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RAY DORSET INTERVIEW : PART 9

YOU RELEASED THE ALBUM, ‘ADULTS ONLY’ WITH AN ALL GERMAN LINE-UP, AND RECEIVED WHAT CAN ONLY BE CALLED ENCOURAGING REVIEWS. YOU MUST HAVE BEEN PLEASED WITH BOTH THE ALBUM AND THE REVIEWS?

The German blues band started out as a Thursday night jam for fun, after we got a couple of gigs, the Vlotho Festival and the Hamburg Blues Club, Michael suggested that we make an album, so I put on my thinking cap and set about sorting out some songs to record, I wrote some new ones, decided to do some that I had previously recorded plus some old blues favourites. I decided to have the equipment set up in the studio as we did for rehearsals and sing and play everything together, including most of the solos, I think that it worked OK. Certainly, the reaction to the album and all of the reviews that we got was very positive; I was pleased with the result.

THE LIVE SHOWS WITH WHAT WAS BILLED AS THE MUNGO JERRY BLUESBAND, ALSO WENT DOWN WELL AND A BRILLIANT DVD OF THE BAND PLAYING LIVE WAS ALSO RELEASED, AGAIN TO EXCELLENT REVIEWS?

Yes, the live shows went very well, the guys always looked happy and did their best onstage, and the first two gigs that we did were shot on video and ended up on the DVD. Mungo Jerry at The Rigger

THE ALBUM CAME OUT IN 2003, AND THAT YEAR WAS ALSO NOTABLE FOR ANOTHER WEEKEND AT NEWCASTLE UNDER-LYME AND TWO GIGS HELD ON THE MAY BANK HOLIDAY, ONE AN OUTDOOR GIG IN THE TOWN CENTRE AND THE OTHER AT THE RIGGER PUB, A VENUE THAT STRUCK FEAR INTO A FEW HEARTS, BOTH FANS AND BAND, AS WE WAITED OUTSIDE. AS WE WAITED AROUND, I HAD A FEELING THAT IT WOULDN’T PHASE YOU AND IT DIDN’T?

The Rigger was fun, crazy stuff going on but nothing sinister, I know that some of the fans were a little phased though. The whole day was very good, the outside gig went great and the band had a very good time.

WAS IT SIMILAR IN ATMOSPHERE TO THE NORTHCOTE ARMS BACK IN THE EARLY DAYS?

The Northcote Arms gigs were a revelation; we made a lot of fans there because we played a very authentic form of rock'n roll and rockabilly. The audience comprised of mainly Teds, Hells Angels and Roadrats, sometimes initiation ceremonies were carried out but it did not get in the way of the music, I have very good memories of the place. One of the promoters was Harry Holland, he has been in Eastenders for a few years, and he has also written a book about his experiences promoting bands, boxing, etc.

2005 SAW ANOTHER FAN CLUB WEEKEND AT STOKE-ON-TRENT/NEWCASTLE UNDER-LYME. FIRST OFF, A GREAT SATURDAY NIGHT GIG AT THE COPPICE SPECIAL SCHOOL, FOLLOWED BY ANOTHER ON SUNDAY IN STOKE. MIKE COLE WAS BACK TOO GUESTING ON STAGE?

It was another good day at Stoke, I always enjoyed doing the Coppice School stuff, it was also very good to have Mike onstage again, we get on very well together.

YOU MUST HAVE BEEN PROUD TO RECEIVE AN AWARD FROM THE PERFORMING RIGHTS SOCIETY FOR ‘IN THE SUMMERTIME’?

'In The Summertime' received the very first ICONIC award from the UK Performing Rights Society, another first for the song, I’m very proud to have written it, it has brought a lot of happiness and good memories to many people all around the world.

YOU WERE INVOLVED ON SEVERAL PROJECTS THAT RESULTED IN SINGLES, THE VERSION OF ‘IN THE SUMMERTIME’ RECORDED BY DEREK SHERINIAN, WITH BILLY IDOL AND SLASH FROM GUNS AND ROSES SPRINGS TO MIND?

Torsten is a big fan of Derek’s playing and he saw the news on the Derek Sherinian website, I was really pleased. I met Billy Idol at a Chrysalis party in the mid seventies, he seemed like a good guy, then, when the first NAMM Jam took place in 2007, Derek played piano when I did 'In The Summertime'. U.S.A In The Summertime Sheet Music

YOU WERE INVITED TO PLAY AT THE NAMM JAM IN THE UNITED STATES, WHAT WAS THAT LIKE FOR YOU?

It was a great honour for me to be invited to play at NAMM with so many fine and legendary musicians like Goldie the keyboard player from Steppenwolf and of course Aalan White the drummer of Yes who also played on John Lennon’s 'Imagine' album. I have to thank David Harris for the invitation.

YOUR ALBUM, ‘NAKED FROM THE HEART’ WAS RELEASED AND AGAIN, RECEIVED GREAT REVIEWS?

The album was recorded all analogue in a retro style at 8 track, Toe Rag studios, this is where the White Stripes recorded their No.1 'Elephant' album, and 16 track Gizzard studio. This was the first time that Mike and I had recorded together since 'In The Summertime' and the first Mungo Jerry album. Bruce is a graphics artist, he has done artwork for albums by the White Stripes, Darkness, etc, and is a very good all round musician, he is also a Mungo fan and his input for the album was indispensable. Mike showed what an inventive, versatile and creative bass player he is, and it was a pleasure to work with him again. I’m looking forward to our next collaboration.

AND OF COURSE, ANOTHER MUNGO JERRY BLUESBAND ALBUM, ‘WHEN SHE COMES, SHE RUNS ALL OVER ME’?

It was no easy job to record this album, we worked in a different studio this time and the first recordings had to be scrapped. I took over placement of the musicians in the studio and we set up again as for rehearsals, and recorded in the same way as we did for the 'Adults Only' album. I wanted to do some different things this time and not have a repetition of the first album; I think that it worked well.

YOU MADE CONTACT WITH PAUL KING AGAIN AFTER MANY, MANY YEARS, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

Paul gave me a call, completely out of the blue, we seemed to have settled our differences and often speak on the phone.

THERE REMAINS A CHANCE OF A FULL BAND REUNION WITH YOURSELF, PAUL, MIKE COLE AND COLIN EARL?

It was suggested that we all get together for a festival appearance, I have not completely ruled out the possibility of us playing together again. We had an unbelievable amount of magic in 1969/1970 and it would be good to see if it was still there, I do not think that it had much to do with musical capabilities, just a special kind of chemistry between us that is pretty well indefinable.

Byron Contostavlos

THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF BAD NEWS HIT US, WHEN FORMER BASS PLAYER BYRON CONTOSTAVLOS SADLY DIED, CLOSELY FOLLOWED BY BAND MEMBER CHRIS GARRETT AND OF COURSE YOUR MUM?

I was devastated when I got the news about Byron, I was just getting out of the car to go into hospital for an operation, then, a weeks later I got the news about Milan passing away, the guy that I had got really friendly with who ran the T.Rex website in Germany. Then Chris, who had not been in the band very long, but one of the most versatile and accomplished musicians that I have worked with passed away. We got on great together, especially as we shared a similar kind of sense of humour. Now I am dealing with the sad loss of my mother, it is all very personal and the loss of both of my parents is something that I will never get over I guess. I loved them dearly and will always thank them for the help and encouragement that they gave me in my pursuit of performing and writing my songs. 

Chris Garrett
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