Eek-A-Mouse, born Ripton Joseph Hylton, is one of the early artists to be described as a “singjay”. His brilliant work with producer Scientist in the 1980s is nothing if not wholly original. He has a career spanning more than 30 years, and continues to tour the world, where is singjay style, unmistakeable voice, and on-stage charisma is unparalleled in the reggae genre.
Eek-A-Mouse begins his music career in college, releasing two roots reggae singles under his own name. Both tracks are produced by his mathematics tutor. These early works were influenced by the music of Pablo Moses. He is an instant smash amidst the booming sound system scene of the early 1980s.
He begins recording for Joe Gibbs in 1979, having a hit straight away with “Once a Virgin”, now showing the influence of Ranking Joe. This is soon followed with “Wa-Do-Dem” (produced by Douglas Boothe) and “Modelling Queen,” which begins an association with Linval Thompson who produces his debut Bubble Up Yu Hip album.
In 1981, he is the star of the Reggae Sunsplash Festival. His new association with producer “Junjo” Lawes results in a string of successful singles and albums, and in 1982 his hits include “Wild Like a Tiger”, “For Hire and Removal”, “Do You Remember”, and “Ganja Smuggling.” The same year he releases his second album, Wa Do Dem.
He signs with Island in 1989 and releases U-Neek, an album which hints at a more the rock-oriented style to appeal to a larger global audience. The album includes a cover version of Led Zeppelin’s “D’yer Mak’er.”
He continues to tour and is particularly popular among college students and festival-goers. He often appears on the albums of other artists due to his unmistakeable voice and singjay cadence because, quite simply, nobody can do what he does. Most recently, he appears on P.O.D.’s album Satellite, and on Damian Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock.
I must admit, I was stuck in Mouse’s mad world for a few years in the early 1990s. I was as devoted a fan as I could be. Although he is best known for his singjay anthems, he is capable of dropping heavy, heavy tracks. Checkit, two of my faves:
Included here is Eek-A-Mouse’s BBC Session that was originally broadcast on June 16, 1984. Recorded in Maida Vale Studio 5, the mouse rips up these 4 tracks for a tight little set. If you’ve never experienced Mouse live, you better sit down and strap in!
3. The Mouse And The Man
4. Triple Love
Eek A Mouse : Vocals
with Jah Mullah:
Noel Alphonso: Drums
Ronald Morris: Bass Guitar
Michael Ranglin: Keyboards
Ronald Butler: Lead Guitar
Cleon Douglas: Rhythm Guitar
Clifton Carnegie: Percussion
Produced by Dale Griffin
Engineer: Martin Colley