10 Albums that changed Ray Dorset’s life

By Patrick Prince

Ray Dorset in a 1970 photo. Courtesy of www.mungojerry.com

Ray Dorset is Mungo Jerry. He has entertained music fans for years as the electric rock ‘n’ roll frontman of Mungo Jerry. He composed many of the hit singles for the group, including “In the Summertime” and “Baby Jump.”

Dorset claims to be retired these days, but he actually keeps himself quite busy. Besides being a doting grandfather, Dorset still performs the occasional gig as Mungo Jerry.

On the Mungo Jerry vinyl record front, Dorset is proud of the latest reissue of a limited-edition 7-inch, “In the Summertime” and “Baby Jump”  — only 3,000 copies were produced. The record has the same artwork as the original 1970 maxi-single that was released on May 22, 1970 (go to www.mungojerry.com for more information).

Ray Dorset was also pleased to give Goldmine a list of the albums that changed his life.


Gary U.S. Bonds, Twist Up Calypso 

The first album that I got. A guy at school had connections with EMI, and I got the record very cheap. I played it over and over again and I guess that the Caribbean feel and the ad libbing inspired me — I believe that Bruce Springsteen was also inspired by this guy. Every track on the album is bouncy and groovy in one way or another. It is an excellent party record, and the longest track on the album is only three minutes and nine seconds long.


Buddy Holly and the Crickets, The Chirping Crickets 

A guy named John Snow who lived across the road from me and also played guitar, he lent this album to me, and I made a copy of it on my reel-to-reel tape recorder and learned every song on the album and played most of them with my band. Buddy Holly’s singing, songwriting and guitar playing also were a great inspiration to me in every way. I eventually bought this album and everything that Buddy Holly put on record.


The Doors, L.A. Woman

I always liked what I heard of The Doors on the radio but never owned any of their recordings. Then in January 1972, months after Jim Morrison passed away, I was in Australia and I noticed “L.A. Woman” on a juke box in a bar that I was in, so I played it and when I got back to the U.K., I bought the album and started listening to every Doors recording both live and in the studio that I could find. It is quite easy to spot the influence on a lot of my rock tracks.


Leadbelly, Leadbelly Sings Folk Songs

This was the first Leadbelly album that I bought. It was first brought to my attention by a guy who kind of managed the band that I was in; his name was Adam Gibbs and he ran a record stored called Melody Fare in Staines, Middlesex. I then realized where Lonnie Donegan (the King of Skiffle) had got some of his ideas from and also that Bob Dylan had got a lot of ideas from Woody Guthrie’s music. I based my jug band/skiffle style on what I first heard on this album.


Yardbirds, Five Live

A truly great live album, it starts off with a brilliant version of the Chuck Berry song “Too Much Monkey Business,” which has a tremendous Eric Clapton guitar intro. I was lucky enough to support The Yardbirds with my band at The Attic Club, which was in Hounslow, Middlesex, and I lent Clapton my plectrum, which he returned to me after the show. The Yardbirds were a band that influenced me a lot, and this live album included terrific versions of the stuff that they were playing at the time.


The Beatles, Revolver

This album was a milestone in songwriting, recording and production. There are so many great songs on this, and unbelievably, they are all pretty short. For example, “Eleanor Rigby” is only two minutes and seven seconds long!


Various Artists, The Rock Machine Turns You On

This was a bargain-priced sampler album and was released on the CBS label. I bought it because it was cheap, but there were surprisingly quite a mixture of different kinds of artists on the album, all of a kind of so-called progressive nature. Taj Mahal’s version of “Statesboro Blues” was the highlight for me, and so I included the song in my live show on and off for well over 40 years. I even recorded a version of it which is on my “Adults Only” album.


The Rolling Stones, The Rolling Stones

The first Stones album and the one that got me even more firmly hooked on rhythm and blues, and the blues itself. I first heard it at the house of a friend. I had heard a lot about the Stones, as the people where I worked used to go to see them play the the Richmond Athletic Club every Sunday. I never got to see them playing live, as I had a regular gig of my own on Sundays. In fact, when the Stones career took off, The Yardbirds took their place at the Richmond gig.


Various Artists, The Sun Records Collection

From B.B. King to Elvis Presley to Howlin’ Wolf, this album is a must for anyone that is interested in the birth of the kind of American music that changed the world. Sam Phillips had the knack to get artists to really perform, and capture those magic moments on tape in his now-legendary Sun Studio.


Johnny Burnette, Johnny Burnette and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio

Rockabilly at its most raw — the driving guitar riffs and the hectic and sometimes manic vocals set this album apart from the norm in conventional rockabilly recordings. Although the band never really achieved any real success at the time of release, this album has become a real collector’s item and some of the songs on the album have been covered by many artists, even Rod Stewart covered one of the songs, but the song that was probably and still is played live by many is “The Train Kept A-Rollin’.”


A glimpse back at Mungo Jerry mania

About Patrick Prince

Patrick Prince is the Editor of Goldmine

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