Released in 2019, Xstreme is the latest album by Mungo Jerry and a mixture of blues based numbers, with a touch of reggae, jug band and 50’s style rock’ n roll.
The CD is available to buy from the official on-line shop. Click HERE to order.
Tracks: Stray Dog/You Got To Have a Plan/Mr. Teacher/White Dress/10-Foot Bank Roll/Messing Around/Flying On The Gravy Train/Come To The Party/Hard Working Stranger/The Wind Is Blowing.
MICK O’HANLON’s EARLY REVIEW OF ‘XSTREME’
“Extremely Satisfied!” That’s the verdict on this new offering from Mungo Jerry. It delivers nine brand-new compositions as well as a fantastic new rendition of The Wind is Blowin’. A gig favourite that also appears on 100% Live (2016).
If your mood needs improving, just press “play” on this album and you can forget your woes for the next 45 minutes while you let the infectious magic that is Mungo Jerry change your day.
Always eager to push limits. Ray takes his band on a musical odyssey that will please every listener. This latest album reflects new output from an artist who has found a new wellspring of inspiration. Like the best of Ray’s albums over the past 50 years, there is a sampling of many Mungo Jerry moods here for everyone’s taste.
STRAY DOG (3.53) : This is a solid and satisfying mid-tempo blues number. Driven by a strong bass line and an unrelenting sax, Ray’s strong vocals welcome listeners to this opener. I had it on in the car and it took me two trips to figure out that it reminded me slightly of Boot Powers’s classic, She’s Gone. It’s one you’ll be humming before long.
GOT TO HAVE A PLAN (4.47) : This funky blues song provides a complete change of direction where Ray coaxes virtuoso performances from his band. His joyous guitar riff sails over the whole song as he controls every sound he masterfully pulls from six mere strings. The nimble and decorous bass line will set many feet tapping.
MR TEACHER (2.42) : Right: roll up the rug and put away the cups and saucers. There’s a rockabilly party in this kitchen tonight! Suddenly, it’s 1961 again and Sun Studios has appeared in our kitchen. Everyone will enjoy this throbbing rock-out. Mind the dresser there!
WHITE DRESS (4.39) : Prepare to surrender yourself to the groove as White Dress leads you to a white, sun-kissed beach! Smooth sax, cool drumming, soft bass and brass organ keyboards complete this Caribbean anthem to love. Could someone please give my hammock a gentle nudge? And maybe another pina colada if you don’t mind. This blissful Mungo Jerry reggae number is typically full of sunshine and happiness. Don’t let it end. Beautiful!
10-FOOT BANKROLL (3.31) : This is a heavy, driven blues song that tells the tale of a lonely, rich man who has everything that money can buy…except love. Ray effectively employs experimental vocals that switch from left to right, seemingly across the room, if you play it loud enough. The funky underlay adds to the singer’s paranoia:
“I’ve got a bankroll ten feet long, who’s gonna miss me when I’m gone?”
MESSING AROUND (2.42) : Did we leave that rug rolled up? Good, then it’s back to our kitchen for an exuberant jug band number.
The sound of a needle scratching its way across an ancient vinyl opens and closes this little gem. It transports us magically to the heyday of Mungomania.
It’s nostalgic and uplifting because it’s brilliant to see that this kind of Mungo song is still going strong. This is a great good time track. Love it!
FLYING ON THE GRAVY TRAIN (4.59) : The entire band produces a top-drawer and exotic musical backdrop as a dramatic intro to Ray’s echoing vocals. In a way, it’s reminiscent of Mungo’s ‘continental’ phase from the late 1970s but with the added sophistication that a half-century at the top, and a great band – brings.
Keep a glass of your special-reserve whisky as you enjoy this song. It deserves the best.
COME TO THE PARTY (2.44) : That rug can stay in the kitchen corner for this rockabilly floor-filler. Wild harp blowing from Ray Dorset fuels this good-time song all the way through the roof.
HARD WORKING STRANGER (3.21) : Take this south-bound special straight to Bluesville in the company of Mungo Jerry, arguably the best travelling partner you’d want for any blues journey. Relax and enjoy this full-blooded thumper.
THE WIND IS BLOWING (6.07) : The pick of the bunch!
The previous nine tracks had almost and deservedly exhausted my store of superlatives. This is the best version I’ve ever heard of this Mungo Jerry gig standard. Ray has saved the best for last, in an album that provides a feast of entertainment.
Comments coming in from those lucky enough to hear Xstreme include;
“…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…”
“…what a fantastic album, great songs, great production…”
ULI TWELKER SAID…
Get the basic backing tracks down on hard disc, have some fellow stars phone in their contributions and then put a digital, auto-tune shine on it? Only Mungo-Ray doesn’t work like this – definitely not!
Mr Dorset-Jerry, on his brand new studio album XSTREME – assembles his own tour ensemble: road-tested and therefore familiar with the groove. He tosses them ten idiosyncratic compositions, and they instantly give it the communicative feel.
STRAY DOG oozes fab vibes immediately, in spite of the serious nature of lonely strays’ destinies, be they real pets or road animals like the Mungo veteran! Bob White lays a solid drum pattern, Toby Hounsham’s Farfisa organ has a fun fair vibe, plus there’s an amusing quote of that old “Hit The Road Jack” horn riff.
GOT TO HAVE A PLAN for contrast, spreads pure funk and should be a certain dance floor hit if DJs catch on to Mungo’s mood of back street book shops. You may wonder who the smart bass supplier is here – why it’s Ray himself taking care of low register business with panache! Toby’s Fender Rhodes hints at old Doors days, and why not?
HEY MR TEACHER reverts to the good-time boogie of the German Mungo Jerry Blues Band, with a brass riff that Dorset-Jerry’s close guitarist friend Peter Green might have chosen for early stone age Fleetwood Mac, (remember how they concocted the magic Katmandu project together.) But the mood here is positive, party-time, bottoms up, and one of many examples of Ray’s absolutely underrated guitar skills.
WHITE DRESS well well, the search for the next Mungo Jerry chart smash just never stops: this is an obvious single as well as an In The Summertime sequel: addictive, trance-like, tropical!
10 FT. BANK ROLL returns to the move-it-and-groove-it Detroit drama of Got To Have A Plan, which I had hoped was not a one-off: This funky workout impresses me with its highly humorous but still pretty philosophical lyric message! It’s right here that newest band recruit Franky Klassen from Mungo’s second home of Bielefeld really shines on his electric cello – eat your heart out, Jeff ELO Lynne, this cello’s moving asses…
MESSING AROUND is again one of those infectious party pieces that Mungo Jerry has/have always mastered: You can’t fabricate them – there’s no blueprint, otherwise everyone would do it on YouTube. This one spells Jug Band paradise, and during those golden years of the vinyl single, this would have been the B-side to White Dress! Groove along and pull out your kazoos, punters!
FLYING ON THE GRAVY TRAIN yet again, Mungo & his manpower create a completely different, catchy sound picture, more subdued yet pushing on, with Toby’s nostalgic organ as much to the fore as Adam Davy’s saxophone, backing Ray’s story which is related in haunting ways you still have to sing along to – his “Lalala” will pregnate you for days – and nights as well!
COME TO THE PARTY and high time to return to the Boogie groove, too. With a bright brass section of British Blues invasion days and Mungo’s own harmonica skills in the front line. As with all the tracks here, listen to this with headphones and find out how many guitars Ray multi-tracked during the sessions. There’s always one more than you think he did!
HARD WORKING STRANGER harks back to traditional Rhythm & Blues one more time. This song pleasantly reminds me of a recent John Mayall gig. Dorset’s axe solo is another brilliant one here and would make the old Bluesbreaker proud if he’d choose to give a listen. More harps, more brass, and yes, the title King of the Groove is deserved here once again.
The onslaught – as a fitting finale, Mungo Jerry give(s) us more than six minutes of THE WIND IS BLOWING. Traditional Blues style it may well be, but it’s delivered in such a heartfelt way, so sensitively executed! Mainman Mungo uses every echo trick in the book, Darren Jones’s bass lines form a wonderful engine room with Bob White, and Ray tops it all with maybe his best guitar solo of all times, and that is saying something.
“Does humor belong in music?“ Frank Zappa once asked. It’s pretty obvious that it does, as many bands before have proved. But Ray-Mungo’s take is never that of a Bluesrock-Comedian: His philosophy? You have to take the music itself ever so seriously even while you’re twinkling an eye. And believe me, when he asks you to do the Peace sign with him during his live sets, he’s not joking. He’s dead serious and dedicated. Just as he is with this collection of ten corkers!
STRAY DOG : 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 : 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 : 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 : 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. It would be very touching to think that he’d written this for her.
10-FT. BANKROLL : By contrast,10-Foot Bank Roll is back to a blues format. Ray ponders about money, fame and loneliness. (I’m sure this one isn’t autobiographical!).
MESSING AROUND : 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 : 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 : 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 WIND IS BLOWING : 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. Blues Matters.
FREIZEIT UND RATSELMAGAZIN... Just in time for the 50-year Anniversary of the hugely successful summer hit of all time, In The Summertime.
Ray Dorset (a.k.a Mungo Jerry), eight years after his last studio album, has with a new album Xstreme just bursting with pure energy and joy of playing.
The 73-year-old guitarist, songwriter and singer with the concise-rough rock voice, probably occupied on the most impressive thesis, after which a Rock’n`Roll time, probably the best fountain of youth represents.
Mungo Jerry has in parallel, with Cocktail one of his authorized compilation reissued.
The Mungo Jerry album, Xstreme scores easy cheerful songs with fabulous vibrations, booming groove, traditional rhythm & blues with humour, yet philosophical lyric scores.
Freizeit und Ratselmagazin.
FROM THE BEAT… Mungo Jerry is still going, and still led by Ray Dorset.
He’s never actually been away; he has been producing new music regularly and this 10-track collection of songs is the latest in a long line.
Over produced it ain’t. With a raw sound you can’t help smiling at, it makes you think you’re in the back room of your local pub.
…a touch of reggae… He has put everything in the pot though. From a touch of reggae in White Dress, a bit of funkiness with Got To Have a Plan, and a general bluesy feeling to the whole thing.
Ray performs most of the music (naturally with banjo, jug and blues harp) with a smattering of keyboards and drums to fill it out and emphasise the beat; and just for fun, he adds – here and there – some sax and electric cello.
Ray’s lyrics have a bit of clout too, just listen to Flying On The Gravy Train for instance.
The one song I can’t get out of my head though is Messing Around, a more enjoyable slice of trad jazz we’ll ever hear.
Martin Hutchinson, The Beat.
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, Xstreme 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.
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, 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 Blowin’, 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? 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, Good Times Magazine.
XSTREME INTERNET REVIEWS
JUST RANDOM THINGS... Xstreme is the 22nd studio album by Mungo Jerry and the follow-up to their 2012 hit album Cool Jesus.
The band gained worldwide popularity during the ’70s aided by the #1 hit single In The Summertime released in 1970. The group had several more charting singles and a steady stream of chart-topping albums.
…Ray Dorset genius… Mungo Jerry released the brand new album on August 23, 2019. A collective of 10 fresh tracks of Blues-Rock genre which they excel in. There are no collaborations on the album–just pure Ray Dorset genius flowing from start to end.
Leading up to the release date, Ray Dorset released video clips of him introducing the songs on the album.
He goes onto elaborate on the third track titled Hey, Mr Teacher. A song about a plea for a teacher to teach him about life, love, and everything else in between. Ray Dorset confesses that he is especially fond of the lyrics to this track.
And that’s not all. Mungo Jerry also announced their next studio album titled Touch The Sky with another 11 tracks.
Adam McDonald – www.justrandomthings.com