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RAY DORSET INTERVIEW : PART 6

THE BAND OF ’74 HAD BROKEN UP AND YOU AND IAN MILNE WERE JOINED BY CHRIS WARNES, JOHN BRUNNING & JIMMY JEWELL FROM THE BAND ‘CROW?

Barry Murray discovered the band Crow and thought that it would be good if they would join me and Ian as the management had decided to put together a band to tour the States which were to be called the Boogie Brothers and they wanted to have Dave Bidwell as the drummer, this band was Savoy Brown plus Stan Webb and Miller Anderson from the Keef Hartley Band and they were billed as “Savoy Brown are the Boogie Brothers”, I sang one song with them when they played at the London Marquee Club. The musicians from Crow were all very good and the band really rocked. All Dressed Up Line-up

THE BAND RECORDED A ROCK ‘N ROLL EP FOR DAWN. WHAT WAS THE THINKING BEHIND THAT?

Most of the previous Mungo singles had been maxi's and it was Barry’s idea to make an EP, 'Mungo Rox', as a throw back to the sixties rock ‘n’ roll records. I had built up a good following with the rock ‘n’ roll fans with songs like 'Little Miss Hipshake' and I was also showing some appreciation as to the dedicated followers that we had pre-Mungo when we used to play the rock ‘n’ roll clubs like the one at the Northcote Arms in Southall.

A MAJOR CHANGE FOR MUNGO JERRY CAME ABOUT WHEN YOU MOVED TO THE RENOWNED POLYDOR LABEL?

The management negotiated a good new deal with Polydor prior to the contract with Pye running out but, by the time the new deal had come in to operation, the people that my management had dealt with left the company to set up their own label. Punk was coming in and the A & R people at Polydor in England were not really very interested in the Mungo recordings, I think that they thought that we were past our sell by date, although Chris Parry did say to Freddie Hyaan the MD (Freddie used to manage the Dutch band, Golden Earring) that I wrote f*****g good rock songs.

THE FIRST SINGLE WAS ‘CAN’T GET OVER LOVING YOU’, A GOOD SONG BUT I REMEMBER BEING DISAPPOINTED THAT THERE WAS NO PICTURE SLEEVE WHICH MAY NOT SEEM MUCH LOOKING BACK, BUT IT DID MAKE ME THINK THAT MAYBE POLYDOR WEREN’T BACKING THE BAND AS MUCH AS WE’D HOPED?

This record was put out without thought of a picture sleeve and not much promotion but it was a hit in Denmark.

AFTER THE ACRIMONY OF THE BREAK-UP OF THE BAND IN ’72, I WAS AMAZED (AND PLEASED) WHEN COLIN EARL RETURNED TO THE FOLD AND RECORDED THE NEXT SINGLE WITH YOU - ‘HELLO NADINE’? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

We had already recorded what we thought would be the follow up single which was 'What's Her Name, What's Her Number' but I had written 'Hello Nadine' some time before in Athens on a bouzouki when I was there with the band before the Crow line up, Barry thought that this would make a good single and we recorded a version of it with Dave Wilkie on the piano just before he left the band to joining the 'bogus' Fleetwood Mac line up. Bob Daisley, Dick Middleton and Dave Bidwell were in the band at this time. We recorded the song again when Colin was back in the band and we were working at Nova Studios in London on what was to become the 'Impala Saga' album. I played bass, guitar, percussion, bouzouki, professional stylophone, harmonica, vocals, and Colin played piano on the track. I don’t remember exactly why the Crow line-up split but Chris stayed with me and Pete Sullivan, who had been with Bronx Cheer and also done some gigs with me when Dave Bidwell was ill, joined the band on drums. After a phone call, Colin came over to visit me at my house in London and we decided to work together again, Joe was happy to be in the band and yes, we called up 'Bizz' to join us too.

‘HELLO NADINE’ WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL ABROAD WASN’T IT?

Particularly in France, where we did 23 TV shows that year, also in Germany where we made many tours with this line up.

I MANAGED TO SEE A LOT OF THAT LINE-UP, AND I HAVE ALWAYS RATED IT HIGHLY. THERE WAS ALWAYS A LOT OF FUN AND GAMES WITH THAT LOT?

We drank a lot of wine and beer between us and were always playing jokes on each other, though mainly on Chris.

DO YOU RECALL ANY FUNNY STORIES FROM THIS PERIOD?

Chris ordering lemon tea on a plane and then adding milk, ugh!

Although we had a brand new VW bus to travel around in the heating system was pretty useless and on one cold winters night I bought everyone a candle thinking that it would warm our hands a little, unfortunately a newspaper caught alight when we were travelling along and we practically smoked ourselves out of the bus.

SPEAKING FOR MYSELF, I HAD A GREAT TIME HANGING AROUND WITH THE BAND. EVEN THE ROAD CREW OF ‘BIZZ’, ‘NIPPER’ & RAY CLEGG WERE VERY GOOD TO ME OFTEN DROPPING ME OFF HOME IN THE VAN AFTER GIGS. IT WAS A VERY GOOD TIME FOR ME, WAS IT FOR YOU?

We never seemed to stop working at this time and it was party all the way.

WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER OF THE TOUR OF WORKING MEN'S CLUBS IN THE NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE AREA?

A good sense of humour was required to cope with the inadequate facilities of the accommodation that we had, but the audiences were really good. Ray Clegg (road manager) often had a problem collecting the full gig fees as most times the committee thought that we were being overpaid, “more money than we can earn in a month” syndrome. Mungo Jerry 1975

I REMEMBER THAT YOU HAD SOME PROBLEMS WITH THE VARIOUS COMMITTEE MEN IN THE CLUBS, WHO WERE LIKE GODS IN THAT ENVIRONMENT - NOTHING HAPPENED WITHOUT THEIR SAY-SO?

They liked to throw their weight around, everything had to be done by the committee rules.

I CAN ALSO REMEMBER THAT COLIN MANAGED TO GET HIS HANDS ON ONE OF THEIR COMMITTEE BADGES AND STRUTTED AROUND WITH IT FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK?

Colin was very proud of his badge.

AM I RIGHT IN THINKING THAT THIS PARTICULAR LINE-UP RECORDED SOME AUTHENTIC ROCKABILLY TRACKS - ‘GIVE ME BOP’ & ‘THAT’S MY BABY’ - THAT WERE WELL RECEIVED BY CERTAIN ROCK’ N ROLL SOCIETY’S IN LATER YEARS?

Through it’s release on a rock-a-billy compilation as Ray Dorset and The Rebels, I found out not so long ago that 'Give Me Bop' became a radio hit in some parts of Italy and Spain. Colin played the piano on both tracks but I don’t remember who else played on the recordings. The vocals and guitar on 'That's My Baby' were recorded at my home and 'Give Me Bop' was recorded at 'Sunrise', an eight track studio in London owned by Eliot Cohen and run by Dave Howman and Andre Jacqueman who went on to work for the Monty Python guys.

THE FIRST ALBUM FOR POLYDOR WAS RELEASED EARLY IN 1976 - 'IMPALA SAGA' AND WAS PRETTY WELL RECEIVED BY FANS. A GOOD ALBUM I’D SAY?

Most of the tracks that were intended for this album were left off because of a publishing dispute that I had, the musicians on these recordings were the guys from the Crow line up, so I quickly recorded some more, predominately rock ‘n’ roll type tracks with the then current line up.

THE SUMMER OF 1976, A STEAMING HOT ONE I RECALL, SAW THE RELEASE OF ‘DON’T LET GO’ AS THE BANDS NEXT SINGLE. I CAN ALSO REMEMBER RADIO 1 PLUGGED IT TO DEATH FOR WHAT SEEMED TO BE ONE DAY ONLY AND THEN NOT AT ALL AFTER THAT. WHY DO THESE THINGS ALWAYS SEEM TO HAPPEN TO MUNGO?

'Don't Let Go' did get a lot of plays initially and went in to the UK charts at around number 65 but the record company failed to do any more work on it. This track was produced by the late Alan Blakely from The Tremeloes. 1976 Line-up

THE SUMMER OF 1976, A STEAMING HOT ONE I RECALL, SAW THE RELEASE OF ‘DON’T LET GO’ AS THE BANDS NEXT SINGLE. I CAN ALSO REMEMBER RADIO 1 PLUGGED IT TO DEATH FOR WHAT SEEMED TO BE ONE DAY ONLY AND THEN NOT AT ALL AFTER THAT. WHY DO THESE THINGS ALWAYS SEEM TO HAPPEN TO MUNGO?

'Don't Let Go' did get a lot of plays initially and went in to the UK charts at around number 65 but the record company failed to do any more work on it. This track was produced by the late Alan Blakely from The Tremeloes.

DJ DAVE LEE TRAVIS PLAYED IT AND SAID SIMPLY, ‘WHAT A FANTASTIC SONG’!

I thought that it was a good recording, maybe it should have sounded happier.

ONE OF YOUR COMPOSITIONS, ‘IT’S A SECRET’ WAS RELEASED ABROAD AND MADE IT TO NO.1 IN CERTAIN COUNTRIES. IT SEEMED CRAZY THAT IT WASN’T ISSUED IN THE UK?

The people at the UK division of Polydor were now interested in being ultra hip and they only seemed to want Punk/New Wave, which 'It's a Secret' certainly was not. 1976 Line-up

‘LANA’ WAS NOT ISSUED AS A SINGLE IN THE UK EITHER. WAS THAT A MISTAKE?

I really liked this recording, this was produced by my old friend Roberto Danova and he used the musicians that had been on the Cliff Richard and Olivia Newton John recordings, which he also did on the hit version of 'It's a Secret' and the other tracks that he produced with me for Polydor. Even the backing track of 'Lana' sounds good and stands up on its own with no vocals.

THE BAND SEEMED TO BE IN JUST AS MUCH DEMAND TO TOUR AS EVER. ARE THERE ANY MEMORABLE GIGS THAT SPRING TO MIND?

We played many wild gigs in France and Germany around this time, one of which was a cow shed somewhere in the middle of nowhere in France, about two thousand people eating and drinking and no toilet facilities. On our way back to the hotel after the show we saw the promoter crashed down in a ditch with his Citroen make type vehicle full of probably slightly or heavily drunk people.

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