• jazz butcher The Wasted Years (4 CD set, £31.95)

    label: fire

    With 20-page hardback book. Featuring ‘Bath Of Bacon’, ‘A Scandal In Bohemia’, ‘Sex And Travel’ and ‘Distressed Gentlefolk’. Remastered by Brian Pyle. "The Jazz Butcher was always something of a unique vehicle, a sort of musical dune buggy - it interweaves the influence of The Velvet Underground and Syd Barrett with the new wave energies of the day and leaves us all richer for looking in" - Pete Kember, Spacemen 3. The ‘Butcher’ delivered a gaggle of albums and many 45s for Glass from 1983 to 1986, the jacket notes on the dusty tome that recalls this period mentions Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased), Thatcher, DIY post-punk, LSD, surrealist cabaret, The Velvet Underground, a bottle of Cointreau or two, the Amstrad 7090 and Ronco’s ‘Black Magic’ compilation. All that led to the ‘The Wasted Years’: four albums, many visions… ‘Bath Of Bacon’ was an experiment in sound, conjoining that Ronco platter to Todd Rundgren, a guitar from Wes Montgomery’s cupboard and mentions of imaginary monsters set to some funky chops. “The sound of a few mates failing to take note that they’ve an LP to make!” claims the JB site. It’s pop meets bluesy scat with plenty of deadpan irony – a theme that will recur. ‘A Scandal In Bohemia’ took a “competent little rock band” with a bassist who’d served time in Bauhaus into a world chorused by multi-track vocals and bathroom ambience. “A top-shelf diamond of a record that is filled with excellent, memorable songs.” (All Music). ‘Sex And Travel’ offered a broadening perspective. Competence and European travel beget a narrative akin to an impressionistic cold war spy movie, a “mess of styles” that became coherent. “A great album,” muses All Music before comparing JB mainman Pat Fish to Ray Davies circa 1969. It’s an “accidental” concept album prone to fleeting melancholy. ‘Distressed Gentlefolk’, ahead of the original band’s demise through “fatigue and liquor” was the Butcher’s stab at making their “greatest album ever”. “A beautifully romantic record of soft rock ballads and jazzy torch songs,” enthused Trouser Press. There’s a folky edge scratching away beside the inevitable romp through pop music’s historical lineage. Four albums, then. The ‘80s recast at an ironic party of malcontents. Indie pop as a soundtrack. Songs that shouldn’t fit together – but do. ‘Wasted Years’? Yeah, really. Disc 1 – Bath Of Bacon 1. Gloop Jiving 2. Jazz Butcher Theme 3. Partytime 4. Bigfoot Motel 5. Sex Engine Thing 6. Chinatown 7. Zombie Love 8. Grey Flanellette 9. La Mer 10. Poisoned By Food 11. Love Kittens 12. Bath Of Bacon 13. Girls Who Keep Goldfish Disc 2 – A Scandal In Bohemia 1. Southern Mark Smith (Big Return) 2. Real Men 3. Soul Happy Hour 4. I Need Meat 5. Just Like Betty Page 6. Marnie (Muscovite Mix) 7. Caroline Wheeler's Birthday Present 8. Mind Like A Playgroup 9. Girlfriend 10. My Desert Disc 3 – Sex And Travel 1. Big Saturday 2. Holiday 3. Red Pets 4. Only A Rumour 5. President Reagan's Birthday Present 6. What's The Matter, Boy? 7. Walk With The Devil 8. Down The Drain Disc 4 – Distressed Gentlefolk 1. Falling In Love 2. Big Bad Thing 3. Still In The Kitchen 4. Hungarian Love Song 5. The New World 6. Who Loves You Now 7. Domestic Animal 8. Buffalo 9. Nothing Special 10. Angels


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