Friday, 12 October 2018


11th October 2018

Preston Guild Hall

If you have ever (and lets face it, which of us has not) lain awake at night wondering where Ricky Gervais/David Brent appropriated Equality Street's "Biddly biddly biddly biddly biddly biddly bong yo" refrain from – then I am here for to tell you it was probably nicked from sing-jay Eek-a-Mouse.  For the Jamaican-born artist-formerly-known-as-Ripon Joseph Hylton has pretty much spent a career peddling such gobbledygook.

Although, unlike the Brentified rendition, which is deliberately cringe-inducing, I have always found Eek-a-Mouse's stuff to be rather enjoyable, his phrasing housing a pleasingly hypnotic groove all of his own.  I first encountered him (inevitably) on The John Peel Show back in the Eighties, and I am fairly sure I had a copy of the Wa-Do-Dem album back in the day.

I rather thought I would never see the chap live, particularly when I read recently that he had, in 2012, been extradited from Paraguay (of all places) to the USA to face charges of drug possession, rape and, most intriguingly, an “attempted crime against nature”.  

But here he was six years later undertaking a short tour of England and Wales (but not Scotland).  This Preston stop was as close as he ventured to Caledonia, but even then things had not gone smoothly.  For (as the poster above attests) this evening's gig had originally been planned to take place just over a week earlier – but had had to be re-scheduled due to “a delay in the performer obtaining a passport”

Preston Guild Hall.

After his excellent band warmed us all up with a lengthy instrumental tune, onto the stage ambled “The Mouse”, as he calls himself.  I say ambling, but it was more of a old man's shuffle - almost as if he was wearing diving boots.  I think there clearly are some mobility issues for the chap these days, although I should point out he is only 60 years old.

But his voice was in fine form, Bidi-bidi-bong-biongin it's way through seventy minutes or so of thoroughly danceable reggae.  The pace rarely lifted above Rock-steady walking pace and, in all honesty, many of the songs sounded (to my ears) remarkably similar to each other.  But the entertainment never flagged.

The Mouse's infrequent interaction with the hundred or so attendees was limited to, rather bafflingly, wishing us all a “Happy New Year, Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday” after a few of the songs, whilst introducing a couple with a decidedly rodeo-esque "Yee-Hah!".  Which makes me think one of the songs performed was Black Cowboy.

I am not sufficiently familiar with the Eek-a-Mouse repertoire to even contemplate cobbling together a set list, but I do know the main set closed with Wa-Do-Dem whilst, perhaps his best known tune, Ganja Smuggling arrived both midway through the show, and was repeated as the first encore.

Eek-a-Mouse - Preston 2018

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