Published on March 26th, 2018 | by Justin G.
Jon Butcher Axis: Jon Butcher Axis (Escape)
There are no shortage of “they should have been huge” stories, especially from the 1980s, but if there was ever a bona-fide “should have been huge story, it’s Jon Butcher. With four releases (two as the Jon Butcher Axis and two as Jon Butcher) in the ‘80s, the singer/guitarist/songwriter was always just on the cusp of success, but despite a massive talent never got that big breakthrough.
1983’s Jon Butcher Axis was the world’s introduction to Jon Butcher, and it’s clear the label had no idea how to promote him. African-American guitarists weren’t exactly the norm, especially playing melodic rock. Jimi Hendrix was the standby comparison when Butcher should have been compared to people like Bryan Adams and Jon Bon Jovi. The trio’s debut was right in the 1983 radio rock comfort zone. A bit more soulful than the average AOR album thanks to Butcher’s guitar approach, vocal tone and lyrical depth, but still an album that should have put him in the pop spotlight. “It’s Only Words,” “Can’t Be the Only Fool” and “We Will Be As One” could have been radio/MTV/soundtrack hits.
The debut Jon Butcher Axis album is just a really solid, really enjoyable melodic rock record, and as good as it was the albums that followed it were even better. It didn’t make him a household name, but it still holds up quite well all these years later, and is an album that fans of ’80s AOR and melodic rock – especially fans of Bryan Adams, Night Ranger, Survivor, Bon Jovi and Aldo Nova – really ought to hear, especially now that it has been reissued.
Reissue Notes: After going 35 years without a proper CD release, Jon Butcher Axis was finally reissued this year by the Escape label. Escape’s reissue features digitally remastered audio and a booklet with vintage photos, lyrics and a new (though not particularly enlightening) interview with Jon Butcher. No bonus material, but just having this one on disc is reason for celebration.
Summary: Finally we get this one on CD