Jon Butcher Axis

Jon Butcher Axis

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Jon Butcher is a journeyman guitarist whose Johanna Wilde band was legendary in the New England region in the late '70s. While the "new wave" and "punk rock" scenes were exploding, Butcher kept to what he did best: mainstream hard rock. By the time this Polydor deal materialized, much of his better-known tunes had been in circulation for quite some time. "New Man" originally appeared on a 1980/1981 compilation from radio station WCOZ, it opens up side two here, but, like most of the album, is hampered by Pat Moran's pedestrian production."Cant Be the Only Fool" and "Send One Care Of" lack personality here, the producer and record label failing to polish Jon Butcher's consistent songwriting. Add to that mix the fact that his management company had a falling out with the major concert promoter in his hometown, and you have an act that had to move to Los Angeles in order to find an environment more conducive to the creative process. "Life Takes a Life" is haunting here, and may be the best track on the record; "It's Only Words," "Ocean in Motion" and "New Man" were popular live and remain highlights of this record, but the power trio never got to shape their own identity. The crunching chords made Jon Butcher more like Pete Townshend performing in the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Like Robin Trower, Butcher performed in the shadow of Jimi, good material but not as creative and memorable as the prototype, and without the production and promotion skills of a Chas Chandler. A decent album that could have been so much more if the people around this artist understood what the music was all about.

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