£24.99 – 1xLP
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.
‘My hair’s all wrong / My time ain’t long / Fishy go to Heaven, get along, get along,’ he sings, to a ticking-clock beat in ‘Time’, rhyming its title with ‘a one-way ticket to a pit of Council lime’ in just one of many existentially charged moments on a record whose songs were written throughout the last seven years of Fish’s life before his untimely passing in October 2021, aged only 63. ‘Self-knowledge, urgency,’ he wrote as a comment to this song in his private notes to the album’s producer Lee Russell, ‘He’d been around the block. and knew he was on the last lap.”We had closure,” Russell remembers, “We had worked together for three months, and then on the last day I drove him home. And for the first time we hugged and said goodbye, and that was it.’
Recent years have seen a long overdue re-appreciation of The Jazz Butcher catalogue, all the way back to that astonishing 11-album run of the first 13 years of their career, now celebrated and handily compiled in a series of box-sets after decades of shameful neglect.
- Melanie Hargreaves’ father’s jaguar
- Sea madness
- Never give up
- Amalfi Coast May 1963
- Running on fumes
- The highest in the land
- Sebastian’s medication
- Goodnight sweetheart