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RAY DORSET INTERVIEW : PART 5

YOU TOLD US EARLIER ON IN THE INTERVIEW THAT THE MANAGEMENT WANTED TO BRING IN THE CHICKEN SHACK RHYTHM SECTION AND THIS WAS HOW YOU PARTED COMPANY WITH JOHN GODFREY. HOW DID JOHN TAKE THAT DECISION?

I think that he took it quite well, no repercussions.

WE ARE TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM, BUT SO FAR - NO CLUES?

I tried to keep in touch with him but it was difficult as he was not on the phone and I had a number for him at a pub and also at a neighbours house. He was living in Kettering the last time that I heard. Mungo Jerry 1973

THE NEW GUYS - BOB DAISLEY, PAUL HANCOX & JOHN COOK - CAME IN AND PLAYED ON WHAT WAS A HUGE HIT FOR MUNGO JERRY - ‘ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT’. I THOUGHT THAT IT WAS A GREAT RECORDING?

I was really pleased with the track, it was good to come back with such a big international hit. John Cook was not the first keyboard player that we had although he was the first that we recorded with. We did some gigs and rehearsals with John Bisset a guy that lived near to me in Finchley, London. He was from Australia or New Zealand and arrived in the UK on his band’s (Fraternity) tour bus.

PAUL HANCOX DIDN’T STAY IN THE BAND FOR LONG, SOMETHING HE EXPLAINED IN THE FAN CLUB INTERVIEW HE GAVE US, BUT HE WAS/IS A GREAT DRUMMER?

Paul was a good drummer, he also had a lot of ideas as to which musical direction that the band should take.

IT WAS GREAT TO SEE HIM AT THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS IN 2000 AND BETTER STILL TO HELP GET HIM HIS BELATED SILVER DISC FOR ‘ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ALRIGHT’. HE WAS SO PLEASED WHEN YOU PRESENTED HIM WITH IT?

It was good to catch up with Paul after such a long time, he came over to my house in Westbourne with his family and we all went out for an Indian meal. We had a good chat about the past and what we had been up to. Paul and I met up again in Egham and had another chat over a meal in the Runnymede Hotel.

WASN’T IT TRUE THAT YOU WERE A BIT NERVOUS HAVING TO TELL HIM THAT HE WAS OUT OF THE BAND?

Yes, we were on our way to begin a tour in Denmark and I had to visit Paul in his flat in London to tell him that we would be keeping Tim Reeves in the band.

JOHN COOK / TIM REEVES / RAY DORSET

John CookTim ReevesRay Dorset

(Taken at Devonshire Hall, Leeds University, 1973

TIM REEVES RETURNED TO TAKE OVER THE DRUM SPOT BUT HE TOO LEFT TO BE REPLACED BY DAVE BIDWELL, SOMEONE ELSE WHO HAD PLAYED WITH CHICKEN SHACK AND ALSO SAVOY BROWN?

Things got a bit out of hand with Tim in the band and this was another management decision. Dave was a really great drummer and set up a great groove.

THE BAND EMBARKED ON WHAT WAS SAID AT THE TIME TO BE THE ‘LONGEST TOUR OF NORTHERN IRELAND’ DURING THE TROUBLES?

The Irish tour was good fun but we as a band got carried away with the success of the single and seemed to cause mayhem wherever we went. 'There was a lot of playing up', and we got through many crates of Blue Nun which the promoter, a really nice guy by the name of Arthur Walters, expected us to drink after and not before the gigs. We told him that we would cancel the tour unless we got a case of wine at every show, I got the bill for it at the end of the tour.

DID YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT THE TOUR (most acts gave Ireland a wide berth at that time)?

It was evident by all the security that we had come across in Belfast and some of the other towns that there was cause for concern and we also heard that a bridge not so far away from where we were staying had been blown up. The audiences were really fantastic and we just got on with the tour and all of the pranks that we were up to. Remember the headline in the Sun? "Everything’s not so alright with Mungo", after one of our hotel room demolition jobs.

I’VE HEARD A COUPLE OF LIVE RECORDINGS FROM THE TOUR AND IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ALL HAD A GREAT TIME?

I did not know that anything got recorded on the tour.

AT A GIG AT THE BLACK SWAN IN SHEFFIELD, YOU PLAYED A NUMBER CALLED ‘ANGEL CHILD’ WHICH BLEW ME AWAY, PROBABLY MORE THAN ANY OTHER MJ SONG ON FIRST HEARING. THE HAIRS STOOD UP ON THE BACK OF MY NECK?

Yes, I particularly always liked this one myself.

IT DID OF COURSE BECOME ‘WILD LOVE’ AND ANOTHER HIT RECORD WITH AN ADDED SCREAMING CHORUS AND GREAT WORK FROM JOHN COOK ON WHAT I THINK WAS ELECTRIC PIANO?

Barry thought that I should modify the chorus to make it more commercial. John had just got himself a clavinet and was making good use of it.

YOU HAVE PLAYED THE SONG IN ITS ORIGINAL ‘ANGEL CHILD’ FORM AT FAIRLY RECENT GIGS (AT MY REQUEST USUALLY) AND I STILL LOVE IT. IS IT A NUMBER THAT YOU MAY RE-RECORD WITH THE CURRENT BAND AS ‘ANGEL CHILD’?

Thanks for the compliments. I never thought about a new recording of the song before, I’ll give it some thought.

DESPITE ‘WILD LOVE’ CHARTING, THE BAND DIDN’T GET TO PLAY IT ON ‘TOP OF THE POPS’ AND IT I CAN’T RECALL EVER HEARING IT ON THE RADIO. WHY?

I don’t know about the radio plays but when we were requested to do another TOTP Harry Simmonds demanded a higher fee than the BBC normally paid and we were told that unless we were in the top ten with our follow up we would not get to be on the show with it. Also, this was at a time when because of a strike only one music paper got to be published and it happened to be the one where we were lower in the chart.

THAT WAS TWO HIT SINGLES IN ’73 BUT NO ALBUM. WHY WAS THAT?

We were very busy touring and sorting out with the management which direction should be taken musically. Harry and Barry saw a future for the band in the USA and wanted us all to move over there but first thought that the band should develop a tougher image and sound. Harry thought that I was OK as a front man singer but thought that I should bring in a more technically capable guitar player who could play some fast licks. I had no problem with this as I had always been more of a rhythm player.

MORE BAND CHANGES SAW YOU GO INTO ’74 BACKED BY BOB DAISLEY, DAVE BIDWELL AND NOW IAN MILNE (PIANO) AND DICK MIDDLETON (LEAD GUITAR)?

There was no real good reason to dispense with the services of John Cook, I think that it was more personal but John was a really nice guy. Ian had a very good musical knowledge and was a very good all round keyboard player, he could play very fast and came up with a lot of good things, I totally lost touch with him when he left the band. It was decided that the sound of the band would be more raw without keyboards and I fancied a change after working with a piano in the band for so long.

AS FAR AS MUNGO BANDS GO, I BELIEVE THAT THIS WAS YOUR BEST BAND (AFTER THE -DORSET/KING/EARL/GODFREY/RUSH - LINE-UP ON THE ‘ARMY’ ALBUM)?

Musically it was a good band and we did a lot of good shows but Dave’s health problems were a handicap making it necessary to use other drummers on many shows.

‘LONG LEGGED WOMAN DRESSED IN BLACK’ WAS ANOTHER DESERVED HIT? HOW DID THAT SONG COME ABOUT?

I was working with the band on a number of various recordings for the possibility of single and album release and Barry had a snippet of an idea that he put to me. I came up with the arrangement and rehearsed it with Ian at his house and we finally recorded it with the band but with a different lyric, the one that I had was based on a novelty idea and a little risqué and I changed it to Long Legged Woman, which Barry thought was better.

NO ALBUM AGAIN?

We were recording quite a lot of songs, though sometimes with Eric Dillon on drums because of the problems that Dave was having, and when Dave Wilkie came into the band on piano, we recorded the first versions of 'Hello Nadine' which I wrote in Athens on a bouzouki that I bought there. I needed to come up with commercially potential material but at the same time get something credible on an album, but the more “heavier” stuff did not get recorded until later when the guys from Crow joined the band.

An album was put together of the stuff that I recorded with Bob, etc. But the record company lost the tapes and put out the 'Long Legged Woman' album instead, which was a compilation of singles and B sides, and I was not happy with this idea for a number of reasons. I did not give the new album a title and I remember telling someone that we were really going to have a blitz with the music, meaning that we were going to put out a lot of stuff, it got understood that the lost album was to be entitled 'Blitz'. Mungo Jerry 1974

THE BAND WAS PLAYING SOME GREAT STUFF AT THAT TIME - ‘BIG BROWN EYES’/TOSSIN’ & TURNIN’/’ONE THOUSAND MILES’ - AGAIN ALL SONGS THAT WOULD SUIT THE CURRENT BAND I FEEL?

I did a later recording of 'Big Brown Eyes' when I was with Polydor and it was considered for single release. Yes, I think that the current band is capable of playing everything very well.

A LOT OF THESE SONGS BEING PLAYED AT GIGS HAVE NEVER RE-APPEARED SINCE, BUT I THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE FANTASTIC?

Thanks!

I SEEM TO RECALL THAT AT THAT TIME, YOU STOPPED PLAYING ‘IN THE SUMMERTIME’ AND THE EARLY HITS AT GIGS. BOB DAISLEY TOLD ME THAT HE COULD NEVER REMEMBER ‘NOT PLAYING IT ‘. AM I RIGHT?

I think that there was a time when I stopped performing 'In The Summertime', I definitely stopped playing 'Lady Rose' for a while. This was when Paul Hancox was in the band.

ONCE AGAIN THE BAND BROKE-UP? WHAT WAS THE REASON FOR THAT?

Harry was putting the Boogie Brothers together which was Savoy Brown with Stan Webb and Miller Anderson included in the line up and he wanted Dave back on drums, I think that Jimmy Leverton was on bass, they were to tour the U.S.A. Bob joined Widowmaker and Barry had found a rock band named Crow that he thought the bass, drums and guitar players would be good for me, this was Chris Warnes, Jimmy Jewel and John Brunning. With Ian Milne on keyboards we did a lot of good recordings together which was going to be the first Polydor album.

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