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Dorset in 2006
|Birth name||Raymond Edward Dorset|
21 March 1946 |
Ashford, Middlesex, England
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, harmonica, kazoo, keyboards|
|Associated acts||Mungo Jerry|
|Website||Official Mungo Jerry Site|
Raymond Edward "Ray" Dorset (born 21 March 1946, Ashford, Middlesex) is an English guitarist, singer, songwriter, and founder of Mungo Jerry. He composed most of the songs for the band, including the hit singles "In the Summertime", "Mighty Man", "Baby Jump", "Lady Rose", "You Don't Have to Be in the Army to Fight in the War", "Long Legged Woman Dressed in Black", and "Hello Nadine".
Dorset attended Stanwell Road School (which was renamed Abbotsford County Secondary School) and Southall Grammar Technical School from the age of 13 after passing an exam and as a teenager he formed The Blue Moon Skiffle Group. After leaving the school without qualifications he worked as an apprentice hairdresser for nine months and then for a firm in Hounslow called Radio Control Specialists that manufactured electro mechanical components. He also studied for a City and Guilds qualification at Twickenham Technical College.
In 1968 Dorset formed the group Good Earth, which also included Colin Earl on keyboards, Dave Hutchins on bass, and Ray Bowerman on drums. They recorded the album It's Hard Rock And All That on the Saga record label, before Hutchins and Bowerman left. Joe Rush joined on washboard and the group adopted a more acoustic-based skiffle style. In 1970, with further line-up changes, the group became Mungo Jerry with hits to follow such as "In the Summertime". The song took Dorset only ten minutes to compose on a second-hand Fender Stratocaster while he was taking time off work from his regular job, working in a laboratory for Timex.
Dorset has also maintained a solo career parallel to his leadership of Mungo Jerry. In 1972 he released the album Cold Blue Excursion, made up entirely of self-penned songs, many featuring strings and brass accompaniment. In 1983 he was part of one-off blues outfit Katmandu with Peter Green and Vincent Crane, who recorded an album A Case for the Blues. In 1986, billed as 'Made in England', he recorded and released the theme tune for the TV drama series Prospects as a single.
One song recorded by Mungo Jerry, "Feels Like I'm in Love", was originally written by Dorset for Elvis Presley, who died before the song could be recorded. Nevertheless, in 1979 it was recorded by disco singer Kelly Marie, and became a UK Number one in September 1980. This made Dorset one of the first songwriters to top the UK Singles Chart with singles performed by himself, and by another musician.
Father of six, Dorset lives with third wife, Britta, in Bournemouth. Interviewed in 2014, Dorset said, "Each of my three marriages has produced two children and I also have three grandchildren. I married my present wife, Britta, in 1995. We sold our home in her native Germany and moved completely to Bournemouth, where we’ve been based since 1994 and own two houses and a restaurant. I should be retired, but my brain is like that of an 18 year old."
- Ray Dorset at Mungomania Retrieved 28 March 2016
- Robertson, Peter (26 April 2014). "Whatever happened to In The Summertime singer Mungo Jerry". Express.
- Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 208. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
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