Friday, May 23, 2008


I'm going to crib a little from a biography about Eek-A-Mouse I found online...but I guess if I am citing it that's not the same as cribbing, so I would be clear if this were a senior thesis....anyway...
"Born: Ripton Joseph Hylton...November 19, 1957. Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies.... It is not only Eek-A-Mouse's 6 feet 6 inches height that make him one of Jamaica's most individual talents. He has created a style all his own, and gone on to become something of an international phenomenon quite apart from the rest of the world of reggae. Hylton's unusual name was originally that of a racehorse upon which he frequently lost money; when the horse finally won a race, he had, of course, refused to back it...his first two releases, came out under his real name in the mid-70s. Not only were they made while he was still in college, they were produced by his math teacher...In 1980, he started recording with Joe Gibbs after working briefly with the Papa Roots, Black Ark, Gemini, Jah Life, Black Scorpio and Virgo sound systems...He was the toast of Reggae Sunsplash in 1981, his bubbling lunacy providing a cathartic release to a festival otherwise in mourning for Bob Marley. "Biddy biddy beng" roiled out across the crowd, and the audience shouted it back as one, instantly cementing the syllables as the catchprase of the new decade...Mouse's diverse list of early musical influences reads like a Magic 8-Ball of the varied styles that would eventually color his inventive lyricism and instrumentation..."I loved Nat King Cole, Marty Robbins, Cab Calloway, Patsy Cline ... all different singers. Sam Cooke and The Beatles ... and stuff like that," said Mouse, rhapsodically. "And then I came up with my own original style."...That "original style" included elements of "sing-jaying," an early form of toasting (boastful catch phrases, singing and DJ work) mixed with funky vocal gymnastics and effects. Mouse's contribution to the genre was a percussive, nasally vocal style, and a talent for using his voice as a musical instrument that moved The Boston Globe to call him "the Al Jarreau of reggae."...Over the years, Mouse's core audience has also happily accepted his frequent lyrical switch-ups from half-baked humor ("The Mouse and The Man" is about a Disney World meeting of the minds with Mickey) and pointed social commentary ("Operation Eradication" is about the murder of his friend Errol Scorcher by politically-motivated Jamaican eradication squads)..."
I'm really digging some of his first jams, from the early '80s this week...

Eek-A-Mouse: Noah's Ark
Greensleeves 12" GRED 42A

Wa Do Dem
Greensleeves 12" GRED 58A

Wild Like Tiger
Greensleeves 12" GRED 107A

Operation Eradication
Greensleeves 12" GRED 107B

Greensleeves 12" GRED 129A