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Johnny The Fox isn’t an album that gets a lot of spins from me; being the album between Jailbreak and Bad Reputation is a coincidence since I play more from those albums than this one, but that’s the not the reason. Can’t really sum it up, but with tracks like these two it’s a wonder why I don’t give it as much attention. I prefer my hard rock heavy, and that’s probably where Bad Reputation, Fighting, and Thunder And Lightning come in, leaving this one to fend with catchy songs alone.
These tracks are light but melodious, which can go farther in some cases. Both of these tunes are heartfelt (both are love songs (“love” song in the former’s case)) in their own ways, with specific credit going to Lynott lending a tight performance on the two. His singing is parched, but clear and warm much like his thumping bass lines. You get his slippery picking, the twin leads / lead-pushed-by-rhythm combination, and Downey smacking lightly on the kit with smalltime band class drumming. The kit isn’t a bore, but his style isn’t very impressive for these two straightforward songs.
“Don’t Believe A Word” is the louder of the two with a jumpy riff and ecstatic solo, while “Old Flame” is the washy soft-piece that’s more reliant on the sing-a-long vocals. The bass is deeper than the guitars, which strum romantically in the back. Once again, Downey is playing the same put-put band drumming, but it’s better this time around since tame drumming works for this kind of song. The kit’s a little punchy (like clearer and louder), which may get a little annoying for some (the guitars sound pale in comparison).
While I doubt you’ll ever see this single lying around in some shop or someone’s house, you can find both these songs on Johnny The Fox, which is more than available. Next time you check out the album, pay attention to these two. Lynott wrote both of them, astounding considering how much he toiled with in 1976 already with the Jailbreak album and the Bad Reputation album soon to come.