The Jazz Butcher: Big Saturday
More perfect pop, but of a different kind from ‘Rain’, ‘Big Saturday’ comes from the Jazz Butcher’s 1985 album, Sex and Travel.
I love how it builds from the delicate guitar melody, and how that’s suggestive of spring; love how the drummer (Owen Jones) initially holds back, only playing snare on the fourth beat in each bar, so there’s a kind of acceleration when he starts playing on the second beat as well; and love Max Eider’s embellishments and his Spanish-flavoured solo. The lyrics are perfect too: it’s a simple celebration of the beginnings of a relationship, but, with lines like ‘it doesn’t mean I’d die for you’, Pat prevents it from becoming too slushy. And as well as checking his affection in that regard, there’s also ‘We went through Saturday / And not everybody did that.’ Who were these people who didn’t go through Saturday? Lovers who split up? People who died? This is a song that starts by telling us that the weather’s grim, and for all that it’s celebratory, it’s also aware of what lies beyond and outside.
In this live version, from 1989, some of the delicacy goes, and there are significant changes to the vocal melody. The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy line-up at that date was great, but they don’t aim to create the feel of the studio version and they don’t put anything in its place:
And here’s a later live version, from 2013, just Pat and Max, which is closer in spirit to the studio version