White Mice
White Mice
Intelitec / Basic Replay / Honest Jons - Indigo
October 6, 2006

Track list
  1. It's A Shame
  2. Try A Thing
  3. Youths Of Today
  4. Roots Music
  5. Youth Fighter
  6. Step By Step
  7. Tallawah
  8. Consciousness
  9. Mr. Bossman
  10. Love Mom & Dad
  11. School Days
  12. I Said No
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Born in 1970 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Allan Crichton a.k.a. White Mice is a graduate of three sound systems - Sugar Minott's Youthman Promotion, King Jammy's Hi Power, and his hometown Ticka Muzik. His first break came at Sun Splash in 1985, when he and Little Kirk were called on stage to perform with Tenor Saw. Recording at King Jammy's and Channel One studios, with Junior Delgado at the controls, over the next few years White Mice let off a series of records amongst the very deadliest of digital reggae - nearly all on his brother Blemo's Intelitec imprint, out of Miami (exceptionally, "Youths Of Today" was released first on Junior Delgado's Incredible Music label, Tallawah on the Buffalo label). With his very melodic delivery, reminiscent of a mixture of a young Yami Bolo - with whom together he was one of the protégés of Junior Delgado -, Little Kirk and even a hint of Courtney Melody, it's a strange twist of reggae history that his strong tunes over strong early digital riddims, that recall at times the vibes of the successful album "One Step More" producer Junior Delgado recorded for Augustus Pablo, have stayed in the can for so long. Luckily Basic Channel - the label of Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald a.k.a. Rhythm & Sound, about who more can be read in the article Rhythm & Sound...Jamaican hallucinations in stripped-down slowmotion - subsidiary Basic Replay has in cooperation with London's Honest Jon's Records released four of White Mice's best and best known 7"s first as vinyl only (in a 4x7" set as set), before releasing this absolutely smashing full length album and its dub companion "White Mice Versions". From the first bars of opening tune "It's A Shame" it's clear how fine these riddims and songs have stood the test of time, with some meaningful anti-violence sufferers lyrics on top to add to the excitement. This is followed by the beautiful digi-steppers song "Try A Thing" and the poignant cry the "Youths Of Today" will be the men of tomorrow. "Roots Music" is not only lyrically a tribute to roots music, the digital version of the Channel One sound is a musical tribute as well, before the heavily dubbed up "Youth Fighter" sketches the problems of Babylon not wanting the ghetto youths to get no further and 1987's phenomenal "Step By Step" i have to sing along, keep on singing till I sing a hitsong that with its continuous rolling bass line, out of tune piano chords and experimental drum pattern would still sound fresh if it were to appear on any avantgarde nu-dub or reggae album today. The great bubblers tune "Tallawah", originally released on the Buffalo, and re-released in 1991 on the Zorro-label crediting Little Mice, once more showcases the strength of both White Mice as a dancehall singer and the riddims backing him, before getting back to conscious (sic) lyrics on "Consciousness" followed by his very convincing plea to "Mr. Bossman" to let off sup'm and his heartfelt tribute to his parents "Love Mom & Dad". "School Days" is a great song about the joy of going to school and learning something over a wicked riddim that is an early version of the sound later championed by Gussie Clarke at his Music Works studio from 1988 on (think Gregory Isaacs' "Rumours"). The last tune of this album is the great love gone wrong tune "I Said No" with White Mice telling the girl who hurt him once before she won't get another chance. It's a pity (with just over 42 minutes of music on this disc) that some of his best efforts for other labels (could) not have been included, as it remains still impossible to hear his "No Competition" on the Crat label and his superb combination with Sluggy Ranks "Why Worry" over the seminal 'Drifter'-riddim on CD, but this is nevertheless an essential buy for anyone even remotely interested in early digital dancehall or singers like Yami Bolo, probably for anyone seriously interested in dancehall or reggae in general. Buy this, don't forget to purchase the strong "White Mice Versions" as well!