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The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy : Mailing List : 1997

Re: new trouser press

From: John Dylan Cooper <>
Date: Wed 19 Feb 1997 - 22:59:49 PST

On 2/19/97, mainline wrote:

> Pat is among the artists to get updates in the new edition
> of the Trouser Press Record Guide.
> I can transcribe if anyone is interested...

I'll do it.

Though you wouldn't expect it from his ever-fluctuating lineup of merry
sidemen (alternately and seemingly randomly known as the Jazz Butcher, the
Jazz Butcher Conspiracy and the Jazz Butcher and his Sikkorskis From Hell),
Oxford philosophy graduate Pat Fish has consistently recorded some of the
cleverest genre-bouncing pop of the past fifteen years. It doesn't hurt
that he leavens intelligent, smart-alecky lyrics and wickedly parodic songs
with a rapturously effective heart--a condition he continues to mine well
into the '90s.
CONDITION BLUE announces his inspired lyrical lunacy immediately on the
opening raveup, "She's a Yo-Yo." The downtrodden "Honey" is not the Bobby
Goldsboro tune, but could be--if Goldsboro nodded out over pints of bitter
at a wood-paneled pub. And the disc's standout, the upbeat "Shirley
MacLaine" (as in "I've had a thing about Shirley MacLaine since I was so
high"), is emblematic of all the things great about the Jazz Butcher.
(WESTERN FAMILY is a CONDITION BLUE-heavy live album recorded at North
American dates.)
Over the course of WAITING FOR THE LOVE BUS' fifteen tracks (thirteen in
the UK), Fish runs through everything from captivating love songs
("Whaddya?") to muscular rockers ("Bakersfield") to torchy ballads
("Baltic") to hypnotic whimsy ("Penguins"). This is Fish at his most
seductive and romantic, and it makes for his greatest achievement. Appended
to the American edition, two imaginative covers--a reverb-coated
"Everybody's Talking" and "Do You Wanna Dance?" (which sounds like very
early Human League fooling with a music box)--add a sense of inspiration to
this outlandish original. In all, the perfect Jazz Butcher recording, one
that would be hard to top for sheer entertainment value.
ILLUMINATE, subtitled "The Difficult Tenth" (but really, who's counting?)
doesn't quite reach those heights, but it's a perfectly welcome addition to
the inventory. With songs jokingly calling for the privatization of
everything, praising Brian Eno's vocal prowess and criticizing a woman's
"Joan Collins boots," the record boasts some of Fish's sharpest witticisms.
Production by recurrent co-conspirator (and Love and Rockets bassist) David
J is perhaps a bit too airy, often letting the songs meander, but even an
average cut of Butcher beats the prime of lesser mortals.
- Doug Brod
[Doug Brod is a senior editor at _Entertainment Weekly_ and works on the
Manhattan Cable TV show _Beyond Vaudeville_.]
I don't think he quite got "Sixteen Years," but who really cares?
John Dylan Cooper
	waiting for the Tolstoyota
Received on Wed Feb 19 22:59:49 1997
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