BABE RUTH

Hard Rock • United Kingdom
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A cult Hard Rock/Progressive Rock band that was formed in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, in 1971. They split up in 1976, but later reunited back in 2005.
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BABE RUTH Discography

BABE RUTH albums / top albums

BABE RUTH First Base album cover 3.88 | 4 ratings
First Base
Hard Rock 1972
BABE RUTH Amar Caballero album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Amar Caballero
Hard Rock 1973
BABE RUTH Babe Ruth album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Babe Ruth
Hard Rock 1975
BABE RUTH Stealin' Home album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Stealin' Home
Hard Rock 1975
BABE RUTH Kid's Stuff album cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
Kid's Stuff
Hard Rock 1976
BABE RUTH Que Pasa album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Que Pasa
Hard Rock 2007

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BABE RUTH Reviews

BABE RUTH First Base

Album · 1972 · Hard Rock
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siLLy puPPy
Hatfield, England based guitarist / songwriter Alan Shacklock got his career started all the way back in 1963 with his first band The Juniors at the tender age of 12 but along the way until he would form his self-penned band Shacklock in 1970, he seemed to hook up with all the right players. He not only played with John Glascock of Jethro Tull and his brother Brian who would eventually join The Motels but also played with Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones, Carl Palmer of ELP and the late great John Bonham of Led Zeppelin fame. It seemed like destiny was on his side right from the very start as he attracted one interesting character after another into his life. The band Shacklock was created to be that half way point between the possibilities of hard bluesy rock and progressive oriented rock.

While in the band called Shacklock, a young Alan Shacklock would attract the talents of Dave Hewitt (bass), Dick Powell (drums) and Dave Punshon (keyboards) but it wasn’t until they found the vocal charm of Janita “Jennie” Haan that the band would really hit their stride. Her inclusion into the mix of things literally changed the entire dynamic flow and it was at this point that the band Shacklock would become the band BABE RUTH, named after the US baseball extraordinaire. While Alan Shacklock had been writing songs for the BABE RUTH debut album FIRST BASE during the two years prior, it was the addition of Haan that sent the creativity into overdrive and then it seems like the doors opened and the red carpets were rolled out as the band found immediate interest from record labels like EMI / Capitol.

BABE RUTH would be treated like royalty as they recorded FIRST BASE at Abbey Road Studios with the assistance of such greats as Tony Clark, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard and Cockney Rebel. They even commissioned the great album cover art wizard Roger Dean of Yes album fame to conjure up the cover artwork for FIRST BASE although i have to admit that it’s one of Dean’s less compelling works. While all the venture capitalists seemed to have faith in the ability of BABE RUTH’s unique mix of hard rock and prog, it was a surprise that the album did well in Canada by actually going gold, sold respectively in the US but failed to make a dent in the band’s native UK where prog rock was in comparison much more popular than North America. While the band may have made it to FIRST BASE, they failed to make a home run.

BABE RUTH carved out a unique slice of prog rock. While often deemed a hard rock album, FIRST BASE can’t quite be called a true heavy rocker despite having many tracks that do indeed rock hard and unleash the heavy guitar riffing with the accompanying bluesy soloing. For the most part, FIRST BASE is an intricately designed mix of sophisticated progressive chamber rock that happens to incorporate lots of the elements that were putting prog on the map during the early 70s. In addition, ethnic elements such as a stealthy supply of Latin percussion in the form of congas, bongos and the cabasa found their way into much of the album’s tracks. While heavy hitters such as the excellent opener “Well’s Fargo” are more aggressively guitar rock oriented, even here there is Latin percussion, a sizzling saxophone solo and interesting time signature chops that deviate from the standard hard rock bands of the era. This track has a funky soul flair that sort of reminds me of the Jackson Five actually.

The heavy heft of the title track however quickly gives way to the more sensual piano driven second track “The Runaways” which offers an ample supply of cello, oboe and symphonic arrangements. While “Wells Fargo” found Haan belting out her best Janis Joplin styled vocals, on “The Runaways” she croons tenderly sounding more like Annie Haslam of Renaissance than the blues rock diva of the previous track. An excellent rendition of the Mothers of Invention’s classic “King Kong” provides an interesting instrumental proggy jam for the band to take extra liberties that don’t quite work on vocal tracks. The band do wonders with another cover, the exquisite “Black Dog” that didn’t come from Led Zeppelin but rather country rocker Jesse Winchester. This beautiful piano based melodic track finds some fancy ivory tinkling, tasty soulful organ runs with the extra heft of syncopated hard rock guitar. Haan belts out some delicious vocal performances on this one.

The band’s most successful prog hit came in the form of “The Mexican” which found some air time on prog oriented formats. The track was primarily crafted by Shacklock but inserts various elements of an Ennio Morricone track (“Per Qualche Dollaro In Piu”). The track dishes out the expected Latin rhythms but also contains a vivacious series of guitar riffs that coalesce into the Morricone inspired soundtrack themes. As the album closes with the funky Hammond organ stabs in “The Joker,” Shacklock also reprises the heavy rock guitar riffs and Haan reverts back to her Janis Joplin shtick with her bad mama bluesy grit, however her vocal range is impressive as she can suddenly hit high notes and unexpected squeals.

For anyone looking exclusively for a hard rock album, they will surely be disappointed since hard rock is but one important element that is strewn about judiciously yet irregularly throughout the album. While the general gist is that the harder rocking tracks are less proggy and the proggy tracks are less heavy, the truth is that all the tracks have both elements to a certain degree. Really, the only heavy blues based rock tracks are “Wells Fargo,” “The Mexican” and “Joker” while the others are more steeped in the progressive rock compositional fortitude that only incorporates the heavier rock elements for a little contrast. Despite the odd mix of elements that BABE RUTH dished out on FIRST BASE, things flow together fairly smoothly and in the end and this is a rather unique sounding album as it takes many of the trends of the era including blues rock, hard rock, prog, jazz and chamber rock and stitch it all together very nicely. The highlight is surely the phenomenal vocal performances of Janita Haan which bring the album to a whole other level.

BABE RUTH Stealin' Home

Album · 1975 · Hard Rock
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UMUR
"Stealin´ Home" is the 4th full-length studio album by UK hard rock act Babe Ruth. The album was released through Capitol Records in 1975. Main composer and guitarist Alan Shacklock left the band after the third self-titled album and I was really worried how "Stealin´ Home" would sound without his contributions.

As it turns out "Stealin´ Home" isn´t stylistically that far away from it´s predecessor. "Stealin´ Home" is basically a rock/hard rock album and the music style isn´t completely unlike the music style of Wishbone Ash (without the twin guitar attack). A kind of softer hard rock style. The vocals by Jenny Haan sound like a female Geedy Lee (Rush). She is a very skilled singer with a great rock mama attitude. The only element on this album that links the music to the semi-progressive rock of the early releases is the inclusion of keyboards/synths on some tracks which gives the music a slight progressive touch, best examplified on the opening track "It´ll Happen In Time". I can appreciate most of the album but I especially enjoy the tracks that emphasize the harder rock side of the band´s sound. When they slow things down my fascination drops. A track like "Can You Fell It" with it´s reggae rhythms is where I say stop.

The sound production is enjoyable, warm and pleasant. Overall "Stealin´ Home" is a decent release by Babe Ruth even though I would listen to any of the first three studio albums before this one. There are simply parts/tracks on the album that are sub par to the rest of the material and therefore a 2.5 - 3 star (55%) rating is warranted.

BABE RUTH Kid's Stuff

Album · 1976 · Hard Rock
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UMUR
"Kid´s Stuff" is the 5th full-length studio album by UK rock/hard rock act Babe Ruth. The album was released through Capitol Records in the US and through EMI Records in the UK in 1976. A major change to the lineup occured before the recording of the album, as lead vocalist Jenny Haan left the band to be replaced by Ellie Hope. As a consequence of that there is not a single remaining member left on "Kid´s Stuff" from the lineup who recorded the debut album "First Base (1972)".

Regardless of the lineup change on the lead vocalist spot, the music actually still sounds like Babe Ruth even though a few funky elements have found their way into the band´s sound. The compositions are generally not very strong though and I´d only mention the rocking "Oh Dear, What a Shame", the pretty good "Welcome To the Show", the short instrumental synth track "Nickelodeon" which is the only track with ties to progressive rock on the album, the hard rocking "Keep Your Distance" and the power ballad "Living A Lie" as decent tracks on the album. The rest are either pretty bad or not worth mentioning at all. The comparisions to Wishbone Ash and Led Zeppelin still hold true, but think of the weakest material released by those artists and then this is still a bit weaker.

New vocalist Ellie Hope has a raw rock mama voice and does a decent job on the album, but she struggles to reach the heights of the fantastic Jenny Haan. The production is well sounding and suits the music. A warm, organic, and pleasant sounding seventies production. "Kid´s Stuff" isn´t a catastrophy to my ears but it´s not really a good album either. A 2.5 star (50%) rating is warranted. Do yourself a favour and check out any of the band´s previous four albums before listening to this one. It would be wrong to form an opinion about Babe Ruth on the grounds of the material on this album.

BABE RUTH Que Pasa

Album · 2007 · Hard Rock
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UMUR
"Que Pasa" is the 6th full-length studio album by UK rock/hard rock act Babe Ruth. The album was released through Revolver Records in 2007. That´s 31 years after their last album release "Kid's Stuff (1976)". Drummer Ed Spevok is the only remaining member in the lineup from that album, but the four other members in the "Que Pasa" lineup are not strangers to fans of the band. It´s the four original members from the debut album "First Base (1972)" who have reunited. So in addition to Ed Spevok we have Jenny Haan on vocals, Alan Shacklock on guitars, Dave Punshon on keyboards and Dave Hewitt on bass. With a lineup like that I initially had high expectations to the quality of the music...

...the album soon turns into quite the disappointment though. The execution of the music is professional enough but I think the tracks on the album lack power and bite. Jenny Haan doesn´t quite sound like her own rock mama self anymore either and that´s a big minus in my book. To be honest she sounds a bit tired and worn. While the tracks as such are well composed they lack what made the early albums by the band so enjoyable and that´s attitude. There are 14 tracks on the album which are way too many when the music isn´t that interesting. My mind simply wanders several times during the album´s playing time. To call this a hard rock release is probably a bit misleading too as it leans more towards commercial pop/rock music than sweaty hard rock. There´s even some rather atrocious rap vocals featured on the album.

All in all "Que Pasa" is a big disappointment and a rather weak comeback album by Babe Ruth. As the sound production is of relatively high quality, the songwriting compositionally acceptable (but uninspired) and the musicianship on an acceptable level too I´ll give "Que Pasa" a 2 star (40%) rating, but it´s not an album I´ll put on for my own personal enjoyment.

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