TIME TO SPEAK OUT
Due mainly to a misunderstanding, the Mungomania website was taken down, seemingly never to return. Rather touchingly, quite a few fans voiced their dismay and this in turn prompted Ray to respond and..."set the record straight", or as he said, "it was time to speak out".
There has been a great number of emails flying around containing a whole lot of inaccuracies and surmising and here I am putting the record straight.
First of all, I never asked for the previous Mungomania site to be taken down, I merely stated that if I were to support the project, then I would have to give approval to the content contained on the site.
Despite what has been written by a select few in their emails concerning the taking down of the website I was always and will always be appreciative of the dedication and hard work carried out by Alan Taylor for Mungomania, so much so that I elected to by him a new laptop of his own specification to use for the site, plus a hard drive to back up his files.
It has been said that I did not wish to acknowledge the input of past members of my band for my own egotistical reasons, this was clearly not the case, unfortunately both Paul King and Colin Earl, who played on the first three Mungo albums, have been, and were quite unappreciative of the gravity of the input that I put into the Mungo projects. This can be confirmed by what Colin Earl said on the Dutch TV programme interview and the Sunday People interview that Paul King did. Needless to say, their contribution to the initial success and international acclaim of MJ in both live events and of course on the recording of In the Summertime can never be denied.
There is absolutely no chance of the band lineup that recorded the first Mungo album to ever perform together again and since the persona of the Mungo Jerry name was indelibly attached to me in 1970 there has been a large number of excellent musicians and personalities that have since been in my band that have all contributed to the various styles and genres of music that I have performed both live and in the studio.
The band lineup that I have had for the past few years consists of very good and conscientious musicians who are also very nice people who are not endowed with egomaniac personalities. Jon Playle, bass, Mark David, drums, and Toby Hounsham, keyboards
John Cook, who played on the Alright, Alright, Alright, and Wild Love singles, and can also be seen on the Ragnarock video has been an enormous help with one of my legal battles and he also occasionally plays gigs with me.
Despite emails passing back and forth between a few dedicated Mungo aficionados regarding a kind of MJ convention and what it would consist of, I have not been directly consulted by anyone on the subject.
The Mungo & Me book was never made available to the general public because Pennant books, the company that it was contracted to, closed down just after the book had been edited, only preview copies were produced and I am not even in possession of one myself, however, I am still working on the book, but it will contain a lot more information and will have a completely new title.
I have not been very productive musically in the studio for the past eight years because of various litigation issues that I have been involved with, and one guy in particular has given me more problems that anyone could ever imagine, this unscrupulous and deceitful individual lied and under accounted songwriter royalties owed to me for years even though he had pretended to be my friend, he was even the best man at my wedding and his daughter was one of the bridesmaids and yet he lied and cheated and did not admit his wrongdoing until right up to the final weeks of a hearing that was to take place in the high court about the affair. This incident not only caused me to have to spend an enormous amount of money on lawyers but also caused an undue amount of stress to my family and the time and effort that I spent on fighting this man led me to loose an irreplaceable quantity of time both creatively and leisurely that could have resulted in my producing a large amount of new material.
There are still ongoing matters for me to deal with on the legal front but now I am writing new songs and plan to record them in my new studio.
Initially, Mungo Jerry was the collective name of the band that recorded the first Mungo Jerry recordings and performed at shows throughout 1970, 1971 and the first two months of 1972, however, Paul King and Colin Earl ejected me from the band after we returned from a long tour of the Far East in the early part of 1972, they intended to take on the Mungo Jerry name and have a new front man, the talented Dave Lambert to replace me, however, their plan backfired when the record company and management would not agree with their decision and instead christened me Mungo Jerry, recording artist and performer, and I continued to be Ray Dorset the songwriter and composer.
The recording of In the Summertime was in retrospect, a work of genius, both in its musical and lyrical composition, and in its production and musical contribution.
Barry Murray, who produced and mixed the track picked the song out as a future hit after hearing me play it to him alone on vocals and guitar. The recording took place at Pye Recording studios in London, Mike Cole played double bass on the record, Colin Earl played the grand piano and Paul King played banjo and jug.
I did the vocals, and it was my idea to do only have double tracking of them, and it was Barry Murray's idea to put them hard right and left on the stereo mix, I played electric guitar finger-style, and it was my idea to give the track a kind of Latin rhythm by adding acoustic guitar, cabassa and mouth percussion, I also did the “stomp” on the track to emulate the bass drum on-beat groove. It was also my idea to start the track up again from the beginning with the sound of a car or motorbike between the end and the beginning of the repeat, Barry Murray recorded the sound of Howard Barrow, the studio engineer, driving his Triumph sports car past the Pye studio door entrance which was in Bryanston Street in London.
I began playing guitar when I was ten years old and the music that I played reflected on what I heard and was popular on the radio at the time, so I was exposed to all kinds of musical styles from vintage Jazz to Calypso, from Swing to Country Music, Doo Wop to pseudo operatic and show tune stuff etc. and then it was Rock n Roll and Skiffle, my very first band was in fact a Skiffle group and we played all sorts of traditional songs which were based on rural blues, cowboy type ballads and eventually the Leadbelly and other songs that were popularised by Lonnie Donegan, but I was incensed on exciting grooves and rhythms so I naturally got into rock n roll and rockabilly, trying to copy the singing styles of Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent and in particular Buddy Holly, so by the time that my band got to be resident at the White Hart in Southall I had a vast repertoire of rock n roll songs, plus the current pop hits at the time, and on stage I played rhythm guitar and piano, apart from doing all of the lead vocals.
Colin Earl and his brothers Roger and Terry started to come the gig every Sunday with their parents and this is how Colin and Roger got interested in getting into a band and through them getting to know me they eventually did so, my bands!
I always had an incline for bluesy and meaningful music, so when I got to hear Bob Dylan I found that his influences were based on those same influences as those who inspired Lonnie Donegan, although Bob Dylan seemed to me to have based his vocal style heavily on that of Woody Guthrie, probably because he had a similar timbre to his voice, and I started to listen to a lot more rural blues, work-songs and similar stuff, then I saw Jesse Fuller performing San Francisco Bay Blues on the TV show, Ready Steady Go, I learnt the song and started playing other similar songs in this style, one Sunday evening shortly after, I went to a pub in North Ascot, where I was living at the time, and saw a band who influenced me a great deal, they were the Panama Jug Band.
I first met Joe Rush when I worked at RCS in Hounslow, we had a mutual interest in a lot of musical stuff, mainly Skiffle, Trad Jazz and Jug Band Music. Joe left RCS to work in the lab at Timex, he got me a job there too, I even bought his maisonette from him when I was twenty one, Joe played a very big part in the musical style that gave MJ its first success as he got himself a washboard and suggested that we had a jam at the Duke of Northumberland pub in Isleworth, which I invited Colin Earl to, he played piano on the jam, Joe also played double bass.
We ended up as a trio playing all sorts of Jug Band music, Skiffle and Rock a Billy eventually securing a weekly spot in the large bar of the Osterley Motel which is close to Heathrow airport, we secured an incredibly large regular audience, the word got out about the, for that time, “strange kind of music” that we played, and one particular regular was Paul King, who talked himself into joining us.
Paul was heavily image conscious and was instrumental in us dressing a little more “weird”, he also thought of himself as songwriter and after Baby Jump went to No 1 he told Barry Murray that unless his songs were on not put on the B sides of all future records then he would leave the band, he got two of his songs on the next two singles, the last single that we made as the MJ band was You Don't Have to be in the Army to Fight in the War, we made the album of the same name, then did the tour of the Far East, and then I was fired! Paul King did not even play on the Lady Rose single.