Mungo Jerry

You Don't Have to Be in the Army

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Bedecked with one of the most terrifying covers of the early '70s -- a vast, bemedalled military harridan striking a scornful pose of "come and get it" allure -- Mungo Jerry's third U.K. album was titled for one of their best-loved (but, contrarily, least-successful) hit singles, a saga of all the things that can and will go wrong as you try to live your daily life. This album, though the song doesn't mention it, would appear to be one of them. From beginning to end, it is one of their weakest, with Ray Dorset now firmly entrenched in writing according to the established band style and Paul King simply squeezing in his less-typical songs where he can. That he was saving the best for his own forthcoming solo album seems blatantly obvious, though -- his "Hey Rosalyn" is no more a shining triumph than Dorset's "Pigeon Pie" and "Give Me Love," and it's telling that the best songs on the album are the traditional pieces, "Ella Speed" and "Take Me Back." Mungo Jerry would bounce back (briefly), and You Don't Have to Be in the Army's defeat would quickly be forgotten. At the time, however, it was difficult not to believe that the summertime was finally over.

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