Saturday, 17 March 2018

"The Dawn Albums Collection" by MUNGO JERRY featuring Ray Dorset (September 2017 7t's/Cherry Red 5CD Mini Box Set - James Bragg Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Baby Jump..."

Amidst the tight-trousered, Vahalla-spouting, Beelzebub-worshipping, knob-Gods of Hard Rock, the transitioning eye-makeup of androgynous pop singers working feather boas and lip gloss, the po-faced finger-in-the-ear purity of Traditionalist Folkies babbling on about the Solstice and Ruin Stones and the cheesecloth-shirt bedsit fumbling of emotionally frail singer-songwriters mentally crucified by Zodiac predictions in ponderous sun-sign paperbacks - sat the gloriously simple MUNGO JERRY - an English band that virtually smelt of summer and pretty girls and the seaside and pubs and hard-boiled sweets and damn it – plain old-fashioned fun.

With their throwback Lonnie Donegan Skiffle rhythms and homemade Jug Band washboards - leery side-burned gap-toothed singer Ray Dorset and his banks of Kazoos, Jews Harps, Barrelhouse Pianos and foot-stomping - seemed like a breath of fresh air in a musical scene dominated by so much earnest seriousness and self-importance. And that's what "The Dawn Albums Collection" delivers - five albums and various non-LP single-side sundries worth of 'alright alright alright' in a pint-sized carton with a sticky bun on top and a sugar-lump chaser. There's a shed load to wade through here so let's get to the electronically tested...

UK released Friday, 29 September 2017 (October 2017 in the USA) - "The Dawn Albums Collection" by MUNGO JERRY on 7t's/Cherry Red GLAMBOX166 (Barcode 5013929056626) is a 5CD 81-Track Mini Box Set that plays out as follows:

Disc 1 "Mungo Jerry" (66:02 minutes):
1. Baby Let's Play House [Side 1]
2. Johnny B. Badde
3. San Francisco Bay Blues
4. Sad Eyed Joe
5. Maggie
6. Peace In The Country
7. See Me [Side 2]
8. Movin' On
9. My Friend
10. Mother *!*!*! Boogie
11. Tramp
12. Daddies Brew
Tracks 1 to 12 are their debut album "Mungo Jerry" - UK released July 1970 on Dawn Records DNLS 3008 and September 1970 in the USA on Janus Records JXS 700. The US album came in different artwork and on Side 2 (only) dropped "Daddies Brew" as the last track to replace it with the hit single "In The Summertime" which then became the opening song on Side 2 (Side 1 running order same as the UK).

13. Mighty Man
14. Dust Pneumonia Blues
15. Santo Antonio Santo Francisco
16. Live From Hollywood - Maggie/Midnight Special/Mighty Man
Tracks 13 and 14 are non-album single sides - the remaining two-tracks to the UK 3-track 'Maxi Single' "In The Summertime" released May 1970 on Dawn Records DNX 2502 (the picture sleeve is on Page 3 of the booklet)
Track 15 is the non-album A-side to an Italian-only 7" single on Pye Records P 67.030 released February 1971 ("Peace In The Country" was the B-side)
Track 16 is a non-album single side - one of two to the UK 3-track 'Maxi Single' "Baby Jump" released January 1971 on Dawn Records DNX 2505 (the other track was "The Man Behind The Piano" (on Disc 2) and the picture sleeve is on Page 5 of the booklet)

Disc 2 "Electronically Tested" (61:49 minutes):
1. She Rowed [Side 1]
2. I Just Wanna Make Love To You
3. In The Summertime
4. Somebody Stole My Wife
5. Baby Jump [Side 2]
6. Follow Me Down
7. Memories Of A Stockbroker
8. You Better Leave That Whiskey Alone
9. Coming Back To You When The Time Comes
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 2nd studio album "Electronically Tested" - released in the UK April 1971 on Dawn Records DNLS 3020.
Named after their second hit single the 1971 10-track German version of the album was called "Baby Jump" on Pye Records 85 267 IT and featured an exclusive song,  a radically-altered track run and a non-album B-side. To sequence the German LP "Baby Jump" from this CD, use the following:
Side 1: Tracks 5, 4, 2 and 14 ("Black Bubonic Plague" was exclusive to this album)
Side 2: Tracks 1, 6, 9, 8, 7 and 10
The American and Canadian albums for "Electronically Tested" on Janus JXS 3072 and Dawn DNLS 3072 (respectively) were both renamed "Memories Of A Stockbroker" and also given radically re-altered 11-song tracks-lists (the same for each) which included exclusives and non-album B-sides. They can be sequenced from Disc 2 and Disc 1 as follows:
Side 1: Tracks 7, 8, 4, 9, 6 and 1
Side 2: Tracks 5, 12, 10, 12 (Disc 1) and 2

10. The Man Behind The Piano
Non-album B-side to "Baby Jump", a January 1971 UK 7" single on Dawn 7N 2505 and the January 1971 3-track 'Maxi Single' EP "Baby Jump" on Dawn DNX 2505 (picture sleeve pictured on Page 5 of the booklet)
11. Lady Rose (Single Version)
Originally a non-album A-side of a May 1971 UK 7" single on Dawn 7N 2510 (its B-side was another non-album song "Little Louie" - see Track 13). "Lady Rose" then later turned up in 'album form' (different to the original single) on the "Boot Power" LP in October 1972. On original release "Lady Rose" was also put out as a May 1971 4-track 'Maxi Single' EP on Dawn DNX 2510 (pictured on Page 7 of the booklet). But just to confuse matters there are two versions of it - both with the same catalogue number and picture sleeve. The first has the tracks as "Lady Rose", "She Rowed", "Milk Cow Blues" and "Little Louie" - the second swaps "She Rowed" for "Have A Whiff On Me" as Track 2 on Side 1 and is the more common of the two EPs (all can be sequenced from this box set)
12. Have A Whiff On Me
Non-album B-side on the May 1971 4-track 'Maxi Single' EP "Lady Rose" on Dawn DNX 2510 (pictured on Page 7 of the booklet)
13. Little Louie
Non-album B-side of a May 1971 UK 7" single on Dawn 7N 2510 and also one of the songs on the May 1971 4-track 'Maxi Single' EP "Lady Rose" on Dawn DNX 2510 (pictured on Page 7 of the booklet)
14. Black Bubonic Plague - exclusive to the German LP of "Electronically Tested" called "Baby Jump" (see above)
15. Have A Whiff On Me (USA Version) - exclusive to the US LP of "Electronically Tested" called "Memories Of A Stockbroker" (see above)

Disc 3 "You Don't Have To Be In The Army" (58:29 minutes):
1. You Don't Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War [Side 1]
2. Ella Speed
3. Pidgeon Stew
4. Take Me Back
5. Hey Rosalyn
7. Northcoat Arms [Side 2]
8. There's A Man Going Round Taking Names
9. Simple Thing
10. Keep Your Hands Off Her
11. On A Sunday
12. That Old Dust Storm
Tracks 1 to 12 are their 3rd studio album "You Don't Have To Be In The Army" - released October 1971 in the UK on Dawn Records DNLS 3028.

13. We Shall Be Free - non-album B-side to a September 1971 UK 7" single for "You Don't Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War" on Dawn 7N 2513
14. Shorty George
15. Outskirts Of Town
16. You Got Me Dizzy - tracks 14, 15 and 16 are session outtakes - Blues and R'n'B covers of "Short George" (Leadbelly), "Outskirts Of Town" (Roy Jacobs song associated with Ray Charles and others) and "You Got Me Dizzy" (Jimmy Reed)

Disc 4 "Boot Power" (59:30 minutes):
1. Open Up [Side 1]
2. She's Gone
3. Lookin' For My Girl
4. See You Again
5. The Demon
6. My Girl And Me [Side 2]
7. Sweet Mary Jane
8. Lady Rose (Album Version)
9. Going Down The Dusty Road
10. Brand New Car
11. 46 And On
Tracks 1 to 11 are their 4th studio album "Boot Power" - released October 1972 in the UK on Dawn Records DNLS 3041.

12. A Goodie Boogie Woogie
13. 46 And On (Single Version)
14. My Girl And Me (Single Version)
15. Open Up (Single Version)
Tracks 12, 13 and 14 are the non-album B-sides to a November 1972 UK 4-track 'Maxi Single' EP "My Girl And Me" on Dawn Records DNX 3041
Track 15 is the A-side of a March 1972 UK 7" single on Dawn 7N 2514. Along with "Going Back Home", "I Don't Wanna Go Back To School" and "No Girl Reaction" (the three of which would eventually emerge on the September 1974 album "Long Legged Woman") - "Open Up (Single Version)" was also part of a 4-track 'Maxi Single' EP for "Open Up" on Dawn DNX 2514 in late March 1972

Disc 5 "Long Legged Woman" (60:19 minutes):
1. Long Legged Woman Dressed In Black [Side 1]
2. Glad I'm A Rocker
3. Gonna Bop 'Til I Drop
4. Wild Love
5. O'Reilly
6. The Sun Is Shining
7. Summer's Gone
8. Don't Stop [Side 2]
9. Going Back Home
10. No Girl Reaction
11. Little Miss Hipshake
12. Milk Cow Blues
13. I Don't Wanna Go Back To School
14. Alright Alright Alright
Tracks 1 to 14 are their 5th studio album "Long Legged Woman" - released September 1974 in the UK on Dawn Records DNLS 3501.

15. All Dressed Up And No Place To Go
16. Shake 'Til I Break
17. Too Fast To Live And Too Young To Die
18. Burnin' Up
19. Say Goodnight
Tracks 15, 16, 17 and 18 were the non-album "Rock & Roll with Mungo Jerry" EP released November 1974 in the UK on Dawn DNS 1092
Track 19 originally appeared as Track 3 on Side 1 of the October 1974 UK LP compilation "Golden Hour Presents Mungo Jerry's Greatest Hits" on Golden Hour GH 586

RAY DORSET - Lead Vocals, Electric, Acoustic and Steel Guitars, Kazoo, Harmonica and Footstomps
RAY KING - Acoustic Guitars and Banjo, Blues Harp, Jug and Kazoo
COLIN EARL - Piano and Harpsichord
MIKE COLE - Double Bass

The glossy Mini LP-sized clamshell box houses five single card-sleeve repro-covers of the original British albums (3 and 4 contain picture CDs whilst the other labels are plain colours) and a jam-packed 20-page booklet. It's a feast for the eyes and brain containing hordes of rare 7" single picture sleeves on almost every page (Italy, Japan, Eastern Europe and so on), period memorabilia (sheet music, A-label demos, alternative artwork and so forth) and new hugely informative liner notes from ALAN CLAYSON. The rear covers of the British LPs are even pictured on the last credits page. But as fans will know the first four Mungo Jerry albums in the UK all came in tasty gatefold sleeves (the last was a single plain cover) - "Boot Power" had a lyric insert whilst the debut came with 3D-glasses to look at the 3D'd cover on original issues - and unfortunately an opportunity has been missed here in not giving them the repro glory they deserved. Still with half decent JAMES BRAGG Audio and a price tag that sees these LPs and straggler-sides weigh in at just above four-quid per album and you'd have to argue that there's an awful lot baby jumping to be had here. On to the music...

We learn that Producer Barry Murray (who worked for Pye Records) first heard only one minute of "In The Summertime" at a Ray Dorset acoustic-guitar demo session in his offices and knew it was a No. 1 – screaming it from his chair. But when it was recorded shortly thereafter – the band realised that one-minute of music was literally all they had. They then went upstairs to the car park - miked up the exhaust pipe of an executive's sports car and recorded the roars - went back downstairs and panned that exhaust rumble across the speakers in the middle of the song. They then simply re-repeated the first recorded minute twice and a musical year-defining legend was made. Released a month prior to the album - a spot on Peel's Radio Show and a TV slot on the BBC's 'Disco Two' saw the shush-right-up sweety long-legs Dawn single for "In The Summertime" enter the UK charts at No. 13 after only one week and smash to the top by week two. It was the same chart MO virtually everywhere else on the planet (its infectious Kazoo shuffle hit No. 3 in the USA).

"In The Summertime" had a simplistic Jug Band joy that captured the imagination and the feet and much of the debut album reflects the same - from the cod Rock 'n' Roll homage to heroes of old in "Baby Let's Play House" where a vocally-echoed Dorset mimics his best Presley lip-sneer through to the "Lady Rose" identikit sound of "Maggie" and the wonderful "My Friend" which could easily have been another Top Ten blast everywhere ("Tramp" is the one moment of surprising delicacy).

Their second platter remains their most famous and commercially successful - "Electronically Tested" – renamed "Baby Jump" in certain territories after that second single sparked Mungomania and suddenly everybody wanted to sing about girls in figure-hugging clothing and see-through sweaters. The Production quality for Album Two certainly jumped up as is evidenced by "She Rowed" and the grungy but in-yer-face guitars of "I Just Wanna Make Love To You" – a not entirely comfortable stab at the Willie Dixon/Muddy Waters Chess Records classic. "Somebody Stole My Wife" could easily have been another hit single on an album that finally included "In The Summertime" and "Baby Jump" amidst its ranks – while Dorset gets to stretch out his wordsmith talent with the miserable-banker remembering sweets in the schoolyard then becoming boring suits and insufferable bosses in "Memories Of A Stockbroker". Morbid ponderings of such like are soon replaced with drinking in "You Better Leave That Whiskey Alone" – a jaunty tale of a wife who took the bottle down off the shelf when her husband buggered off the summer previous and hasn’t been able to replace it – two-fingering her doctor’s advice. It ends with a love song – a girl writing Ray to remind him of what he’s missing – if only he can stop taking girls on his worldwide pop-star travels (oops dear – I’m afraid from his tone - he’s off again).

By the time Mungo Jerry had reached LP No. 3 – the Americans had stopped listening (none of the next three were released there) probably judging them to be a one-hit wonder novelty sound like "Neanderthal Man" by a pre-10cc Hotlegs. But that's not to say there isn't more on here worth loving – there is. In fact what gets me about a Box Set called "Albums Collection" is how much you keep returning to their singles and those deadly non-album B-sides that were for me at least better than many of the hurried album cuts. The cocaine-romp of "Have A Whiff On Me" and the my-woman-is-on-my-mind-again rumble of "The Man Behind The Piano". There's the two stunners that followed "In The Summertime" on their first 'Maxi Play' single EP (33 1/3 playing speed anybody) - "Mighty Man" and "Dust Pneumonia Blues" - winners both. And best of all is the amazing and truly period-evocative "Lady Rose" - presented here in both single and LP form. My poison has always been the looser more feel-good 7" single version - dee dee dee dee dee indeed. "Lady Rose" has always brought a smile to my face and the same goes for Mungo Jerry - even if the albums and hits had clearly tapered off by 1974's drearily-clad "Long Legged Woman".

"...Life's for living and that's our philosophy..." - the permanently ringlet-haired Ray Dorset sang on "In The Summertime" all those years ago.  "The Dawn Albums Collection" is not all genius for sure - but man-oh-man could the Middlesex boy pen a hit - and I for one am glad 7t's/Cherry Red have catalogued those hazy-crazy days in this micro-mini skirt of a Box Set. Pass the kazoo lads - it's time to shuffle...
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