One of the brighter debuts to emerge in the late '80s, Britny Fox established themselves early on as hard-hitting contenders, only to expose a glass jaw in subsequent bouts. Often labeled clones of sister band Cinderella (whence they got their image, guitar player, and record contract), the quartet overcame expectations by filling their first album with song after song of top-flight '80s glam, marred only slightly by the cliché-ridden lyrics. The boys each play to their strengths here, which results in killer riffs and licks from Michael Kelly Smith and impassioned howling from Dizzy Dean Davidson. On later platters, they would overextend their talents and become just another struggling bar band, so enjoy the chemistry while it's still there. Among the many highlights are "Long Way to Love," "Girlschool," and a cover of Slade's "Gudbuy t'Jane."
Recorded on May 21, 1970, at Detroit's Club Mozambique, this was shelved and remained unreleased until it was retrieved for CD issue in 1995. It's odd that Blue Note decided to sit on it for so long, because it ranks as one of Lonnie's better sets. The band, featuring George Benson on guitar, is relaxed and funky without being in your face about it, and unlike much soul-jazz of the time, most of the material is original, Smith having penned six of the eight numbers. Although the riffs often owe a lot to James Brown, this is definitely at least as much jazz as soul, with Lonnie taking a rare vocal turn on "Peace of Mind."
Lonnie Liston Smith moved from RCA to Columbia with Loveland, an LP that is sleek and commercial but not without heart or creativity. While Loveland fared well among fans of fusion, crossover and R&B, the keyboardist had long since lost the attention of acoustic jazz's hardcore, which asserted that he had turned his back on his roots and was no longer playing jazz. But in fact, jazz is essentially what Smith is playing on Loveland, although it's jazz mixed with soul, funk and pop. "We Can Dream "(which features Donald Smith on vocals) is strictly R&B, but instrumentals like "Sunburst," "Explorations" and "Springtime Magic" are basically an extension of the spiritual post-bop Smith had played with Pharoah Sanders, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Gato Barbieri.