Mungo Jerry

On 22nd May 1970 a record was released that immediately got people talking.

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On the pop chart of 6th June, it was a new entry at number 13, the following week it was in the top spot where it stayed for seven consecutive weeks. The record was In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry. It went on to sell thirty million copies worldwide, not bad for a song that the writer and lead singer of the group, Ray Dorset, said took him only ten minutes to write!

Success on such a scale often disappears overnight, rendering some instant hit makers “one hit wonders”, but not so with Mungo Jerry and this forty-three track 2xCD set from BGO Records proves it. All their singles hits are included here; Baby Jump, their second release became their second number one, while Lady Rose, You Don’t Have To Be In The Army To Fight, Alright, Alright, Alright and Long Legged Woman Dressed In Black were four more Top 20 hits.

Musically Mungo Jerry had a variety of influences. Elements of folk, country and jug band music often gives way to the blues and rock ‘n’ roll, the latter very evident on Gonna Bop Till I Drop, All Dressed Up And No Place To Go and Burnin’ Up. Summer’s Gone is almost a carbon copy of In The Summertime, but is no less fun for that and Little Louis is a slice of social comment that has almost a Kinks’ feel to it.

Perhaps Dorset’s versatility as a song writer hampered the group’s long term reputation; he was just too diverse and although Mungo Jerry had a long shelf life, there’s been a tendency to overlook everything apart from In The Summertime. Get this CD and you’ll find there’s much to like that maybe you’ve missed in the past.

A & B Sides and EP Tracks 1970 – 1975

BGO Records – BGOCD 1435

Written by Austin Powell

Austin Powell has spent his entire working life in the music business. From being an agent and manager of ‘beat groups’ in the sixties to working for major record companies in the seventies and eighties, he has also held management positions at radio stations in England, Wales and on the Isle Of Man. He continues to act as a consultant to several record companies and artists and presents a weekly ‘oldies’ show on Monday evenings on 101.8 WCR FM in Wolverhampton.

AUSTIN POWELL

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