AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #158 : THE JAZZ BUTCHER

A GUEST POSTING by FRIEND OF RACHEL WORTH

The Jazz Butcher is some ways are ideal for an ICA. No wild variations in style and a catalogue of LPs all of which are a bit patchy. Actually getting to grips with their discography is one of the biggest challenges with various compilation lps and some tracks appearing on more than one album. Then there is the slight variations of name , sometimes Jazz Butcher Conspiracy , sometimes just Jazz Butcher and sometimes something else entirely.

The line up changes with the weather (same with record labels) with songwriter and singer Pat Fish being the only consistent factor. All in all they are a tough band to keep track of.

When they are good they are fantastic in a jangly guitar, smart lyrics way . However each LP also either has something that is head scratchingly awful at best and annoyingly novelty record like at worst.

1.  Next Move Sideways (from Fishcotheque)

Signed to Creation Records in one of Alan McGee’s punts this was my first exposure to the band. Bought on the basis of a review that compared them to Lloyd Cole and the Commotions , Pat has since complained that the LP came out sounding too smooth and tidy , which is probably why it is still my favourite . This gallops along in a way that allows you to forgive the 80s sax that suddenly appears.

2.  Harlan (from Condition Blue)

Into the 90s and more of a groove than a song. Features what is described as aquamarine guitar by Peter Astor from another jangly band The Weather Prophets. The song is typical Jazz Butcher material in that it is inspired by American short story writer Harlan Ellison.

3. Keeping the Curtains Closed (from Fiscotheque)

Another one from the 1988 LP that is still my favourite and by far their most consistent. This one where i do hear an echo of Lloyd Cole. I really like the guitar on this and always feel it is over a tad too soon.

4. Shame About You (from Last of the Gentlemen Adventurers)

More upto date from a recent crowd funded LP. Nothing overly special but zips along and always brings a smile to my face despite a sense of regret in the lyric.

5. City of Night (from Big Questions)

Change of direction and pace. Always found there was something slightly desperate (ride the tube with nothing much to say , stare at the people you can see right through) and seedy about this song (I’ve seen the handcuffs on your shelf , i would like to help , I’d like to help myself)

6. Human Jungle (from Big questions and countless compilations)

Starts with a Walk on the Wild side rip off and then morphs into a big pop song about an obscure 60s tv show staring Herbert Lom as a psychiatrist who sorted out complex cases in 60 mins. Certainly beats the ‘i love you , you love me’ focus of a lot of pop songs.

7. Southern Mark Smith (from A Scandal in Bohemia)

Probably if you know one song by the Jazz Butcher it will be this one. Pat Fish describes it as “The Albatross. A record, I feel, of its time. We were young(ish) and cocky and I think it shows. I still haven’t learned to sing on this one, which bugs me too. Still, it was cheap and cheerful, and it helped us to meet an awful lot of people”

8. Get it Wrong (from Fiscotheque)

Back to the gentle jangle of 1988. Pat’s paean to adultery. This is here more for the lyric than the annoying 80s sax.

I keep getting letters about divorces.
Just like cowboys changing horses, people use each other up and leave.
One mistake and it all turns bitchy,
listening to records by Lionel Ritchie.
I’m not sure if he deserves it or even if they do.
Jealousy is just messed up pride, it only twists you up inside.
We don’t feel it, we don’t need it

9. When Eno Sings (from Illuminate)

Following Pat’s belief that “fan songs are cool” Jazz Butcher have a lot of fan songs

And dome-heads everywhere
can throw their hats into the air
when Eno sings

The “Eno male choir like” backing vocals are spot on as well

10. Mercy (from Last of the Gentlemen Adventurers)

I think LPs should finish on a slow song so here you go

Bonus Ep : The Slightly Irritating Hat Trick

The Jazz Butcher songs are laced with humour which can make you smile but then can stick around as slightly annoying interludes – here are 3 of them and 3 more fan songs

Olaf Palme

Peter Lorre

Just Like Betty Page

Friend of Rachel Worth

LAZING IN LANZAROTE WEEK : STUFF FROM THE OLD PLACE : TUESDAY

blogphotos 001

STEP BACK IN TIME  (First posted in April 2007)

From L-R : Andy Rourke, Morrissey, JC and Johnny Marr.

If only………..

It’s actually the cover of a quite brilliant birthday present given to me back in 1993 by Jacques the Kipper.

At the time in our lives, we were in the habit of exchanging C90s around every two months, made up of stuff that we thought the other would like, or old things that we were listening to again after a period of time.

Mostly, it would involve handing over a tape with nothing written on it, and an A4 sheet of paper that contained cryptic clues (e.g. – Vodka was the single word for Smells Like Teen Spirit which JtK shoved on a tape a good two months before it went massive).

But for the momentous occasion of my 30th birthday, and to mark the day when I felt I was officially old, my mucker got me honorary membership of my favourite band and typed out the full track listing without testing my knowledge:-

Reggae Kray Do You Know My Name side

1. Candy Everybody Wants – 10,000 Maniacs
2. Godstar – Psychic TV
3. Pleasantly Surprised – The Soup Dragons
4. Half Of Everything – Lloyd Cole
5. Dollar Bill – Screaming Trees
6. Wish You Were Here – Darlingheart
7. Message In The Box – World Party
8. Jonathan, Jonathan – The Rockingbirds
9. Fire Away – James
10. Doomed – Julian Cope
11. Summer Fun In A Beat-Up Datsun – Cornershop
12. Grey Cortina – Tom Robinson Band

That Toke Isn’t Funny Anymore side

1. Subterranean Homesick Blues – Little Big Band
2. The Mating Game – The Monochrome Set
3. Southern Mark Smith – The Jazz Butcher
4. Circle Line – Rodney Allen
5. You’ve Got Me Thinking – The Beloved
6. For What It’s Worth – Oui 3
7. People Everyday – Arrested Development
8. Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) – Digible Planets
9. Call It What You Want – Credit To The Nation
10. Who Do You Think You Are? – Saint Etienne
11. Birthday (Tommy D mix) – Sugarcubes

The thing that I’ve just realised is that at the time, I was making a serious attempt to pass my driving test (unsuccessfully), and JtK has thrown in a couple of motor-related bits of fun at the end of the first side.

I probably listened to this tape right through on a daily basis for the best part of a month – it was in the days when I was commuting daily from Glasgow to Edinburgh with only a Sony Walkman to keep my sanity, and there were only so many tapes you could keep in your suit pockets.

As with the mp3s that I download nowadays, I took the view that if I really liked a song on a JtK tape, then I’d go out and buy it, and I reckon I’ve probably got 14 out of these 23 tracks on CD or vinyl. But of the 5,000 or so songs that I’ve now got on the i-pod, I reckon there’s only three of these, and none of them are on any favourite especially made playlists.

I suppose the point I’m trying to clumsily make is that back in 1993, I listened to these songs a helluva lot, but nowadays they hardly feature – although I still like just about everything on the tape. As such, I’m equally certain that much of the new stuff I’ve been buying in recent weeks will hardly be listened to in 2020 (assuming I last that long).

But I do hope that somehow, by the time I’m approaching my 60th birthday in 2023, I’ll still be a regular in music stores such as Avalanche and Fopp, buying what’s fresh, lively and new, having heard it first on whatever it is that has replaced music blogs…..

And now, for your amusement, here’s some of the stuff I was listening to in June 1993:-

mp3 : Psychic TV – Godstar
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Jonathan, Jonathan
mp3 : The Jazz Butcher – Southern Mark Smith
mp3 : Arrested Development – People Everyday

It hasn’t always been jingly-jangly pop my whole life you know……(but then I sort of gave that away with yesterday’s blast from the past)