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Babe Ruth - First Base / Amar Caballero CD (album) cover

FIRST BASE / AMAR CABALLERO

Babe Ruth

 

Heavy Prog

3.58 | 10 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First Base / Amar Caballero is a 2 albums for 1 albums price release from 1998 ( at least I only payed single CD price). The album consists of the two first albums from UK rock act Babe Ruth. There are no additional tracks on this release which means that itīll have most interest for people who havenīt already got the two albums. Itīs a single CD release as both albums can fit into one CD and the playing time is 77:42 minutes.

First Base:

Babe Ruthīs debut album First Base is an excellent album IMO. I expected nothing and got a nice surprise. If you like female fronted prog rock this oneīs a real treat. Itīs very different from groups like Renaissance and Curved Air though as Jenny Haan is a very original and distinct vocalist. She seldom sings with soft angelic voices like many other female fronted acts. More about this later.

The music is a mix of hard rock and progressive more symphonic moments. A lot of the instrumental runs are done simultaniously by the guitar and piano. The music is very melodic and powerful. Most songs are melodic hard rock songs but The Runaways and the Zappa cover song King Kong are a bit different. The Runaways is the only song where Jennie Haan sings with a soft voice and here she shows she has a beautiful voice for this kind of singing too. The song is very symphonic building to a climax in the end. Very nice. As I am a big Zappa fan Iīm very happy that Babe Ruth has chosen to cover King Kong. Itīs one of the more complex Zappa themes rythmically ( well most of his songs are very complex) but Babe Ruth pulls it of with ease. There are some nice solo sections here too.

The musicians are fantastic in my ears. Especially the guitarist Alan Shacklock has a very nice feel to his playing. The most original thing here is the banshee rock mama vocals from Jenny Haan though. Iīm exaggerating a bit here as I really think she is a great singer. Iīm not normally into female rock singers as I think they often force their vocals to be raw, but Jenny Haan has attitude and plenty of it. She is a great asset to this band.

The sound quality is very good and the songs are well displayed here.

Note the beautiful Roger Dean art work too, itīs a real treat.

All in all First Base is an excellent prog rock album with lots of surprises along the way. It rocks, it has quiet moments, symphonic moments and first and foremost it has a great distinctive female singer. 4 stars is a matter of course for this brilliant little gem. Highly recommendable.

Amar Caballero:

Amar Caballero is the second album from british rock group Babe Ruth. Babe Ruthīs debut album First Base was an excellent rock album with lots of progressive tendencies ( most notably a cover of King Kong by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention) while this second album is a bit more simple and influenced by both soul and funk.

The music is highly rythmic and the rhythm section is a real treat on this album. The album is build like this: One rocker, one slow song and so fouth for the first seven songs until the last epic title track which is a latin influenced mostly instrumental spanish guitar driven song. A great ending to a good album. I enjoy the rocking tracks like Lady, Cool Jerk, Doctor Love and especially the cool Gimme Some Leg very much while the more slow soft tracks Broken Cloud, Baby Pride and We Are Holding On with their orchestra drenced harmonies are also good but not really my favorites.

The musicianship is really excellent. Try and listen to the attitude in Jenny Haanīs voice. She is just so great that lady. The rhythm section is as mentioned extremely tight and funky while main composer and guitarist/ keyboardist/ percussionist / vocalist Alan Shacklock adds lots of great guitar playing and excellent arrangements. That man is a very good guitarist which he of course already proved on the debut.

The production is really good. This is how a good seventies production sounds like.

The latin inspired cover picture isnīt especially pretty but I guess it suits itīs purpose of telling us that this is latin influenced rock music.

I really like this album even though First Base was a bit more exciting. But I fear for the future releases from the band as Amar Caballero hasnīt got much intricate progressive playing or arrangements. Above all this album rocks and thatīs nice enough but Iīm not challenged. Iīll give Amar Caballero 3 stars.

Conclusion:

While I really like First Base a lot Amar Caballero should drag my rating down a bit even though it is a good album too. On the other hand itīs a great idea to release both albums on one CD and you can see Amar Caballero as an extra treat. So somewhere between 3 or 4 stars is fair. Iīll be nice and give this great idea 4 stars.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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