Category: The Jazz Butcher

The Jazz Butcher: Big Scary Planet

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Creation 1989.  CRELP049

Discogs

Yet another vinyl rip today from my bottomless pit of late 80s Creation stuff.  I don’t feel terribly competent to write about this; Pat Fish, aka The Jazz Butcher has been releasing music since 1982, and I’m only familiar with some of his output on Creation.  To make matters worse I never really took to this album when I bought it (unlike Spooky which I played incessantly) .  That was the reason I took the trouble to do a rip of it – why had I neglected it?  It turns out that there was no good reason.  This is a fine album and one which should have been a regular visitor to my turntable.  I guess I must have bought other stuff at the same time which I found more exciting.

So what’s it like?  In many ways it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Creation album of the time.  It’s classy indiepop with clever lyrics.  It’s very well played and produced, it’s full of good tunes (especially The Word I Was Looking For).  What’s not to like?

Various Artists: Pensioners On Ecstasy

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Creation 1990.  CRELP 082

Discogs

Creation were in the habit of putting out endless badly compiled and pointless compilations whenever their bank balance was a bit low, which with Kevin Shields’ studio bills to pay, it often was.  This one is certainly badly compiled and some of the tracks are awful, but it isn’t pointless because there are some rare gems amongst the garbage.

First up is The House Of Love with a sublime live acoustic version of Shine On recorded live, apparently during one of Guy Chadwick’s meltdowns.  It was originally on a flexi given away at gigs, and Creation, being hopelessly disorganised had lost the tape, so this was mastered from a rather damaged flexi.  It sounds surprisingly listenable given the source and it’s well worth downloading the album for this track alone.

Next is a My Bloody Valentine rarity – an instrumental taken from a 7″ single given away free with the first few copies of Isn’t Anything.  It’s unlike anything else they recorded, in that it uses a drum loop – in fact the same drum loop Madonna later used on Justify My Love, and works really well.  It’s doubly welcome here because it sounds much better than the original 7″, although it has more recently been included as an extra track on the re-issue of Isn’t Anything.  The same comment applies to the excellent Momus track (I’ve posted a rip of the terrible sounding original 7″ already – this pressing is much better).

The rest are dodgy album out-takes and rejected singles.  Mostly it’s not hard to see why they were rejected, although if there are any bands here you particularly like, they’re worth having.  The Jazz Butcher track is rather good, but this Peel session version is inferior to the officially released one which I’ll post at some point.  Of interest is the Nikki Sudden track which was recorded with Peter Buck of REM – and anyway you can never have too much Nikki Sudden.

The Jazz Butcher: Spooky

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Creation Records 1988.  CRE059T

Discogs

This is the latest installment of what seems to be an inexhaustible supply of Creation stuff.  I’ve always been rather fond of this single and the couple of Creation albums I have by the band, but I hadn’t realised that they’ve been around for 30 odd years, are still active, and have a pretty impressive back catalogue.

This single is a slick blend of jazz and pop; not really typical of Creation at all, and the extended version of the title track manages not to sound too stretched.  Even the JFK assassination samples manage to sound good – I guess they weren’t such a cliché back then.

The Jazz Butcher is, in effect Pat Fish with an oft changing cast of supporting musicians.  On the strength of this single and the way he looks I’d got him filed away in my mind under “cool dude” so I was quite surprised when I saw him play last year in a tiny cafe supporting Micky Greaney.  It was just an acoustic set, but he seemed rather a tragic figure – not a great performance and seemed like a guy who had spent way too long on the road.  I guess after all that time it’s hard to do anything else.  Perhaps I judged him a bit harshly – according to his web site he released a new album last year for which the funding was crowd sourced – clearly he still has a following.

Whatever the merits of his current work, this is a fine single, and I’ll probably get round to posting more from him another time.