Saturday, 6 April 2019

Fox - Images '74-'84

  

Fox were one of those groups that grew out of glam rock but had a more pseudo-sophisticated, quirky sound. Sparks and 10cc were probably the best examples of this sort of group, but Fox weren't far behind, albeit briefly, just for this one album, really. Producer Kenny Young created the group, using Australian vocalist Susan Traynor and renaming her Noosha Fox, giving her a bit of mysterious allure. Of course, all of us sixteen year old boys fancied her at the time.

This is a compilation of all the 'A' sides and 'B' sides that Fox released in the period 1974-1984, plus a fair amount of album material from their three albums. The dates are a bit confusing for, as far as I can see, the last single they put out was "Electro People"/"If You Don't Want My Peaches" in 1981. (Incidentally, "Electro People" is a quirky, post punk-ish electric pop number). There is a single from 1982, though, it would seem - "Model In A Leotard" and some tracks that I cannot find out about that presumably come from the 1983-84 period. I only have the download version, so I do not have access to the sleeve notes. I have had to find out what I can.

The three albums were "Fox" (also reviewed) and "Tails Of Illusion" from 1975 and 1977's "Blue Hotel". It is a shame they can't be included in their entirety. Only the first album is readily available on CD or to download at present (early 2019).

Anyway, on to this release. As many have commented upon, the sound is pretty questionable. It sounds very "needle-drop" to me (sourced directly from the original vinyl), although it doesn't have the crackles that they usually do (although I detected some on "Dejenina"). What it is, though, is very muffled and lacking in sharpness and clarity, as if somebody has put a blanket over the speakers. "Little Brown Box" is particularly unimpressive. "Silk Milk" not much better, or indeed "Survival". The tracks from "Tails Of Illusion" seem to be the worst offenders. Maybe this is not bad remastering, however. Maybe they just weren't recorded very well in the first place. The 1981-onwards single tracks, for example, sound much better. They also have a punky, oddball appeal to them. "Dancing With An Alien" is very Ultravox-esque with vague Bowie hints too. Irritatingly, the tracks are not included chronologically.

Anyway, apart from the "Fox" album, this collection is all that is available from this unique, quirky band. Sound problems or not, the occasional listen to tracks like "If I Point At The Moon", "Strange Ships" or "My Old Man's Away" are always pleasurable. "Magic Machine" has an uplifting hippy feel to it. "S-S-S-Single Bed" was a great single too. I am sure the young Kate Bush must have listened to Fox back in the mid-seventies too.

TRACK LISTING

1. Only You Can (from "Fox")
2. Imagine Me Imagine You (from "Fox")
3. He's Got Magic (from "Fox")
4. Strange Ships (from "Tails Of Illusion")
5. S-S-S-Single Bed (from "Blue Hotel")
6. My Old Man's Away (from "Blue Hotel")
7. Electro People (single)
8. Out Of My Body ('B' side of "Only You Can")
9. If I Point At The Moon ('B' side of "Imagine Me Imagine You")
10. Love Ship (from "Fox")
11. The Juggler (from "Fox")
12. Little Brown Box (from "Tails Of Illusion")
13. Silk Milk ('B' side of "S-S-S-Single Bed")
14. Are You Sure? ('B' side of "My Old Man's Away")
15. If You Don't Want My Peaches ('B' side of "Electro People")
16. Georgina Bailey (Noosha Fox single)
17. Survival (from "Tails Of Illusion")
18. Red Letter Day (from "Fox")
19. Magic Machine (from "Blue Hotel")
20. Blue Hotel (from "Blue Hotel")
21. Spirit (from "Fox")
22. Dejenina (from "Blue Hotel")
23. Model In A Leotard (1982 single)
24. I Want To Be Alone ('B' side of "Model In A Leotard")
25. Dancing With An Alien (Noosha Fox single)
26. Teyo (source unknown)
27. Temple Of Love (source unknown)
28. Torn Between Two Worlds (source unknown)
29. Captain Of Your Ship (source unknown)
30. Almond Eyes (from "Blue Hotel")
31. Love Letters (from "Fox")
32. Kupu Kupu (from "Tails Of Illusion")
33. Me Without You (from "Tails Of Illusion")
34. Under Your Own Umbrella (from "Blue Hotel")
35. Pretty Boy ('B' side of "Georgina Bailey")

C- (because of the sound) C+ for the material

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