Thursday, November 19, 2009

Who Moved My Cheese?!

Mouse & The Traps
The Fraternity Years
Ripped @ 192
Biography by Richie Unterberger

This Tyler, TX, group from the mid-'60s is most known for their uncanny imitation of Highway 61-era Dylan, "A Public Execution." Featured on the Nuggets compilation, it is to Dylan what the Knickerbockers' "Lies" is to the Beatles: one of the few rip-offs so utterly accurate that it could easily fool listeners into mistaking it for the original article. Spearheaded by singer/songwriter Ronnie Weiss, the group actually recorded quite a few decent singles between 1965 and 1969 without approaching any sort of national recognition. "Mouse" never got as explicitly Dylanesque again, but there's no doubt that Weiss often recalled a non-atonal Dylan with his nasal delivery, and several of their singles were a much more melodic, pop-oriented extension of Dylan's mid-'60s sound. Recording almost exclusively original material, they were one of the better regional groups of the time, and also waxed some capable Texas punk-psychedelia and good-time pop/rockers.
Review by Richie Unterberger

Fraternity Years is the first Mouse & the Traps compilation of a truly official nature, taken right from the master tapes. The 25 tracks do miss a few of their least essential cuts, like the awful country novelty "Would You Believe," their mediocre final single for Bell, and the "Psychotic Reaction" single they recorded under the pseudonym of Positively 13 O'Clock. But everything else is here, with the neat bonuses of a 1967 single credited to another pseudonym (Chris St. John) and seven interesting, previously unreleased sides, including the moving folk-rock-protest number "Nobody Cares" and a you-gotta-hear-it-to-believe-it cover of "You Are My Sunshine" (set to the arrangement of James Brown's "I Got You"!). The lengthy liner notes present the best history of the group ever written, capping an excellent reissue of a fine band who were probably too chameleon-like to find their niche in the national market.


  1 A Public Execution 
  2 Maid of Sugar, Maid of Spice 
  3 Nobody Cares 
  4 Cryin' Inside  
  5 I'm a Man  
  6 Lie, Beg, Borrow and Steal 
  7 I've Got Her Love 
  8 I Am the One 
  9 Like I Know You Do 
  10 Sometimes You Just Can't Win 
  11 All for You 
  12 Do the Best You Can 
  13 Look at the Sun  
  14 You Don't Love Me (You Don't Care) 
  15 Promises, Promises 
  16 I Satisfy  
  17 Requiem for Sarah 
  18 L.O.V.E. Love 
  19 Ya Ya  
  20 Good Times 
  21 Hand in Hand 
  22 You Are My Sunshine 
  23 I Wonder Where the Birds Fly 
  24 Mohair Sam 
  25 As Far as the Sea

Get it HERE