Andrew Petrie – instruments, production
Paul Hamilton – vocals, songs
Jazz Cattle was an experiment in contrasts – musically, philosophically, temperamentally. Although Petrie and Hamilton were opposed in many respects (Petrie was working for the right-wing capitalist organ ‘The Spectator’ whilst Hamilton was the films editor of leftist libertarian mag ‘The Idler’), they shared a few similar passions – Zappa, Godley & Creme, XTC – and lots of laughter, mainly in the unpicking of Rock’s Rich Tapestry.
After three albums of improvised songs with Bisonics and Doug Murphy, Hamilton wanted a change. Some of his compositions required actual arrangements and he approached Petrie – who had a reputation as sundry-instrumentalist of extreme ability – with the suggestion that they form a two-man band. With Petrie’s perfectionist sensibilities and Hamilton’s casual approach, they foresaw the results as ‘Steely Dan Meets Ian Dury’. They weren’t far off the mark.
The agreement was that Hamilton record demos of his songs – which he did, to the keyboard accompaniment of Jason Emberton, who had mixed various Smoking Ant releases – and then hand them over to Petrie who would play all the instruments and take total control of the production.
‘Relaxing At Gunpoint’ – such is Petrie’s ability to take on almost any musical style – almost sounds like a Various Artists compilation. There is the Dylan ’65 wild mercury sound on ‘You Came Round’, the XTC-cedelia of ‘Waves Of Words’, and Steely Dan are scammed royally on ‘British Empire State’. However, this isn’t merely a parade of Pop parodies. ‘Let Me Paint A Picture For You’, beneath its summery surface, is a unique song about the ambivalence of Art’s relationship with Commerce. And ‘Kolibri’ – voiced by Joseph Goebbels on the Night Of The Long Knives – is a chilling condemnation of humanity’s most vile instinct, blood lust.
The original demos bore such little resemblance to Andrew’s finished works that it was decided to have them pressed up as CDs. A copy of the ‘Kolibri’ demos CD will be given absolutely free to purchasers of ‘Relaxing At Gunpoint’.