Fox, The


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1968)

Nick Apostiledes -- vocals, percussion

- Steve Brayne -- vocals, lead guitar

- Alex Lane -- vocals, keyboards

- Tim Reeves -- drums, percussion

- David WIndross -- bass, keyboards

 

  line up 2 (1968-70)

- Steve Brayne -- vocals, lead guitar

- Alex Lane -- vocals, keyboards

- Tim Reeves -- drums, percussion

NEW - Winston Weatherwill -- lead guitar, sitar (replaced 

  Nick Apostiledes)

- David WIndross -- bass, keyboards

 

 

 

- The Beatroute (Steve Brayne)

Gary Farr and the T-Bones (Winston Weatherwill)

- The Alex Lane Group (Nick Apostiledes, Alex Lane, and 

  Tim Reeves)

- Mungo Jerry (Tim Reeves)

- Octopus (Tim Reeves)

- Omega Plus (Tim Reeves and Dave Windross)

 

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  For Fox Sake Vol 1

Company: Crewe

Catalog: CR 1336
Year:
 1970

Country/State: Brighton, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gimmick, wrap around sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 187

Price: $20.00

 

Say what you will about The Fox, but they stand as one of the more interesting acts that Bob Crewe signed to his Crewe label.  I'm not saying The Fox were great, but their sole album is never less than enjoyable and when compared to The Bob Crewe Generation ...  well, need I say anything else.

 

Formed in 1968, The Fox brought together musicians from a number of local Brighton bands.  Singer Nick Apostiledes, keyboardist Alex Lane, and drummer Tim Reeves had all been members of The Alex Lane Group.  Reeves and bassist Dave Windross had been members of Omega Plus.  Quickly replacing Apostiledes, lead guitarist Winston Weatherwill had been an early member of Gary Farr and the T-Bones.

 

left to right: Steve Brayne - Tim Reeves - Alex Lane - Winston Weatherill - Dave Windross

 

Having previously recorded a series of demos in a single, extended recording session, the band was  signed by Patrick Meehan and Adrian Miller's M&M label, which in turn wasted little time and effort in packaging the demos for release as 1970's "For Fox Sake".  UK album rights were sold to Fontana, with M&M somehow reaching a deal for US distribution with American producer Bob Crewe.  Entitled "Fox Fox Sake Vol 1" and given new cover art for the US market, the album was one of the first releases on Crewe Records.  So being honest, I'll tell you this album wasn't particularly original, or groundbreaking.  With Brayne and Lane responsible for the majority of material, the band's pop-psych sound had a distinctive mid-'60s feel;  tracks like 'Mr. Blank' and 'Birthday Card' sounding more 1967, than 1970.  Sure, there were a couple of exceptions.   'Look In the Sky' found the band exploring a modest progressive sound, while 'Man In a Fast Car'  had a more conventional rock sound.  In fact, its one of those albums I find myself playing spot-the-influences on a regular basis.  That said, its also an album that with or two exceptions is a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.  These guys actually had quite a few things going for them, including two accomplished vocalists.  While Lane handled the majority of lead vocals (occasionally recalling Paul Carrack's deep, soulful voice), Brayne was equally good when given a shot at the spotlight ('Lovely Day' and 'Glad I Could').  They also had two capable guitarists in Brayne and former Gary Farr & the T-Bones member Winston Weatherwill.   Weatherwill also played a mean sitar (check out 'Butterfly').  Well worth looking for since you can still fund cheap copies (look for the US version since it costs a fraction of the UK version),

 

- Opening up with some churchy Hammond organ from Lane, 'Secondhand Love' was a catchy, mid-tempo rocker that had everything needed to be a hit - a dark and memorable melody; a catchy hook, nice lead guitar, and a smoky lead vocal from Lane (who has always reminded me a bit of Paul Carrack).  My only complaint with the song was the way it abruptly faded out.  This was one of those rare songs where the record label should have gone with an extended version.  In the UK the song was tapped as a single.   rating: **** stars

- Opening up with some blazing and melodic lead guitar (not sure if it was Brayne or Weatherwill), 'Lovely Day' was a fantastic atmospheric rocker with some great harmony vocals.  Showcasing Brayne on lead vocals, this one had even more commercial potential and should have been picked as a single.   rating: **** stars

- Co-written by Lane and former band vocalist Nick Apostiledes ,the opening segment of 'As She Walks Way' has always reminds me of a Led Zeppelin song.   I'm not sure why, but it may have something to do with the acoustic guitar and percussion opening.  Regardless, the fragile opening eventually morphed into a harder hitting guitar and keyboard workout and then slowed down for a vocal section.  Unfortunately when the vocal kicked in the song lost its momentum and direction.   rating: *** stars

- As much as I like 'Glad I Could', I had to admit it must have sounded somewhat dated in 1970.  Perhaps it was the sitar?   No idea and I didn't personally care since the song had some wonderful lead guitar moves (that would have made George Harrison happy) and a wonderful, pop-psych feel with one of those melodies that you simply couldn't shake out of your head.  One of the album highlights  ...  rating: **** stars

- The lyrics may not have aged well, but there's no denying 'Butterfly' had a beautiful melody and some dazzling acoustic guitar and sitar interplay.  More 1967 than 1970, but easily another album highpoint, this one's appeared on a number of compilations including one of the "Rubble" compilations.   rating: **** stars

- Opening up with some nice Hammond from Lane, 'Look In the Sky' found the band dipping their collective toes into a more progressive sound.  In spite of the relatively complex song structure, the track retained a strong commercial bent and a killer lead guitar solo.   rating: *** stars

- Side two opened with the first true mis-step - the lame, faux-blues 'Goodtime Music'.  Mindless and dull, this one sounded like a throwaway demo that was used simply to pad the album out.  Worthless.   rating: * star

- 'Mr. Blank' had a distinctive martial beat showcasing some cool David WIndross bass and a nice end-of-song Tim Reeves meltdown drum segment.  The opening always reminds me a bit of The Clash's 'London's Calling'.   rating: *** stars

- One of my favorites performances, 'Man In a Fast Car' was another track with a distinctive mid-'60s feel.  To my ears it actually sounded like a mash-up between The Spencer Davis Group and The Who.   Fantastic lead guitar throughout the song ...   rating: **** stars

- I always hesitate to trot out the "Beatlesque" adjective, but it's appropriate for the mid-tempo ballad 'Birthday Card'.  From the opening group harmonies; through the hyper-melodic song structure, and the stinging lead guitar, everything on this one reeked of The Fab Four.   That wasn't meant as a criticism.   rating: **** stars

- Opening up with with circus sounds and treated vocals, 'Madame Magical' found the band diving headlong into British psychedelia.   Clocking in at almost ten minutes, the song bounced back and forth between Cream-styled blues and a more outright psych feel complete with droning vocals, treated Hammond effects (?), fuzz guitar, dynamic bass, etc.  Yeah, it got trippier and less focused (almost jazzy) as it went along.   Defintely a nice way to end the album.   rating: **** stars

 

As mentioned above, the album spun off a UK single:

 

 

- 1970's 'Second Hand Love' b/w 'Butterfly' (Fontana catalog number TF 6007 016)

 

One of the best albums I've heard in the last couple of years and one I enjoy each time I give it a spin.    Well worth tracking down.

 

The original UK pressing featured the same track listing, but different cover art.  As mentioned, for some reason the UK pressing costs considerably more than the US release.

 

Fontana catalog number 6309 007

 

 

"For Fox Sake Vol 1" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Secondhand Love   (Alex Lane) - 3:12

2.) Lovely Day   (Steve Brayne) - 3:24

3.) As She Walks Way (instrumental)   (Alex Lane - Nick Apostiledes) - 5:29

4.) Glad I Could   (Steve Brayne) - 2:58

5.) Butterfly   (Steve Brayne) - 3:22

6.) Look In the Sky   (Alex Lane) - 3:42

 

(side 2)
1.) Goodtime Music   (Steve Brayne) - 2:49

2.) Mr. Blank   (Steve Brayne) - 3:20

3.) Man In a Fast Car   (Steve Brayne) - 2:58

4,) Birthday Card   (Alex Lane - Nick Apostiledes) - 4:15

5.) Madame Magical   (Alex Lane - Steve Brayne - Nick Apostiledes) - 9:38

 

Frustrated with the lack of support from their management company and their label, Weatherwill and WIndross quit in 1970.  

 

For anyone interested, the Marmalade Skies website has an in-depth interview with Brayne.  Among the interesting comments he makes, material was apparently recorded for a planned second album.

http://www.marmalade-skies.co.uk/fox.htm

 

 

 

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