The Jazz Butcher
The Jazz Butcher Press New Music - February 04, 2022
Published: Ghettoblaster February 04, 2022 Credit: ;; Source:
Album Review: Highest in the Land Item added: 2023-09-12

New Music
Friday Rollout
The Jazz Butcher

After 13 proper albums, 3 EPs, 3 Live albums, and 13 compilation releases, the group’s 14th, and posthumous release after the death of Pat Fish, The Highest In The Land (Tapete Records), closes the history of The Jazz Butcher’s extensive 40-year career. What was with the final opus for the group, leaves a remarkable collection of songs filled with jangly pop numbers, hints of jazzy swing & blues, monosyllabic deliveries, and odd bouncy & see-sawing jaunts, not always at the same time. There’s a great deal of beauty strewn across the release, but it’s the sprawling “Sea Madness,” with horns gently fitted within, and jangly guitars that’s inviting with Pat Fish’s soft voice caressing through these calm waters. It’s easy to fall in love with how masterfully soothing the track is. It’s moments like this, and on “Never Give Up” that are able to cover listeners in a blanket of delightfulness around airy guitars, slides, and delicateness.

The Jazz Butcher is obviously far from being a one-trick pony though, and “Melanie Hargraeves’ Father’s Jaguar” can attest. Here the band takes Squirrel Nut Zippers-like movements while still remaining as Butchery as it ever was. The canned horns, gypsy jazz chords, and backing vocals allow for its 1930’s era moment while keeping a firm footing in the present. The lament of “Goodnight Sweetheart” is something that’s easily felt here with Pat Fish’s soft delivery offering his final fare thee well moment. The soft brush-on-drum is appealing, fitting its theme. It is drenched in melancholia and the emotions are felt with his words.

Music lost a great artist in Pat Fish and while The Highest In The Land marks the band’s finality, we can always refer back to a stunning catalog of music that will live throughout time itself.

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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[The Highest in the Land cover thumbnail]
Tapete Records CD/LP/digital