On a hot summer Saturday night in 1988 me and my crew made the walk from Berkeley Place in Massapequa to Uncle Phil’s in Massapequa Park (you’ve heard me mention this place before). My original purpose was to go get METALLICA’S new album …And Justice For All on tape (I only had ten bucks!), which I did. But when I saw the debut cassette from BRITNY FOX sitting there it was like it called to me. So I talked my lifelong friend Frankie into picking it up for me with a promise of repayment with my next check from 7-11, a place we both worked at the time. And boy am I glad that I did. Welcome to another edition of Classic Albums, brothers and sisters!
Now look, initially when I first saw the “Long Way to Love” video I was like, “Da fuck izzis? A CINDERELLA rip-off?!!?” Unbeknownst to me these guys came up in the same hard-scrabble Philly rock scene with the aforementioned band. Hell, they’d even swapped members and equipment when necessary. But by the second or third time I heard the song I was all about it-bout it. Hence why I wanted the record. Hell, I spent so many afternoons in my old room air drumming the shit out of it it’s a miracle my arms still worked. Johnny Dee does some of his best work on this song, and I never get tired of hearing him go to town on it. Vocalist/guitarist “Dizzy” Dean Davidson had a voice unlike anything I had ever heard at that point and it was glorious.
This point is hammered home further by album opener and second video I saw from the band, “Girlschool.” Man, when I first heard this fucker I was even more convinced how great this band was. But when I actually saw it on MTV my whole body got hard. Don’t act like you didn’t get that way either, you fucking liars. “Kick ‘N’ Fight” has long been one of my favorites from this album from day one because it has this unfuckwithable swagger that drew me in then, and continues to do so to this very day. 15-year old me knew what he was about, son. “Save the Weak” is a very nice ballad with some poignant lyrics. Lead guitarist Michael Kelly Smith and Davidson have a nice harmonized solo going, too.
Side One ends with “Fun In Texas”, which is a rollicking good time if ever there was one. Dee and bassist Billy Childs are thumping away and the hook is electric. Fuck, I need to get back down to Dallas on my next vacation and immerse myself in their awesome metal scene again. Flip the tape over and we get going with “Rock Revolution,” another headbanging good time from start to finish. Davidson is screeching away and getting us all up on our feets. I’d lay in bed at night with this tape in the trusty Walkman and just bang my head into my pillow (I did that a lot), especially when it flipped over to this side.
“Don’t Hide” has a nice chuggy guitar riff that Davidson sings over commandingly, and the chorus is big as life. Next up is the SLADE cover “Gudbuy T’Jane,” and I daresay it’s much more fun than the original. I thought so then and I stand by that now. Come on, how can you not get swept up in that sexy groove? And now we come to my absolute fucking favorite track with “In America.” I will always love this one, and being that it’s Fourth of July weekend how perfect is this? “In America, the home of the free, the strong and the weak!” are the words, then a fucking anthemic dual harmonized lead section pierces the night sky. Just one of those perfect moments.
Closer “Hold On” is a great album ender that puts the final stamp on a fantastic debut record. BRITNY FOX is a band that I am lucky enough to have heard when I was 15 years old, and quite frankly they put some of their peers to absolute shame with their self-titled debut. I’ve become friendly with Johnny Dee the last few years through our DORO connection, but with this piece I just want to say, “Thank you Johnny!!” Thank you for an album that has meant so much to me for over 30 years. Thank you for being you all this time. At the end of the day BRITNY FOX delivered a musical right hook with this record. I love that, and so for this and many other reasons it will forever be in Classic Albums. ~dc