In The Summertime is one of the most recognisable songs and epitomised the Summer of 1970. It was also the biggest hit for British rock/folk/pop/blues band Mungo Jerry.
With founder member and singer / guitarist Ray Dorset the constant member, the band have continued to record and tour, in parallel to Dorset’s other (including solo) projects.
This 2CD mixes old and new, with disc 1 a 17 track compilation across the years, while disc 2 a collection of new recordings.
Disc one kicks off with ‘In The Summertime’, it’s catchy groove, a memorable guitar riff, and that jug blowing. This is, remains, always has been and always will be an uplifting and enjoyable track that you’ll never tire of. Elements of folk and blues in the rock, it may be a basic track but it works.
The line-up back then featured pianist Colin Earl, brother of Foghat drummer Roger Earl.
Next up is ‘Lady Rose’, the band’s 3rd single with a bright and breezy guitar and harmonica In with the piano. This made the top 10 and could have made #1 if it wasn’t for withdrawal on account of one of the b-sides.
‘You Don’t Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War’ shows the more country rock side of things.
The style continues throughout the 70s and 80s, and there’s some great music here; there’s a whole lot more to Mungo Jerry than that opening track. Another standout is ‘Somebody Stole My Wife’ (here in a new version). ’Alright Alright Alright’ from 1976 is a punchier number that features bassist Bob Daisley (Widowmaker, Rainbow, Ozzy, Gary Moore et al)
An essential listen is the 9 minute live version of ‘Open Up’, a heavier blues number that rocks.
Disc 2 is the collection of new material which is largely performed by Dorset (aka Mungo Jerry, for now they are synonymous) with Toby Hounsham (keyboards), Jon Playle (bass) and Bob White (drums).
Opening track It ‘Don’t Matter’ is a solid soul number with guest saxophone. ‘Touch The Sky’ is a solid rock/pop number with some neat guitar/keyboards interplay. ‘You’ll Be Sorry’ is a slower number with a guitar sound that reminds of Eric Burdon and The Animals. Some good passion and feel in there. ‘Rhythm Is A Healer’ is another soulful track, and ‘I’ll Be A Hippy ‘Till I Die’ is an uptempo rocker with psychedelic roots. Further tracks explore the blues with rock, country pop and the other influences you associate with Mungo Jerry, in a more solid form.
It’s good, it’s very enjoyable, especially the bluesier and boogie material.
Not your usual With Guitars fare but it’s good music, which is all that counts. The booklet comes with some notes from Dorset himself, but some more info on each track would be beneficial. 8/10