Cherry Red has recently collected up the albums of two very different artists from the 1970s as compact clamshell box sets. The label’s Hear No Evil Recordings imprint is taking listeners on a Joy Ride with four Epic solo albums from guitar great Rick Derringer, while 7Ts Records has expanded editions of five Dawn albums from the group Mungo Jerry as The Dawn Albums Collection.
Joy Ride: Solo Albums 1973-1980 follows the release earlier this year of The Blue Sky Albums from Rick’s band Derringer. But before Derringer the band, Rick Derringer the artist was already well-established – first as the teenaged voice of The McCoys’ hit “Hang On Sloopy,” then as the guitar virtuoso playing with artists from Edgar and Johnny Winter to Alice Cooper. The box set has his first four solo albums beginning with 1973’s All American Boy. That LP popularized Rick’s song “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” despite the fact that it had already been recorded three times with various Winter units. But All American Boy wasn’t a one-song album; its majestic blend of rock, balladry, and evocative instrumentals showed off Derringer’s many sides. Co-produced by Bill Szymczyk (whose own eclectic tastes complemented Derringer’s), the LP featured one song co-written with Patti Smith (“Hold”) as well as guest appearances from Joe Walsh (whom Szymczyk first signed to ABC/Dunhill as a member of The James Gang), David Bromberg, Edgar Winter, Toots Thielemans, and CSN sideman Joe Vitale.
Rick returned two years later, in 1975, with Spring Fever, reinvigorating his old hit “Hang On Sloopy” with a reggae vibe, and even tackling Rufus Thomas’ Stax classic ‘Walkin’ the Dog.” Edgar and Johnny Winter appeared along with Dan Hartman, David Johansen of New York Dolls, jazz great Chick Corea, and Utopia’s early member John Siegler. For Rick’s next effort, 1979’s Guitars and Women, another prominent Utopia member would produce: Todd Rundgren. Todd and Rick were already well-acquainted, as Derringer played on seminal Rundgren LPs like Something/Anything and A Wizard – A True Star. By the time of Guitars and Women, the band Derringer was an ongoing concern, but that didn’t deter its frontman from crafting a distinctive album de-emphasizing the crunchy rock riffs of his band. Utopia, a.k.a. Todd, Kasim Sulton, and Roger Powell, all contributed to the sessions, as did Neil Geraldo. Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen offered up two tunes, “It Must Be Love” and “Need a Little Girl (Just Like You).” The fourth and final album on the box, Face to Face, featured a core band of Derringer, Donie Kisselbach, Jimmy Wilcox, and Benjy King, and included a couple of live tracks to amp up its breezier sound.
HNE has added bonus tracks to each album other than Guitars and Women, and the box also includes a 16-page booklet with liner notes by Malcolm Dome based on commentary from Rick Derringer. There are no remastering credits. Each disc is housed in a mini-LP replica jacket. Rick moved over to Passport Records for his next solo LP, 1983’s Good Dirty Fun, but this box captures his early, eclectic (and electric!) rock sound at its peak.
Mungo Jerry’s The Dawn Albums Collection, from the 7Ts imprint, is presented in a similar format. The band is best remembered today for “In the Summertime,” its 1970 U.K. chart-topper which also reached No. 3 in the U.S. and remains a carefree anthem of the sunshine season. All told, Mungo Jerry charted a string of U.K. hits, including two Number Ones – all of which can be found in this new collection.
Led by Ray Dorset (songwriter, guitarist, harmonica and kazoo player, frontman and lead vocalist), the blues-rock/jug band stylings of Mungo Jerry inspired a wave of success in Britain known as “Mungomania,” largely on the strength and success of “In the Summertime.” This box kicks off with 1970’s Mungo Jerry, a respectable hit at No. 13 on the U.K. chart, but “In the Summertime” didn’t appear until the group’s second LP for Pye Records’ Dawn imprint, 1971’s Electronically Tested. With “Mungomania” in full swing, the No. 14 album also yielded a second chart-topper, “Baby Jump.” Third single “Lady Rose,” a No. 5 hit, has been appended to this album as a bonus track.
Mungo Jerry scored a fourth hit before 1971 was out: the title track to You Don’t Have to Be in the Army, which went to No. 13 in Britain. “Open Up,” the opening cut of 1972’s Boot Power, barely missed the top 20, but the group’s fortunes were restored with the top 5 success of “Alright Alright Alright” from 1974’s Long Legged Woman, the final album contained in this set.
The band endured personnel and stylistic changes on the albums represented, veering into pure pop, ’50s rock-and-roll, and more. Ray Dorset’s voice as a singer and songwriter, however, kept Mungo Jerry’s sound a recognizable one. The Dawn Albums Collection includes a 20-page booklet with copious images of single picture sleeves, as well as new liner notes by Alan Clayson. Each album is packaged within its own mini-sleeve reprinting the original album cover; the back cover of each includes credits and discography. James Bragg has remastered. A total of 23 bonus tracks have been spread across the five discs, including some single versions included on 7Ts’ 2016 release The Dawn Singles Collection.
Ready for some seventies sounds? Both Rick Derringer’s Joy Ride and Mungo Jerry’s The Dawn Albums Collection are available now from Cherry Red at the links below!