The Loyal Serpent
As the singer of Diesel Park West – for many, Leicester’s answer to Moby Grape – John Butler delivered five highly invigorating albums in seven years. Although each was successful in critical terms, they barely sold enough to keep the five-man line-up in denim and by 1995, they were being layed out to rest. Clearly puiqed, he’s now poured all his frustrations into a debut album that categorically aims to vindicate repeated claims that not only is he a great songwriter, but a commercial one to boot. The Loyal Serpent brims with an intoxicating alchemy of celtic-like passion, delivered with the kind of religious zeal that recalls early Mike Scott, alongside some profoundly stirring blue-collared anthems that sound like he’s got the E Street Band backing him. The electric Maybe Tomorrow, in particular, suggests that a little adversity is all Butler needs to shine.
by Nick Duerden, Q magazine, November 1997
Worthless Bastard Rock
Held in high esteem for his work with the hugely under-rated Diesel Park West, Butler’s second solo album contains all the high caliber material that you’d expect, and there’s no other current British artist who integrates the pivotal elements of exquisite song writing and laudable performances into such appealing packages.
Perhaps as a conscious attempt to move away from influences such as the Buffalo Springfield and Moby Grape that infiltrates the Diesel’s work, this mainly acoustic collection of tracks nods more in the direction of the Beatles or Dylan. Indeed, Ticket To Heaven has the feel and flair of the latter’s Highway 61 Revisited, and there’s also a stripped-down version of The Singing Life.
Butler has a rare talent that has gone unrecognized for too long.
by Rich Wilson. Record Collector. March 2001