Mouse

Mouse was an English hard-rock/psych band that released the album Lady Killer on Sovereign in 1973. This was the second of three one-off rock combos during a four-year period for jazz guitarist Ray Russell, who preceded Mouse with Running Man in 1972 and followed with Chopyn in 1975.

Members: Alan “Al” Clare (lead vocals, keyboards), Ray Russell [aka Raymond “Ray” Russell (vocals, guitar), Jeff Watts (bass), Al Rushton (drums)


Background

Mouse appeared when guitarist Ray Russell and drummer Al Rushton teamed with singer Alan Clare and ex-Steel Mill bassist Jeff Watts.

The musical partnership of Russell and Rushton started in the late 1960s when Al drummed on two CBS albums by the Ray Russell Quartet (which also included double-bassist Dave Holland). The pair then teamed with reedist Bob Downes, trumpeter Harry Beckett, and singers Alex Harvey and Alan Greed in Rock Workshop, a brass-rock big band that released two CBS albums in 1970/71. Russell, Rushton, and Greed subsequently cut an album on RCA/Neon as The Running Man.

Mouse signed to Sovereign, a short-lived progressive subsidiary of EMI that also handled Flash, Renaissance, and Public Foot the Roman.


Lady Killer

In 1973, Mouse released Lady Killer on Sovereign (UK only). It features the Rushton–Watts composition “Electric Lady” and eight group-written originals, including “Going Out Tonight,” “We Can Make It,” and “Asher Besher.” Russell conducted the London Symphony Orchestra on select parts.

The album’s one cover, “All the Fallen Teen-Angels” (originally by Medicine Head), appeared as a single (b/w “Just Came Back”). They also lifted “We Can Make It” (b/w “It’s Happening to Me and You”).

Lady Killer was co-produced between Mouse and John Acock, who later produced albums by Steve Hackett (Voyage of the Acolyte, Please Don’t Touch, Defector, Highly Strung), Renaissance (Camera Camera, Time-Line), the Berlin Blondes (Berlin Blondes), and Flame Dream.

Artist Glenn Pierce illustrated the cover: a comic-style depiction of a smoking femme fatale from a 1940s pulp novel. The gatefold inner-spread depicts the four members as hippie/buddha/spaceship/column hybrids. On the back cover, photos of each member surround swashbuckling liner notes that tie into the pulp theme:

“Al Clare sang at night and made skeleton keys by day… Russell could crack any combination of notes at five miles, and hear a key turn like a pack of dice.”


Later Activity

Rushton also played on Russell’s 1973 solo album Secret Asylum, an improvisational set with Beckett and reedist Gary Windo.

Russell next surfaced in Chopyn with keyboardist/singer Ann Odell and teenage drummer Simon Phillips. Their one album, Grand Slam, appeared on Jet in 1975. Retaining Phillips, Russell issued the jazz-rock solo album Ready or Not on DJM in 1977. During the 1980s, he issued numerous stage and screen recordings on the library labels Bruton and JW Music.

Watts played on the 1976 self-titled fifth album by pop-rockers Design.

Lady Killer got its first reissue in 2005 on Angel Air Records (UK) and Air Mail Archive (Japan), both with four bonus tracks: “Lost In the City,” “Timothy Leary’s Ride Home,” “Jamie,” and “Hit & Run,” all composed by Russell.


Discography:

  • Lady Killer (1973)

Sources:

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