thumping grooves and traditional rhythm & blues. With "Touch The Sky" you can hear eight brand new songs in the typical, classic and timeless Mungo-Jerry sound, traditional, yet fresh and modern, supplemented by three live versions

The musician says: "They are reminiscent of the wild years that began one day after the release of" In the Summertime "with an appearance at the legendary Hollywood Music Festival."

Ray Dorset still has to sing his timeless summer hit at numerous appearances. “The song is a celebration of life that has brought happiness and fond memories to millions of people around the world. It was a God given gift to be able to achieve this and I will be forever grateful for it. ”40 million records sold, 250 million streams and downloads, and over 1000 cover versions made the ultimate Sun & Fun anthem immortal. It is one of the three best-selling physical singles in the world - after Bing Crosby's “White Christmas” and Elton John's “Candle In The Wind”. 

Andreas Weihs

BILD AM SONNTAG

For the Mungo Jerry singer, it's still everyday "Summertime"

The sun burns down from the sky, we want to laugh, love, sip drinks and touch the sky in our minds at least once a day! Anything goes - with "In The Summertime". For so many years the song from 1970 has delivered the ultimate super summer feeling.


The story begins on a borrowed guitar: In 1968, electrical engineer Ray Dorset (then 22) remembered the magical catchy tune on the second-hand instrument in London: "It was just suddenly there, the text came by itself, a matter of ten minutes," he says to Bams.

It should be ten minutes for eternity: On June 6, 1970, the song by his band Mungo Jerry entered the British charts and shot to number one. 26 countries followed, in Germany the top position was reached on August 22nd.

The song changed everything for the composer overnight. Suddenly everyone wanted to be my friend," recalls Ray Dorset. "Especially those I was a nobody to." Mungo Jerry tours the world, sometimes performing for three days in three countries. "It was like the flight to the moon, the party of my life," says Ray Dorset. From now on every day is summertime for him.

25 years later, when the song has long since become an evergreen, a young model from Bielefeld falls in love with the man with the summer feeling on a cruise.

"Her name was Britta, and she danced to the music when I was on tour with the Oldie-Express," remembers Ray Dorset. "We fell in love, got married in 1995." The couple bought a house in Bielefeld and the Briton learned German. "I can still use the words lightning, thunder, bratwurst, bockwurst and Kurpark today," says Dorset proudly. The children Phillip ( 28) and Miguel (23) complete the happiness. In 2010 it goes back to Bournemouth, England, where wife Britta (51) is setting up a beauty salon.

Ten brilliant minutes on the loaner guitar made Ray Dorset rich. He doesn't give numbers. “I'm fine,” he says simply.

Dorset is still on the road with the song, appears in TV shows, like last week in the ZDFFernsehgarten ”. The secret? “His message,” says Ray Dorset. “This song celebrates life. Everyone can take part. It's easy to be happy. "


BY VOLKER TACKMANN

Cannstatter-Zeitung

Ray Dorset has a good connection to the Stuttgart region. He performed at the opening of the festival in 2011. Now his song "in the summertime" is celebrating its 50th birthday. With his band Mungo Jerry the song conquered the world.


Bad Cannstatt - three minutes and 30 seconds changed his life. Until then, “In the summertime” can be heard. It was written by Ray Dorset, who reached number 1 on the German charts exactly 50 years ago with his band Mungo Jerry. In the first year alone, six million records were sold. There are now 40 million. The song became a global summer hit. Even after 50 years the song has lost none of its impact. “I'm proud to have written it,” emphasizes the now 74-year-old musician with the distinctive sideburns. "It still sounds fresh."

Text ready in ten minutes


According to his own statements, he only needed ten minutes for the text. And he suddenly had the melody in his head as he was playing around on his new guitar. “In the summertime” was published in England on May 22, 1970 - and then conquered the world. "It's still unbelievable what has become of the song," laughs the Briton who lived in Germany for ten years with his German wife Britta - his father-in-law is from Stuttgart - and their two sons. “It's still played around the world, used in advertising, in the US, England, Egypt, South Africa, it appears in films. Year out year in. Truly unbelievable."


Even when he performed the song with Mungo Jerry in 1970 at the Hollywood Music Festival in Staffordshire, England, it was clear to him that he had created something special with it. The 30,000 visitors had come for the Greatful Dead, John Mayall's Bluesbreaker, Free and Black Sabbath, but enchanted by his song. Ray Dorset quit his job at the watch manufacturer Timex the next day and has been focusing on music ever since. “This song has of course totally changed my life.” There are more than 1000 cover versions. "There are countless recordings," says Dorset, "of Bob Dylan, Elton John and Billy Idol, as heavy metal, hip-hop or reggae."

More than 1000 cover versions


The likeable Briton has had a good connection to the Stuttgart region for a long time: In 2011, Mungo Jerry climbed the stage at the Winnender City-Treff and played his world hit live with Andreas Vockrodt and over 110 guitarists on the occasion of the guitar record, and performed his world hit in September at the opening of the Cannstatter Volksfest on. And in the summer of 2019 he surprised choir legend Gotthilf Fischer in Ludwigsburg when he appeared at the gold award ceremony and when he played an acoustic version of his hit to the VIP guests. This most recent recording of his hit is now also published on YouTube.


"Winnenden has been my home base in Germany for years," says Ray Dorset, because he has been coordinating his German activities from there with his long-term business partner Hans Derer for 25 years. The song was right at the top of the SWR1 summer hit parade, and when the Swabian cult band “Füenf” called out in July to name their favorite hits, which they should then sing at the big “Remstal singt” festival, one song was by far the most popular title: “ In the summertime ”. No wonder that the SWR invited him to his show "Schlagerspaß mit Andy Borg", which will be shot on October 5th at Lahr.

Numerous well-wishers


One party was canceled due to the corona, but the congratulations came in heaps: whether Pete Townsend, who sent a huge bouquet, or Shaggy, whether Eddy Grant or now Gotthilf Fischer (92), who, like Ray, is under contract with the Winnender label 7us. “I was really happy that Mungo Jerry not only came to my gold party for“ Joy of Beautiful Gods Spark ”last summer, but also sang. Now I congratulate him wholeheartedly on this wonderful song, which not only celebrates summer but also the joy of life like almost no other, ”said the choirmaster.

#SUMMERTIME50 - GOOD TIMES MAGAZINE

The summer hit of rock and pop history par excellence "In The  Summertime" is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The song by  Mungo Jerry released on May 22, 1970 hit the Uk charts, stormed quickly  to the top position where he stayed for seven weeks. Also in Germany it  went to the top for seven weeks, in the USA it reached number one. At  six million copies, it was the best-selling single in 1970. Of course,  Ray Dorset alias Mungo Jerry has now released a 50th Anniversary Version  " (or # Summertime50) for this occasion. However, not alone, but with  the support of 50 musicians, former band members and fans called  "Mungo's Boot Power Band", Dorset's son James has created a YouTube  video, the master himself has dug out the original promo film from back  then somewhere and shows it on his homepage (www.mungojerrymagic.com,  where, by the way, "The Lockdown Thank You "song" can be seen). If you  want to find out a lot of background information, assessments of the  century song by colleagues, you should find out the GoodTimes edition  3/2015, whose extensive cover story (including the enclosed CD) was  dedicated to Dorset and "In The Summertime"

XSTREME - REVIEW IN "Freizeit und Rätselmagazin"

Just in time for the 50th Anniversary of the biggest-selling summer hit  of all time ("In the Summertime"), Ray Dorset a.k.a. Mungo Jerry  presents a new album: Xstreme.  Eight years after his last studio album,  the playing is bursting with pure energy and the joy of playing.  In  the meanwhile, the 73 year-old guitarist, songwriter and singer with the  rough rock voice presents a most impressive thesis as to why  Rock'n'Roll represents a fountain of youth.  Mungo Jerry has in parallel  reissued a compilation, but the album Xstreme combines easy, cheerful  songs with fabulous vibrations, booming grooves, traditional Rhythm  & Blues and humourous yet philosophical lyrics.

XSTREME - REVIEW IN "MUSIX"

Mungo  Jerry will forever be associated with evergreens like "Baby Jump",  "Lady Rose" and of course "In The Summertime", however, the new material  absolutely deserves attention.

The new album covers a wide range from Rock, Blues, Country, Oldie and many others, sounding as classic as all the evergreens.

It's this wide range and of course, the voice of Ray Dorset that make "Xstreme" so unmistakably and typically Mungo Jerry.

There might not be a new "In The Summertime", but  there's comparable summery, feel-good music aplenty: Reggae, Skiffle,  Rock and Roll from one of the greats.

"Xstreme" is not only pleasingly composed but richly  arranged with its use of banjo, harmonica and a lot of guitar and  percussion. And of course distinctively sung by Ray Dorset.

XSTREME - REVIEW IN "BLUES MATTERS"

This  CD is a brand-new release of freshly written material by the legend  that is Ray Dorset. All the tracks were written and arranged by Ray and  he is ably supported by his band consisting of Toby Hounsham  (keyboards), Bob White (drums), Adam Davy (saxophone) and Franky Klassen  (Cello!). The CD opens with the bluesy-rock and heavily sax-influenced  Stray Dog. Ray's vocals have always been instantly recognisable and his  South East gruff trademark come across powerfully on this one. (a great  opener for a live set!). Gotta Have A Plan is on the groovier/funkier  side, imparts a bit of worldly wisdom and has some very nice  funky/bluesy keyboard work. Hey, Mr Teacher is a good old rock'n'roll  style song on a theme covered by such greats as Dave Edmunds and Elton  John (and others) and rocks along nicely.

White Dress heads off down a festive ska path and  could be destined to get played at many a wedding party. Ray's very  talented wife, Britta, also features on sax on this track and it would  be very touching to think that he'd written this for her. By  contrast,10-Foot Bank Roll is back to a blues format, where Ray ponders  about money, fame and loneliness. (I'm sure this one isn't  autobiographical!). Messing Around returns to a jug band style, where it  all began for Ray back in the sixties. He still does it to perfection!  The crackly record effect at the start of the track just adds to the  authentic feel and it could have been taken from a 1920's 78. Ray sounds  like he had particular fun recording this one!

Come to The Party is a lively Chicago blues style  number, which gets the feet tapping and has a great audience response  line. (All night long! Hard Working Stranger has a solid driving beat  and an instrumental break, which just asks to groove on (and probably  does in live versions.) The very haunting melody of The Wind Is Blowing  is enhanced by Ray's echoey vocals and an equally mellow electric piano  and brings the CD to a very fitting conclusion. The legend that is Ray  Dorset just goes on!

STEVE BANKS


INTERVIEW IN "GOOD TIMES" MAGAZINE

The most XSTREME from the good old days

50 years ago Ray Dorset a.k.a. Mungo Jerry started his  career in music and got off to a lightning start with "In The  Summertime".

But the now 73-year-old Englishman doesn't want to  look back, "because no future can ever grow out of nostalgia". And even  if the market is flooded with ever new Mungo Jerry compilations,  something on which he has no influence most of the time, he doesn't let  that bother him and just makes a new album, such as in this case with  XSTREME.

Ray, how did you approach the new album?

I wanted to make a studio album with a live feel. We  recorded a lot live – you can even hear some of the guitar and vocals  from when I was actually recording the so-called guide tracks, which I  decided to keep. However, I do record the bass separately, for the very  reason that I play all the bass parts myself, with one exception: On  "The Wind is Flying" Darren Jones replaced my part and improved my bass  line. We basically worked the same way they used to at Sun Studios,  Tamla Motown or Norman Petty when he produced Buddy Holly: performance  was key!

Nowadays there are a lot of studios bent on being  perfect with modern aids. Technology is being misused to make everything  fit precisely. That's why I'm bored with most of what's on daytime  radio these days. I very quickly tire of things like "Uptown Funk" by  Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars or "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.

If you listen to songs by Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding,  Buddy Holly or Elvis Presley on the other hand, they have a life of  their own, they virtually breathe out of every pore because not  everything is dead set on sterile perfection.

What’s the meaning behind the album title XSTREME?

For one it's a play on words, for another I wanted to  express the extreme range of styles. You'll hear Blues in a minor key,  some Rock'n'Roll, a little Hip Hop, a bit of Funk, there's a Reggae  song, yet everything is held together by me and my voice.

By the way, you should listen to XSTREME on your  headphones some time. You'll suddenly notice some sounds you won't be  able to hear over speakers. All of a sudden it gets psychedelic, there  are movements in the head from one side to the other. I've got a lot of  percussion in the music, I also sprinkled in some electronic percussion,  which most people probably won't notice, but it's there in a subtle way  and gives the whole thing a different touch.

You've been playing fewer gigs in recent years…

I pick my gigs carefully and I choose exactly where I  play. You'll only find me at Oldies events if the organisers really fork  out the dosh! If there are acts there I'm not into, I won't do it. I  really don't want to tread on any of my colleagues' toes, everyone has  to decide for themselves what they do – or maybe have to do – but if I'm  expected to be at the venue or the festival grounds for hours, being  bombarded by music I don't like, I don't need to do that to myself. I've  nothing against Smokie or Sweet, but I don't need that. What artistic  value is there in Smokie playing "Needles And Pins", when the Searchers  did such a great version? I'd rather play smaller gigs for less money,  where I feel comfortable!

What still motivates you to make new studio albums, unlike a lot of colleagues of your generation?

Showing that the name Mungo Jerry or Ray Dorset is  still relevant as a songwriter, producer and artist. Even though I opted  out of the music business back in the 70s and do what I want and how I  want it.

What have you got lined up next?

After my German Label wanted to release a re-issue of  COCKTAIL, which I wasn't up for, I'm in the process of putting together a  compilation of my own.

Philipp Roser

GIG REVIEW - BLUES MATTERS - SEPT 2019

MUNGO JERRY BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, LEEDS


If anyone had turned up on Friday evening at the  Brudenell Social Club, a thriving ex-working men's club in the heart of  Leeds student land, expecting to hear Mungo Jerry churn out a few hits  from the seventies and some other pop stuff, they would have been very  disappointed. What they did get was a selection of tracks from Mungo's  latest album, which is due for imminent release, along with excellent  reworkings of some of Mungo's classics. The evening was kicked off by  the punk inspired Loz Cambell trio. It was a very energetic start to a  Friday evening, although Loz was suffering from a bad throat, which  restricted her set. (Personally, I thought this seemed to add a  distinctive, gravelly Yorkshire tone to the vocals.)


Loz had been kind enough to lend Ray Dorset her amp,  since his had inconsiderately blown during rehearsals. Mungo Jerry then  came on stage and it was obvious that Ray was feeling on good form,  exchanging light-hearted banter with the audience. ("I've got more hair  than most of you lot!") and even allowing on stage the three  Mungowannabees, who had dressed for the evening, wigs 'n all. The first  number, Stray Dog, was fresh from the new album and was a good bluesy  rocking tune, a great way to start the set. The band consisted of, Toby  Hounsham on keyboards, Franky Klassen on cello, Darren Jones on bass,  Bob White on drums and Adam Davy added a saxophone to the line-up.


The next track up, Gotta Have A Plan, was a slightly  funkier number, with some lovely electric piano. Come To The Party had a  New Orleans/Fats Domino feel to it and by this time the audience were  definitely ready to join in the chorus line of All Night Long and were  having a great Friday evening. Ray was giving his all on vocals, kazoo,  harmonica and guitar (surely not all at the same time? Although it did  somehow seem like it!) Then followed some more tracks from the new  album, mixed in with some of Mungo's earlier stuff, interspersed with  teasing fragments of the unmissable In The Summertime, which Ray  playfully interjected.

Ray rolled back the years with his Elvis style version  of the song I feel like I'm In Love, which he wrote and was a massive  hit for Kelly Marie back in 1980. Little Miss Hipshake had a T-Rex style  funky groove to it and rocked the room. After a terrific set and a  resounding encore, which included Alright, Alright, Alright, Ray and the  band had entertained the audience for the best part of two hours.


True professional that he is, Ray courteously came out  to talk to all those who had stayed to buy merchandise or just to get a  selfie with the legend that is Mungo Jerry. What incredible stamina.

WORDS & PICTURES: STEVE BANKS

© 2020 Mungo Jerry International Ltd.

All Rights Reserved.

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