Eek-A-Mouse

Mouse-A-Mania

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The younger generation of hardcore fans may grind their teeth, but unfortunately market considerations rule, and Eek-A-Mouse admirers should really be grateful that the RAS label continues to make much of his back catalog available. And so, even though it wasn't economically viable to keep both the Assassinator and King & I albums on the shelves, most of the sets are found here in one convenient set. The two were very different albums. Assassinator was a thoroughly Jamaican album, overseen by Anthony and Ronald Welch and backed by the Roots Radics; King & I took the Mouse to London, where producer Cliff Carnegie nudged him toward a more crossover sound. However, the arrangement and production vagaries are less pronounced than the tone of the two sets. Assassinator was a decidedly downbeat affair, a melancholy survey of society, heavy with cultural numbers; in contrast, King was brighter and boasted a clutch of love songs. Mouse-A-Mania emphasizes these divisions, yet by intermixing the tracks creates an arguably more satisfying whole than its independent parts. Thus, RAS gives listeners the complete Mouse, encompassing the silly, the serious, the lover man, the party rat, and the personal. The cultural numbers are particularly strong, with "Gun Shot a Cry" and "Assassinator" of special note among a string of excellent numbers, but who could imagine the soulful depths of emotion hidden in the rodent's heart, now laid bare on "De Di Doo" and "Now I Know"? Equally extraordinary is "Penni-Walli," an inspired and inspiring number where Mouse meets motorcycle, while party pieces like "Mi Brethren Roach" and "I Like Them All" come close to the high watermark of Eek's classic "Wa-Do-Dem." Mouse fever needs a cure and Mouse-A-Mania provides the perfect antidote.

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