3914. “Buffalo Shame” by The Jazz Butcher

Listen to the song at (Oh my God YES! YES! YES!) MySpace.

While I mostly know the band by the name The Jazz Butcher they seem to call themselves The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy. They’re also sometimes called The Jazz Butcher and His Sikkorskis From Hell. Whatever the name, the band primarily served as a vehicle for prolific British songwriter Pat Fish. His lyrics are sometimes dark, sometimes humorous, often both.

“Buffalo Shame” is featured on their 1986 album Distressed Gentlefolk. The song is lament for the mass slaughter of the buffalo by Americans moving west at the turn of the century. The lyrics are presented from the point of view of a buffalo who is angry and saddened by the brutal turn of events he and his fellow buffalo are facing.

There are probably whole thesis written on the theme of how Americans were trigger happy during our westward expansion. Heck, we’re still pretty trigger happy as a nation now. “Buffalo Shame” can be read a critique both of the slaughter of the buffalo but also as a comment on the fact that the men who killed the buffalo were, perhaps in their own way, bigger and dumber lunks than the buffalo were.

I first encountered this song as a dj on WRBC and it took me a number of years to track this song down. In fact, I couldn’t find it until iTunes added the Jazz Butcher’s catalog a few years back.


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