Mouse & the Traps are known principally for their “Nuggets” classic ‘A Public Execution’, a Dylan cop so brazenly authentic it even had the hallowed bard’s promo men fooled. Based in the city of Tyler, Texas and evolving from a group of pickers who populated Robin Hood Brians’ recording studio, Mouse (Ronnie Weiss) and his band ruled the region in the latter half of the 60s.
The Traps made a name for themselves not only with some incendiary performances but several regional hits, with ‘Execution’ making the national charts in 1966. Signed to the venerable Cincinnati indie Fraternity, for whom they were to cut a dozen singles, for years there were rumours amongst collectors that a Mouse & the Traps LP existed on the label. There never was, but now Big Beat has decided to condense the contents of their well-received Mouse & the Traps CD anthology “The Fraternity Years” into one all-killer vinyl edition.
It’s the kind of power-packed set fans would have hoped for back in the day, as the record showcases the band’s two very different but nevertheless compatible sides. On stage they were known for a tight and rocking showmanship, yet in the studio they expertly crafted folk-rock and pop gems with a deft production touch from Brians that oozed commercial appeal.
Each single release coupled speaker-shredders such as ‘Maid Of Sugar’ and ‘Lie, Beg, Borrow And Steal’, with radio-friendly items such as ‘Like I Know You Do’, ‘Cryin’ Inside’ and an almost-but-not-quite smash in ‘Sometimes You Just Can’t Win’ (as a bonus, it is featured here in a rare and previously unissued incarnation from late 1966, before being sweetened for eventual release).
Now, the best of the band’s recorded output has been newly remastered for wax. With such a precise distillation of their recorded legacy, the world can once again marvel at the quality and consistency that seemed to come naturally to Mouse & the Traps. “The Fraternity Years” LP is a fitting tribute to these fine musicians.
By Alec Palao