Published on June 7th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Jimmy Davis & Junction: Kick the Wall (Deluxe Edition) (MelodicRock)
Originally released in 1987, Kick the Wall was the debut album from Memphis-based melodic rockers Jimmy Davis & Junction, who scored a Top 40 hit with the title track but never quite got the support and audience they needed to make it big. Davis and his bandmates had a sound that was perfect for radio at the time, bringing in elements of rock, pop, and heartland AOR.
It’s hard to pin down Jimmy Davis & Junction’s sound. There are definitely comparisons to artists like Bryan Adams, Jimmy Harnen and Richard Marx, but there are also songs that seem more in line with Jackson Browne or Charlie Sexton. The result is an album that has as much heart as it does melody. Davis is a fantastic singer, and one of those vocalists who’s a real storyteller. His rich, powerful vocals are a huge part of what makes Kick the Wall work, but the musicianship, especially the guitars, is top notch as well. The whole album is quality, but songs like “Catch My Heart,” “Just a Little Bit” and “Labor of Love” had “Top 40 hit” written all over them. The band’s rowdy (but still polished) version of “Shoeshine Man”is fun, but on the album’s second half it’s the more AOR numbers like “Don’t Hold Back the Night” and “Over the Top” that stand out.
Jimmy Davis & Junction only managed to make a minor splash with Kick the Wall, but this album is about as good as ’80s melodic rock gets. It’s one of those albums that perfectly captures the era, and it holds up really well 30 years later. If you’re a fan of AOR and melodic rock with a heartland vibe, especially artists like Jimmy Harnen, Shooting Star and Bryan Adams, this is an album you need to discover.
Reissue Notes: Just in time for the album’s 30th anniversary, the MelodicRock label gave fans a deluxe reissue of Kick the Wall. Not only do we get the original album, newly remastered and with the cover artwork Davis originally wanted, but it also includes a very enjoyable second disc full of live songs from a 1987 Westwood One broadcast. It’s a great set, and a perfect reason to revisit this lost gem. And if you missed Jimmy Davis & Junction the first time around, you won’t find a better introduction than this.
Summary: Great reissue of a melodic rock gem