The Jazz Butcher – Dr. Cholmondley Repents review

Neil Taylor’s book ‘C-86 And All That – The Creation of Indie In Difficult Times’ may lack the expansive prose style of Simon Reynolds post punk bible ‘Rip It Up & Start Again’, but it’s an encyclopedic enough cataloguing of an early 80’s scene in part built by Alan McGee and then presented to an unsuspecting world on the (Now) iconic sampler.

Pat Fish began The Jazz Butcher as a bedroom project in Northampton before the release of it’s 1983 debut album In A Bath Of Bacon. He/it rapidly became a fixture in what was known then as the Indie chart (one based on sales from non-chain record shops), but surprisingly didn’t make the famous compilation’s running order, unlike a number of the artists featured in Taylor’s doorstep-sized work.

This was an era in which the chances of commercial success whilst on a shoestring label were negligible, one of the few crossovers being The Wedding Present’s George Best which sold a previusly unfathomable 60,000 copies. Undaunted, throughout the band’s first decade Fish working alongside Max Eider released a stream of singles, albums and EP’s, a body of work diligently collected here across four CD’s.

Dr. Cholmondley Repents is a wildly eclectic journey, reflecting both the lack of boundaries in not having to worry about hits and equally a go-anywhere mind that wouldn’t think twice about covering Jonathan Richman’s Roadrunner (Great) and Bonnie Tyler’s Lost In France (Less so). Fish’s untimely death at the end of 2021 meant the loss of a maverick with a unique talent, a spirit encapsulated perfectly on the dozen tracks here recorded for a 1989 session on American radio station KCRW.

You can read a full review here.