Mungo Jerry Jugband "In the Summertime" Fun

I don't know about you, but hearing "In the Summertime"  by Mungo Jerry, just makes my day. That song, with Ray Dorset on lead vocals, topped the charts 40 summers ago.  "Lady Rose" and "Baby Jump" were hits, too. But nothing touched 'In the Summertime' for zesty rhythm and child-like rhymes. I love how when Mungo Jerry can't think of any words, they grunt or hum or make up nonsensical words.

I love everything about Mungo Jerry: long, bushy hair, big mutton chops, jug band, cheesy lyrics, leather fringed boots. My husband and I had a disagreement about Dorset whether he was Puerto Rican or Jamaican. Finally we decided he must be Cuban. Imagine our chagrin when we discovered the band was British.

And the name, Mungo Jerry. I had somehow connected it with mung beans. After all, hippies lived on seeds and beans and wore strange pod-like jewelry, right? As a kid, I could only listen to classical, so overlook my ignorance. In point of fact, Mungo Jerry is a literary reference to Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, by Mr. T.S. Eliot. One portion references Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer. The broadway musical "Cats" sources Eliot's work.

Mungo Jerry 's meteoric rise to fame was an unexpected surprise, starting with band members themselves, I'll bet. The Jugband sound has elements of Cajun, creole accordion, Zydeco. Mungo Jerry has roots rock, ska, reggae and afro-caribbean undertones also. The closest band connection is Creedence Clearwater Revival as Willie and the Poorboys. It hints at Sailcat (Motorcycle Mama) and T-Bone Burnett.