The Jazz Butcher: Keeping the Curtains Closed
Filled though they are with wonderful material, the Glass-era Jazz Butcher albums never had a strong sense of shape. Part of the problem was the band’s musical eclecticism. Yes, the right songs were chosen as closers, though I’ve never been fond of ‘My Desert’ from A Scandal in Bohemia; in the case of Sex and Travel, ‘Walk with the Devil’ is the real closer, and ‘Down the Drain’ a brief, bitter coda. ‘Angels’ is a great last track to end Distressed Gentlefolk, but doesn’t bring the album together; no song could achieve that.
With the Creation era, the albums began to be coherent entities rather than stockpiles of brilliant songs, and when it comes to perfect closers, I’m spoilt for choice. ‘The Good Ones’ (especially as a song that follows ‘Bad Dream Lover’), from Big Planet Scarey Plants? ‘Sister Death’ from Cult of the Basement? ‘Racheland’ from Condition Blue? the American record company resequenced the album so it ended with ‘Still and All’, a decision that makes no sense and indicates how careful Pat had become about such matters. But this one sets the standard:
The lyrics pick up ‘Next Move Sideways’ and the state of the nation as gauged by roads, cars, and public transport, but now presented in the third person. Musically the clean guitar sounds and the delay on the lead guitar line keep it sounding spacious; the simple melodic bassline in the intro and play-out gives it a kind of optimism despite itself.
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