The Jazz Butcher
The Jazz Butcher Press ALBUM OF THE MONTH - January 21, 2022
Published: The Manc Review (Manchester, UK) January 21, 2022 Credit: ;; Source:
Album Review: Highest in the Land Item added: 2023-09-12

by The Jazz Butcher

For anyone who isn’t aware or is aware of the late Pat Fish’s back catalogue of work, “The Highest In The Land” is an album which is testament to his talent, charm, spirit and wit. Collaborated with Dave Morgan (The Weather Prophets), the album is a cool breeze of neo-jazz, swing, post-punk, new-wave, neo-psych, neo-blues and alt-rock all meticulously crafted to create a distinctive, sophisticated and foot-tapping album. It’s an album that revisits the classic roots of jazz in an underground of smoky strings, beatnik brass and breezy beats added with a cocktail of jangly reverberation.

Listening to the album is like taking a long road-trip through the avenues of life, reflecting at the crossroads and looking back with warm nostalgia. It’s a melancholic map of love, politics and philosophical musings that is lit up by the sun-drenched spirituality. Along with the earnest lyrics, the album touches the heart and empathises with the soul. It’s through the sheer quality of the songs presented that the album stands out as a timeless work of art, that enjoys the joviality, the low-fi leanings, with a few belly-laughs along the way. It’s through the on-set chemistry of the band, that the album effortlessly flows, creating a spontaneous stream of subtle musical mutations.

Melanie Hargreaves’ Father’s Jaguar, swings into action in a breeze of farfisa fog and tepid taps. It’s a cool-cat excursion to neo-jazz, in a sprightly sing-along of warm nostalgia and soul yearnings. Along with the hazy horns and free-styling flickers, Melanie Hargreaves’ Father’s Jaguar ascends from the vaults of New Orleans, whilst intermixed with a backdrop of urban post-punk. It’s a great opening track, which sets the tone for the rest of this splendid album.

Through the spacey-synths and drones, Time captures the existentialistic essence of the track, whilst floating towards the fifth dimension of New-wave. Through the bobbing bass, sophisti-pop jangles, Time travels towards the funked-up realms of Post-punk, whilst creating a backdrop of urban spoken-word.

Through the up-beat drums and jangly riffs, Sea Madness dives into the pools of neo-folk, whilst soaking up the sentiments of the track. Through the elongated vocals and poetic lyrics, Sea Madness floats wistfully aside the farfisa fog, whilst heading towards a neo-psych shore.

Never Give Up swirls and whirls in a repetition of lovelorn lyrics, aside the neo-psych vapour. It’s pensive poetry steeped in dark romanticism and whose ballad-esque reverberation resonates in the shadows of alt-country/blues.

A Coast May 1963 resides in the 60s lounge of bossa-nova jazz, that surfs aside the choppy strums of Spanish shores. It’s an instrumental gem, that farfisa flows towards the baroque-rocks of neo-psychedelia. Along with the cascading sweeps of Orchestral pop, A Coast May 1963 remains in the time-capsule of a golden age.

Running on Fumes pulsates with upbeat drums on the mountain tops of alt-country, beneath the farfisa fog of neo-psychedelica. It’s a fast-moving track, whose thought-provoking lyrics and catchy chorus, head-spins you into a contemplative corner of neo-blues.

The Highest In The Land side-saddles like a cosmic cowboy across an alt-blues highway. It’s a captivating track, whose intriguing lyrics transcend a spiritual awakening in the realms of spoken-word and punk-poetry. Along with the flicker riffs and dusky drones, The Highest In The Land peers from celestial heights, whilst taking a trip to the psychedelic rock era of yesteryear.

Sebastian Medication is a breezy and combatant track that saunters and shouts from its political soapbox. Lyrically astute, Sebastian Medication flies the post-punk flag, whilst reflecting from its beacon of fuzzy, jangly light. It’s an inflamed catharsis, a champion of the underdog, a wilful stance in an age of uncertainty.

Goodnight Sweetheart is a poignant slow-burner, that quivers and vibrates from every iota of emotion. It’s a track that is steeped in melancholy and whose crestfallen lyrics pull from its neo-blues/psych heart-strings, and lingers in the shadows of time and space.

Listening to the Jazz Butcher’s album ” The Highest In The Land ” is a bittersweet experience. On one hand it’s a sensory pleasure, a real joy to listen to and then on the other hand, it’s so sad to know that this is a posthumous album. For anyone who knew Pat, they all said the same thing – that he was a lovely, intelligent, funny, charismatic and talented person who was taken too soon. However, on a positive note, this album is a celebration of Pat’s life and the music that brought so many people happiness. May his legacy live on.

“The Highest In The Land” is dedicated to Patrick Guy Sibley Huntrods AKA Pat Fish – The Jazz Butcher (20th December 1957 – 5th October 2021)


Pat Fish- Vocals/Guitar

Tim Harries on bass

Dave Morgan on drums

(Additional guitars by Joe Woolley, Peter Crouch and Max Eider. Album produced by Lee Russell.)

“The Highest In The Land’ is released on 5th February 2022 Tapete Recores

The Highest in the Land
It's not often that an artist gets to do a Bowie by consciously carving their personal epitaph into the grooves of their final LP. The Highest in the Land is that rarity of an album, and it could not have been made by a more brilliantly poetic and fearlessly sarcastic writer than Pat Fish, also known as The Jazz Butcher.
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Tapete Records CD/LP/digital