Here’s one I don’t play every day, Britny Fox, from way back in 1988. They really don’t make ’em like this anymore* and that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all. I picked this LP up in 1990, the same day I bought THE WORST LP IN MY WHOLE COLLECTION** and four days before I bought the best LP I own; such are the vicissitudes of life.
Britny Fox has just given me a good 30 minutes entertainment from the cover alone. If you can liken the late 80’s hair metal scene to an arms race then surely Britny Fox were one of the superpowers, Poison were a bit too feminine to count, D’Molls not quite prominent enough and Cinderella? well, they were up there but Tom Keifer never quite mastered the trout pout the way ‘Dizzy’ Dean Davidson did. Check out the ruffles! I can’t think of another band who did ruffles the way Britny Fox did, apart from early Heart – but they don’t count because they were half chicks***; I mean there’s more lace and frills here than in a Victoria’s Secret shop. The hair too – wow! The entire band look like ladies of a certain age, done up for a big night out on the lash and that’s to be heartily commended. In fact, dear reader, imagine yourself beered-up to the max in a seedy dive when one of the four, umm, ‘lovelies’ on the cover come tottering over towards you (to simulate this stand up, turn around in circles for 5 minutes and then squint at the cover) – you would wouldn’t you? I know you’re not proud of the fact, but I bet you would, it’s okay we’re all friends here.
In any case there are things lurking beneath the waterline that are only hinted at on the front cover. Flip it over and feast your eyes.
(5 minute eye-feasting pause)
Oh yes! Whilst the skinny-legged Johnny Dee modestly covers his tackle with a belt and tassels combo and Michael Kelly Smith just gives us a hint of his potency in profile with a facial expression that just screams ‘trapped wind’ to me, the rest of the band are far more brazen. In fact ‘Dizzy’ Dean Davidson, standing in a profoundly unnatural stance (try it out) is pretty much saying, ‘Here it is, feast your eyes record buying public – you won’t get many of these to the pound!’. It is the male equivalent of the camel-toe, half a pound of salami and two scotch eggs presented to us effectively cling wrapped in spandex, for our very delectation. Perhaps even more striking is Billy Childs, exiled to the far right of the picture, showing an admirable mess of chest hair and what must surely be a stray armadillo nestling in his very fetching half pin-striped spandex (perfect for wearing to the office with a formal jacket?). But tear yourself away, look up into his eyes, this is not a man at ease with what he’s wearing, in fact I suspect if you could zero in on the photo closely enough you’d possibly be able to make out the tracks of his tears. Such was 1988.
But wait, there’s music here too! Let’s get the obvious over with first, clunky and cliché ridden as they are, I love ‘Girlschool’ and ‘Long Way to Love’; although ‘Dizzy’ Dean Davidson isn’t what you’d call a natural singer, his voice does start to grate after a few choruses. But, like all late 80’s hair-metallers they knew their way around a good chorus or two, although in these post Operation Yewtree times I wouldn’t be covering ‘Girlschool’ any time soon. Luckily Mr Davidson isn’t the world’s best lyricist and so what may have been meant as seedy and sleazy, mostly comes over as pretty incomprehensible,
Traffic jam in the hallway, ooh I’m gonna stay
This makes my day
In fact elsewhere we have references to starving children on ‘Save The Weak’ – a song that almost has me rooting for the strong, the civic-irresponsibility of ‘Fun In Texas’,
All the fun, the midday sun no crimes,
The sheriff’s gun
What? Speak English dude! and there’s worse examples than that out there. But, I’m being mean the lyrics on Britny Fox were not meant to be recited at a lectern, just to fill in the gaps between the guitars and the choruses and they do that fine, if you don’t look too closely at the joins. I do rather like their cover of Slade’s ‘Gudbuy T’Jane’ though, in this company it adds a touch of class to proceedings. Overall though this is pretty much bog-standard 80’s rock fodder with a few high points.
I saw Britny Fox too, on 14 December 1989 opening the bill for Great White and Alice Cooper, I noted,
‘Good group, deserved a lot more response than they got, couple v. good songs, singer spouted a load of crap’,
I can’t remember anything about seeing them at all now, so that’ll have to stand.
I quite like this, more recent tune of theirs I found just now.
*apart from Steel Panther.
**a story for another time.
***clumsily put, but I meant that half the band were ladies. I’m not implying any trans-gender japes and frolics.