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Long Way to Live

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Album Review

Due to membership upheavals and the genocide of hair metal, you're messing with a leaner, meaner son of a Britny Fox on the quartet's first live disc. Opening strong with a Dirty Harry sound bite, "Six Guns Loaded" and quasi-smash "Long Way to Love," diminutive Johnny-come-lately frontman Tom Paris holds the crowd with his funny and cool stage patter (naturally relying on a common four-letter colloquialism). He tucks the Fox chestnut "Dream On" into Supertramp's glittering "Give a Little Bit" (long before the Gap commercial). The band still subsists on those early tracks somehow, but many songs come from the charmingly titled Bite Down Hard, and the boys whip up a metal maelstrom by mid-show with "Closer to Your Love" and "Black and White." Obviously a very visual assemblage, Britny Fox turns out a sonically satisfying live work, admirable simply because of the band's survival. Billy Childs is an amiable bassist who looks like C.C. DeVille's mellow older brother (If you don't know who C.C. is, why are you reading?) and acoustically opens "Over and Out" (not the Drill song), which starts like "Find Your Way Back" (the Jefferson Starship song). Drummer Johnny Dee's solo is wisely omitted, as these are aural wastes, live or on disc. German guitarist and Fox founder Michael Kelly Smith throws out some fire from the cityscape painted on his BC Rich, but, by his prolonged solo, no one really cares. Luckily, Tommy always wins the crowd back. The show wraps with Fox's raison d'etre "Girlschool" and "Midnight Moses," a sensational Alex Harvey discovery that defines what a remake should be: a powerful rekindling of a forgotten flame. Burn on! This brilliant blue-collar rummage through the smoldering ashes of the brilliant music that led up to the heady daze of tight trous and high hair hopefully indicates the future of the Fox.


Formed: Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Britny Fox were a typical glam-rock bar band from Philadelphia. In 1985 they met Michael Kelly Smith (guitar) from up-and-coming band Cinderella, and before long the guitarist had defected from his former band to join the Philly boys' ranks. Naming themselves Britny Fox after one of singer Dizzy Dean Davison's Welsh ancestors, the band copped Cinderella's theatrical look and recorded their first demo, In America, with other members including Billy Childs on bass and Johnny Dee on drums. To show that...
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Long Way to Live, Britny Fox
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