In the early days of jazz, the vibes were popularized by giants like Lionel Hampton and Milt Jackson and his Modern Jazz Quartet. When used here by the Jazz Butcher on their 1984 release A Scandal in Bohemia they are both ridiculous and absolutely brilliant. This record is probably my favorite album (you will hear me say that a lot) of the 1980s. It symbolizes and encapsulates all the fear, frustration and insecurity I felt in my 20s. Just like a Southern Mark Smith, I couldn’t relate to anyone, especially myself, trying to get along and compete during that time of extreme materialism and excess.
The music here is bright and uplifting and is set juxtaposed to Pat Fish’s lyrics which have a dark undertow of sarcastic cynicism for the world (particularly the United States) and the time. Songs like Betty Page seem as squeaky clean and wholesome as hot dripping wax as an aphrodisiac.
You have me as far as I can see, roped and trussed just like dear Betty Page.
Real Men from Hell has a queer macho spirt, yet the melody and vibes will have you humming right along.
The Butcher’s Scandal is a long lost hidden gem. It tastes delicious, goes down smooth and easy, and has a bit of a bite.
Caroline Wheeler’s birthday present is made up entirly from the skins of dead Jim Morrisons.