50 Years on from the release of In The Summertime, Ray Dorset (aka Mungo Jerry) has just released a brand new critically acclaimed album, Xstreme.
During the early 70’s, viewers tuning into their regular weekly fix of the then, unmissable Top of the Pops would regularly have been greeted by a smiling, mutton-chopped, gap-toothed singer by the name of Ray Dorset, more commonly known as Mungo Jerry, the singer, song-writer and guitarist.
In a four year hit span between 1970 -74, Mungo Jerry, had eight hit singles, – In The Summertime #1, Baby Jump #1, Lady Rose #5, You Don’t Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War #13, Open Up #21, Alright Alright Alright #3, Wild Love #32, Long Legged Woman Dressed In Black #13 – and two Top Twenty albums – Mungo Jerry #13, Electronically Tested #14.
The song most associated with Mungo Jerry is the global hit, In The Summertime. It went to No.1 in 26 countries, sold 6 million copies worldwide, and has to date sold in excess of 30 million units.
One morning in May 1970, the band sold 72,500 copies before lunchtime in the UK and it has become officially the most played summer song of all time, winning for itself and its writer Ray Dorset, prestigious Sony / MTV and Ivor Novello awards.
Just preceding the release of In The Summertime, the band, then known as Mungo Jerry, made a legendary appearance at the Hollywood Music Festival where it was said, they upstaged The Grateful Dead!
The following year, Mungo Jerry returned to the charts with the second consecutive No.1, the rocking Baby Jump.
Lady Rose was destined to make it a third straight chart-topper when the B.B.C banned the maxi-single for the inclusion of the stage favourite, Have a Whiff On Me, citing drug references. The time lost in re-pressing the record cost it dear, but despite that, it was still a number five chart hit and in fact outsold Baby Jump and to this day is played on radio stations everywhere.
You Don’t Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War became the fourth hit single but after a successful tour of Australia, New Zealand and the far east, an unsuccessful attempt to oust Ray Dorset from what was once, for less than two years a band, Ray Dorset was christened Mungo Jerry, the performing and recording artist.
Now that Ray Dorset was now Mungo Jerry, the performing artist he came up with what many fans believed to be the best ever Mungo Jerry album recorded for Pye’s Dawn label, which was 1972’s Boot Power.
In 1973 when Alright Alright Alright was in the charts, Mungo Jerry went on what was believed to be the longest tour of Northern Ireland by an English band during the height of the troubles.
Few would know that in 1978, Mungo Jerry and his group of musicians were the first western rock band to play behind the old Iron Curtain. This was a show at the Golden Orpheus Song Festival, in Bulgaria which went out live on TV to the entire Eastern Block.
In describing the music of Mungo Jerry as pure pop would be an insult to the varying styles of rock, blues, boogie, skiffle, and other musical genres.
Mungo Jerry has recorded and performed on the stages of concert halls and festivals all over the world , that have seen Mungo Jerry sharing, and indeed at times topping the bill with the likes of Elton John, Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart and The Faces, Foreigner, Manfred Man’s Earth Band, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Status Quo, Canned Heat, Free, The Grateful Dead etc.
Songs not released in the UK also made large dents in charts as far flung as Europe and South Africa, but to say Mungo Jerry was just a hit-making machine would be denying the many diverse musical projects that Mungo Jerry / Ray Dorset has been involved with.
In 1984 Ray Dorset recorded in his Grayshot recording studio, the album, A Case For The Blues with Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac and Vincent Crane from Atomic Rooster.
During the eighties Ray also wrote and recorded music for the Paul Daniels childrens show, Wizbit and the comedy/drama, Prospects of which he also wrote and sang the theme.
In 2003, Ray Dorset completed a successful tour with ‘THE BRITISH LEGENDS OF RHYTHM AND BLUES’ – Zoot Money, the late Paul Williams and the late Long John Baldry, and also released the critically acclaimed Mungo Jerry Bluesband album, Adults Only.
With Adults Only getting rave reviews, and the ‘Blues Legends’ tour bringing Ray to a whole new audience, albums such as, Naked From The Heart (2007) and Cool Jesus (2011), gave new impetus and drove Mungo Jerry forward.
A European tour in 2016 was tracked by his two son’s film crew resulting in the DVD documentary 24 Days.
Now 50 years since the release of the iconic celebration of life, Mungo Jerry’s, In The Summertime, Ray Dorset aka Mungo Jerry is still much in demand, and his latest album, Xstreme, together with its rave reviews, add to his vast catalogue of recorded material – drawing these positive comments.
“…top stuff throughout as ever, particularly ‘Mr.Teacher’ and ‘Come To The Party’, very Fats Domino-like, but the funky stuff with predominant sax on the other tracks works really well…”
“…it’s punchy, it’s versatile, it sounds fantastic…”
“…’In The Summertime’ part 727 it is not…”
“…Great! What else? Enjoyed every bit of it…”
“…I have a one word review – WOW!…”
“…funky, funky, funky…”