YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE IN THE ARMY
(Third Album : Released 1971)
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE IN THE ARMY/ELLA SPEED/PIGEON STEW/TAKE ME BACK/GIVE ME LOVE/HEY ROSALYN/NORTHCOTE ARMS/THERE'S A MAN GOING ROUND TAKING NAMES/SIMPLE THINGS/KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF HER/ON A SUNDAY/THAT OLD DUST STORM
MUNGO JERRY : YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE IN THE ARMY (Dawn DNLS3028 £2.40)
Mungo Jerry's music has been criticised in some quarters as being too much of a muchness and I suppose that to a certain section of the public, there is some justification in that remark. A band using the rather limited range of instruments that Mungo possesses must be somewhat limited in its variation of basic rhythms but the quartet is now more subtle that many may believe.
The first three tracks on this the bands third album - You Don't Have To Be In The Army, Ella Speed and Pigeon Stew - have a common beat linking them, but in varying the role of the piano, kazoo, guitars, washboard (courtesy of Joe Rush from the excellent Country Jug), etc the theme changes. And Ray Dorset is able to modulate his voice to some extent.
Whilst Mungo's is basically good time music to be stomped and even skip-jived to (dating myself again) there is even the odd social comment thrown in, as witness the title track and the hard drug problem of 'Ella Speed'.
On the brighter side, 'Give Me Love' is an out-and-out rolling blues number that would do well as a single. 'Northcote Arms' is a rock'n roll piece done in exemplary style, and 'That Old Dust Storm' has you reaching for the cider jug.
All things considered, I enjoyed this album more than 'Electronically Tested' which did well in the chart so I would expect this one to do even better 'cause I was right about the last one.
R.G, Music Press, 1971.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE IN THE ARMY : MUNGO JERRY :DAWN DNLS3028
"Maintaining the freshness with which they injected the music scene in early 1970, Mungo Jerry come up with another winner. The opening track on side two, 'Northcote Arms' is one of the best rock'n roll songs to come out in recent months (or even years) and catches the flavour of the great 'Johnny B.Goode'. Most of the other numbers are in the skiffle mould - 'There's a Man Going Round Taking Names' on side two is a good example of this. However, this is not regressive music because it takes its musical idiom from a past era - it manages to combine it in a presentation which can only be accurately described as 'Mungo-music'.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE IN THE ARMY...
"An extremely satisfying album from Mungo Jerry which makes an excellent follow-up to 'Electronically Tested'. The band really have been misjudged in the past as their latest album has far more to recommend it than simply the spirit in which it was recorded.
It opens with the now familiar title track and then rips into the old Leadbelly classic 'Ella Speed'. In another old number, 'Take Me Back', they achieve a superb Cajun feel whilst the 'traddies' are complemented by some fine Ray Dorset compositions and Paul King's excellent 'Hey Rosalyn'. Mungo run the whole gamut from blues through to rock'n roll. 'Northcote Arms' being a superb example of the latter. They also include several other tracks which will be familiar to blues enthusiasts such as Leadbelly's 'Keep Your Hands Off Her' and 'There's a Man Going Round Taking Names' as well as Woody Guthrie's 'That Old Dust Storm'.
It's a really good stomping album.
Music Press, 1971.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE IN THE ARMY (Dawn)...
"The time is approaching one suspects when the good time heroes of Newcastle Under-Lyme will have to decide how rigidly they wish to conform to jug band style. For the sound which had people on their feet and dancing to 'In The Summertime' is beginning to wear thin on record.
The material on this album is all great, foot-tapping stuff but at least on the heavier rock'n roll of 'Northcote Arms' and 'Give Me Love' (both Ray Dorset songs) the absence of strong bass lines and the scanty attention given to Ray Dorset's singing detracts from the quality and impact.
Instrumentally, Mungo are halfway to stronger music with Dorset playing some attractive vintage electric guitar. He's also written the majority of the songs and quite effectively too. In expressing himself simply he has said quite a bit more than those songwriters who tackle abstract concepts inadequately . The title track informs you that anything from being ejected from your girls house for having long hair to being kicked by Her Majesty's Constabulary is part of your own little back door war.
Paul King has written a good song in 'Hey Rosalyn' and Guthrie's 'That Old Dust Storm' is included.
NME, 16th October, 1971.
REVIEWS FROM THE INTERNET...
"You Don't Have To Be In The Army was the 3rd excellent album (1971) by British supergroup Mungo Jerry, which followed huge success of Electronically Tested. The artwork represented an stylish imitation of period war posters. The original team of Ray Dorset, Paul King, Colin Earl and John Godfrey was fortified by Joe Rush on washboard, and the band stuck to its jug band-hard rock roots. The music is as hot as a pinch of pepper in the ass
P.S : Don't trust the critics: it has nothing to do with glam - no Tolkienesque dragons, magicians, wizards...you don't need to fight evil spirits - a hangover, perhaps?
"Bedecked with one of the most terrifying covers of the early '70s - a vast, bemedalled military harridan striking a scornful pose of "come and get it" allure -- Mungo Jerry's third U.K. album was titled for one of their best-loved (but, contrarily, least-successful) hit singles, a saga of all the things that can and will go wrong as you try to live your daily life. This album, though the song doesn't mention it, would appear to be one of them. From beginning to end, it is one of their weakest, with Ray Dorset now firmly entrenched in writing according to the established band style and Paul King simply squeezing in his less-typical songs where he can. That he was saving the best for his own forthcoming solo album seems blatantly obvious, though -- his "Hey Rosalyn" is no more a shining triumph than Dorset's "Pigeon Pie" and "Give Me Love," and it's telling that the best songs on the album are the traditional pieces, "Ella Speed" and "Take Me Back." Mungo Jerry would bounce back (briefly), and You Don't Have to Be in the Army's defeat would quickly be forgotten. At the time, however, it was difficult not to believe that the summertime was finally over".
"I suppose that when you have no drummer there is only so far you can take things but this really is a damn good album. It is arguably better than the 1st two (Mungo Jerry & Electronically Tested) but somehow missed out on original release which is a shame as it contains some great sing along tunes. To prove that drums are not always necessary just listen to Northcote Arms which is a rock 'n' roll gem of a song. Also thrown in for good measure is a bit of 'jug', 'blues', 'skiffle' and 'folk'. Mungo Jerry also added kazoo and wash-board to proceedings, both should be used more often! Give it a try and I doubt you will be disappointed".
...THE BAND'S VIEW...
...AND THE FANS SAID...
"I loved this album! You were often advised to 'play loud' on Mungo Jerry records of the time and on this one, the advice was spot on. Re-visit it and turn up the volume and you'll see what I mean. Apart from the excellent title track, the stand out songs for me were, 'Northcote Arms', and Paul King's, 'Hey Rosalyn' which always makes me feel that it should have been a single. It's pretty much accepted by Mungo fans to be Paul's best recording from his time with the band. 'Give Me Love' really rocks and I would love to see, maybe Cherry Red could do it, this album given a re-release with the added bonus of 'O'Reilly', 'We Shall Be Free' and 'The Sun Is Shining' from the maxi-single included, along with the three 'recent' tracks from the recording sessions, 'You Got Me Dizzy', 'Outskirts Of Town' and 'Shorty George'. What a collection that would be! How about it? Somebody?