Soon to be released in 2021, and recorded remotely by the various band members due to Covid, Somelight is the latest album by Mungo Jerry.
Tracks: Midnight City/Lord, What Have We Done/Whole Lotta Rhythm/The Lockdown Thank You Song/Happy To Be/Country Woman/Let’s Do It Again/That’s The Colour Of Love/The Right Song/Home Alone/Corona Virus Blues/A Plea For The Planet.
A PLEA FOR THE PLANET
Here is the brilliant new video for the very sobering Somelight album track, A Plea For The Planet which is part of the Minds Behind The Music project.
You can also check out this relevant piece (found by JJ) about Minds Behind The Music.
Just click HERE.
MICK O’HANLON’s REVIEW OF ‘SOMELIGHT’
Some Light is the latest Mungo Jerry album, and it is packed with a dozen life-affirming songs. It is a tour-de-force, triumphant celebration of life.
Overall, it is so good that it seems to contain much, much more than the dozen brilliantly crafted songs therein. You could even call it a concept album, if that’s not too cheesy a thing to say. It is arguably the best MJ album ever released.
Ray Dorset and Mungo Jerry are two sides of the same gold sovereign.
Music moves elementally through Ray Dorset, and it is hard to say who is in control on this album. The musician Ray Dorset? Or the Mungo Jerry Muse that has driven this irrepressible force of nature to produce his music for more than six decades.
This hypnotising album is a musical gem. Ray’s band grooves in harmonious sync, amid a framework of the highest production values.
Some Light was conceived, composed and recorded during the darkest days of the 2020/21 Pandemic and light itself is the energy that shines through this astonishing output.
Ray squared up to the modern plague by producing this truly classic Mungo Jerry collection. Some Light is his plea to humanity to stop destroying the planet and going against Nature, a cause he has been crusading since the late 1960s.
But have we left it too late? Some Light poses that question in a beautifully crafted way. The title tips a wink at the inclusion of uniquely ‘light’ Mungo Jerry songs. They defiantly and cheerfully proclaim the endurance of the human spirit in these strange times. The generous output of twelve new MJ tracks includes the following:
MIDNIGHT CITY opens the album with this example of a Ray Dorset story song. Driven by a lively, bouncy bass and hot harp, the Midnight City is a place of isolation and introversion, and this unlikely locale is where Ray rediscovers the raucous power of his R&B roots. This song sets the scene for the album which is the ages-old tale of light versus darkness. We are in a story. How will it end?
LORD, WHAT HAVE WE DONE This plaintiff hymn paints a bleak scene as we move into what could be called Mungo’s Covid album. Ray’s powerful lyrics and vocals, with a dramatic musical backdrop. It makes us realise that our neglect and our contempt for Nature is responsible for much of the troubles we face. The atmospheric, last bars feature whale song sax and Doomsday piano that combine brilliantly to conjure up a very effective ending.
WHOLE LOTTA RHYTHM urges musicians everywhere to exploit technology to fight back against a gloomy world devoid of music. This ballad promises light at the end of the tunnel because rhythm will find its groove. It contains great musicianship from the entire band, not least of which is Franky Klassen’s lovely electric cello. Soul power with some lovely sounds coming through the speakers!
THE LOCKDOWN THANK YOU SONG celebrates everyone in the frontline and anyone who helped us get by since the darkest days of our modern-day plague. This is a real feel-good MJ number as Ray Dorset plays his part in the recovery.
HAPPY TO BE Who couldn’t like this bouncy, cheerful number that begs you to get up and dance? It is a reflective song where Ray self-assesses his life in music. If this one gets into your head, it will be there for the rest of the day. Or longer. Resistance is futile!
COUNTRY WOMAN is a hot and sweaty, two-in-the morning R&B special with heavy, heavy harp blowing that will clear out your cholesterol and stand your hair on end, if you have either. Powerful performances from the band makes you feel you are in the cradle of the blues. Fueled by powerful singing and Ray’s ever-welcome mouth percussion, this is a great, lively track.
LET’S DO IT AGAIN is an uplifting, revivalist song in a Gospel style that grooves towards the Light. Full of hope and soaring on beautiful orchestral strings, it celebrates the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity, with the indelible Ray Dorset stamp all over it.
THAT’S THE COLOUR OF LOVE provides the limelight ‘single’ from this remarkable album. Full of colour and love (the clue is in the title). This wonderful injection of Mungo Jerry joy rose to Number 3 in the Heritage Charts in early summer of 2021. An absolute antidote to the darkness and exactly what we need.
THE RIGHT SONG provides more MJ goodtimes from the album that just keeps on giving. If you happen to be looking for a musical pick-me-up, this is definitely the right song for you.
HOME ALONE is a cracker that refuses to be tethered to any single musical genre. Defiantly optimistic despite the spectre of Covid, this highly developed piece of music is a happy place where jazz fuses with R&B. Uniquely 21st century Mungo Jerry. A real, stand-out masterpiece.
CORONA VIRUS BLUES is time stamped from around Easter 2020 during the first Lockdown. Ray stoically set the tone with this heavy delta blues stomp at a time when he should have been preparing to celebrate fifty years of In the Summertime. This solid standard blues is delivered in the trademark MJ way.
A PLEA FOR THE PLANET closes the album and leaves us hoping for a better future. It is a fitting curtain closer for this intense and truly great Mungo Jerry album. The eerie ending comes as a shock, and it leaves you feeling alone…until you play the album again.
Some Light is one of the best Mungo Jerry albums ever released. It is joyous, refreshing and uplifting to witness Ray Dorset’s continuing output of incredible talent. He certainly emptied the tank on this one. Enjoy and play it over and over!
Derek Wadeson said…
All in all a diverse album and not one for the fainthearted. Certainly not the most commercial in places but that seems to me to be the beauty of it all.
It stretches your musical imagination with always that little reminder of why you fell in love with the music of Mungo Jerry.
Alan Taylor said…
Whilst I’m sure that Mungo Jerry fans worldwide will lap this album up, its variety may surprise some, maybe thinking that a Xstreme Mk.2 would be on the cards. Ray Dorset doesn’t work that way and is always looking for something new.
It’s certainly has something for all – some blues, happy upbeat pop, funky R & B, and right up my street, rocking country blues in my favourite tracks, Midnight City and Country Woman.
It’s incredible to think that it was recorded remotely because of the Covid threat. It certainly doesn’t sound that way.
John Van Der Kiste said…
The constant bouncing about from one musical genre to another with ease of Ray Dorset a.k.a. Mungo Jerry never ceases to amaze me.
Like John Mayall, the man has been at the forefront of many a band, making albums for more years than he would like us to remind him. All with that unmistakable trade mark of quality (as the 1970s vinyl bootlegs used to proclaim).
It seems little more than yesterday that the remarkable Xstreme burst upon us, but the follow-up was not long in coming.
The main difference between both records is that this time there is less of a nod to rock’n’roll, but that’s not a criticism.
Mungo (a.k.a. Ray) and a cast of seven musicians, recorded on location all over the world…Well, in Bournemouth, Southampton, Bracknell, London, not forgetting Germany and the US. They move seamlessly from blues to jazz, from skiffle to reggae, and back again. Whatever the style, RD’s inimitable pipes are proudly centre stage.
Starting with the serious stuff, there are ominous nods to today’s two grim global shadows. Corona Virus Blues is a melancholy riposte at what was happening to the world throughout 2020 when we should have been celebrating 50 years of In The Summertime (was it that long ago since the Hollywood fest?) Harp, kazoo, sax and a stinging guitar solo all weigh in to great effect.
The Lockdown Thank You Song lightens the mood, adopting the bubbly, feelgood vibe of the song that started it all in 1970 with a name check for all those who selflessly helped to lighten the load as lockdown and the virus tore the world apart so savagely.
While in the same musical frame of mind, That’s The Colour Of Love still tips its hat to the summertime song that was its godfather.
The album’s other most weighty lyric comes in Lord, What Have We Done. As the world continues to drink in last chance saloon while the inexorable march of global warming puts all at risk.
A huge wall of sound led by sax. Clarence Clemons would be smiling down on us from up there if he could hear this) ponders with fury from the heart at fire on the oceans. Fire in the sky, as it asks what’s happening to us all.
Yet it is not all gloom and doom, by any means. As if the ultimate good-time band would dare do such a thing, honestly. An irresistible bouncy piano lights up the boogie of Country Woman, with sax and harp joining in.
You want more sunshine? Happy To Be, a cheery singalong reggae with an almost Farfisa-like organ sound throughout will do just nicely. The moody groove of Midnight City, ‘where the sun don’t shine no more’, cools the mood down effectively, while the sophisticated jazz tints of Home Alone and the more relaxed (despite its title) Whole Lotta Rhythm carry on where some of the sounds on Xstreme left off.
We Can Do It makes similar good use of the sax, and The Right Song is indeed the right song for an infectious hook in the chord sequence.
You NEED this album, gang, right?