My Top 1000 Songs #196: Southern Mark Smith

The Jazz Butcher, Southern Mark Smith
I first heard the Jazz Butcher's 1983 single "Southern Mark Smith" when it arrived at the college radio station as part of 1986's Bloody Nonsense compilation. And it was such a heartwarming trifle full of glorious absurdity that it's given me big smiles ever since. The song (and the rest of that ridiculously fun collection) served as my introduction to Pat Fish and his revolving cast, and I've loved the band right up through last year's final LP The Highest In The Land (following Fish's sad passing in 2021).

The song has two versions, but the must-have is that organ & xylophone-driven single (not the jangly, still charming 1984 "Big Return" album version). Because the opening "Thousands of people are queing in the rain to meet the Pope. Meet the Pope! Meet the Pope! Meet the Pope!," inexplicably dropped from the remake, is an essential part of a wholesome life.

Does that song make a lick of sense? No! Does it have anything at all to do with The Fall's Mark E. Smith? Not as far as I can tell! Does it guarantee a sense of joy and happiness? Abso-freakin'-lutely!

Compare and contrast... the album version:
Pat & company, live in 2018: