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.

Enter the vortex of hair
Enter the vortex of hair

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.

Britny Fox 01

(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.

Don't cry Billy.
Don’t cry Billy.

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.

Britny Fox 05

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.

292 Down.

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.

18 thoughts on “Britny Spheres

  1. *feasts lingeringly over photo for 5 whole minutes*

    Cor. Ok, I’m spent now. The “don’t cry Billy” section was especially poignant and I’d expect it to be the name of some Power Ballad before long.

    …Heart were 2/5 ladies weren’t they?

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    1. Were there 5 in Heart then? Sorry Wilsons.

      I love the idea of the ‘Don’t Cry Billy’ power ballad.

      Don’t cry Billy
      Don’t flaunt your willy
      Or dress up silly
      Looking just like a filly

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      1. Yeah I’m a Heart expert after many years of gazing lovingly at them. There was Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, a dude, another dude and… a third dude.

        Great lyrics! I can see the video now. Vaseline smeared lens… cliff-side guitar solo… and Billy shedding his single tear at the end.

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      2. Not sure about the third dude. But, whoever he was or whatever he’s doing now, the WORLD OF ROCK misses him. Come back third dude, wherever you are, and entertain us with that song you did! How’d it go again?

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  2. I got scared for a minute. I had misread your *’s and thought you were citing Steel Panther as worst ever. Thank heavens I figured out my mistake as I might otherwise have been unable to return here….

    Speaking of SP, having never actually listened to Britny Fox until this very post — although I was quite familiar with the album cover because, well, how could one not be? — Steel Panther have ruined all second-tier hair bands for me forever. Seeing/hearing SP do their awesome thing so piss-takingly well, I find myself unable to give unbiased chances to bands like BF. Maybe I need to somehow find a double-blind taste test way of experiencing them so I won’t be some damn judgmental.

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    1. Ha, sorry for the scare – I love SP, not got around to seeing them yet but I will do. Let’s face it SP don’t need to take the piss, that generation of hair-metallers were just giving it away!

      I only laugh at it because i loved it so much at the time, I really hope it doesn’t come over as sneering. At the time I never questioned a second of it – men dressed like that were the most natural thing in the world.

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      1. Understood completely. As you may have surmised, I am just a tad more fermented than you are, so by the time the hair metallers came around, I was already a curmudgeon. I liked my heroes’ hair with significantly less conditioner and my hard rock with a bit more seedy gutter raunch vice high-end strip club raunch. I’m only now getting off my high horse and even then somewhat begrudgingly.

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  3. AHHH THE VORTEX OF HAIR!!! Definitely a band whose look did not age well.

    I know “Dizzy” Dean had a history with Cinderella. He was with them before they signed. I think Michael Kelly as well was with Cinderella. Funny because visually Britney Fox and Cinderella are almost interchangeable. There’s the trout pout singer, the blonde guy…Fox’s image is a dead ringer for Night Songs era Cinderella.

    I never bought them album, just because even then at the time I sensed that it was a knock-off of a band that was already a knock-off.

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    1. I knew they were from NJ too, but I didn’t know there was history. I know exactly what you mean but ‘Night Songs’ was a big LP for me way back when.

      Come on the video for ‘Nobody’s Fool ‘ is up there with Citizen Kane and Cinema Paradiso for me!

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      1. I jumped on board with Cinderella on Long Cold Winter. I still don’t own Night Songs actually! I barely remember Nobody’s Fool…I remember Somebody Save Me clearly, because that’s the one that has JBJ and Sambora at the end.

        I do have most of the Night Songs tracks on greatest hits albums today, you think that’s sufficient?

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      2. Nah, if it doesn’t have the nostalgia value for you I wouldn’t bother. I spent a chunk of my teens carving Cinderella into school desks.

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