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BABE RUTH

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Babe Ruth biography
BABE RUTH was a band that formed in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, in 1971. Guitarist Alan Shacklock founded this progressive rock band. They had a rhythmic, bluesy, guitar orientated sound capped off by the blistering vocals of Jenny Hahn. Rounded out by Chris Holmes (keyboards and organ), Dave Punshon (piano), Dave Hewitt, (bass) and Dick Powell, (drums) this British band always put on a great live show.

Jennie Hahn's raw powerful vocals, and Alan Shacklock's magnificent guitar work made for a true signature sound. With very varied eclectic tastes they covererd song like FRANK ZAPPA's "King Kong", and Curtis Mayfield's "We People Darker Than Blue".

They enjoyed moderate commercial success in Britain, Canada, and the States, but were plagued by personnel problems, and lack of radio airplay. When vocalist Jennie Hahn left the band for parts unknown, the band lost direction and never regained its initial success. I became aware of them through Boston progressive radio where their great song "The Mexican" became a minor hit.

Their 1972 album "First Base", with its cover art by famed YES artist, Roger Dean, remains one of my most favorite albums to this day. I suggest you give this album a listen, because it is simply one of the best rock albums of all time.


Although long gone, BABE RUTH should never be forgotten.

In 2010 the band made a reunion tour and are still touring in 2015.

Updated by rdtprog

Babe Ruth official website

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First Base/Amar Caballero / Babe RuthFirst Base/Amar Caballero / Babe Ruth
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Babe Ruth/Stealin` Home / Babe RuthBabe Ruth/Stealin` Home / Babe Ruth
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Grand Slam - The Best Of Babe RuthGrand Slam - The Best Of Babe Ruth
Parlophone 2004
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First BaseFirst Base
Import
Repertoire 1995
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Que PasaQue Pasa
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First Babe (Replica Gatefold Sleeve)First Babe (Replica Gatefold Sleeve)
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101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
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Babe RuthBabe Ruth
Harvest Records
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BABE RUTH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BABE RUTH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.70 | 127 ratings
First Base
1972
2.62 | 36 ratings
Amar Caballero
1973
2.93 | 33 ratings
Babe Ruth
1975
2.49 | 27 ratings
Stealin' Home
1975
1.63 | 17 ratings
Kid's Stuff
1976
2.01 | 18 ratings
Que Pasa
2007

BABE RUTH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BABE RUTH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BABE RUTH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 3 ratings
The Best Of Babe Ruth
1977
2.17 | 3 ratings
Greatest Hits
1981
2.91 | 8 ratings
Grand Slam: The Best of Babe Ruth
1995
3.58 | 10 ratings
First Base / Amar Caballero
1998
3.27 | 7 ratings
Babe Ruth / Stealin' Home
2000

BABE RUTH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

BABE RUTH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 First Base by BABE RUTH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.70 | 127 ratings

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First Base
Babe Ruth Heavy Prog

Review by jmeadow

4 stars Babe Ruth's debut album First Base is quite something. An English band from Hatfield in Hertfordshire with a lead singer who was only 19 when the album was released, yet they sound like they've spent their formative years drinking whiskey in ramshackle bars along the US-Mexican border. And somehow the album feels completely authentic. This is an album of pace, energy, emotion - excellent musicianship and an incredible vocal performance. Includes the absolute classics 'Black Dog' and 'The Mexican'. It amazes me that this album is not more well-known.

For me this is a more of a proggy album, then a bone fide progressive rock record - but most tracks are relatively long (5-8 mins), contain experimental sections and show the influence of blues and jazz. There's even a cover of Frank Zappa's 'King Kong'. I give this 4 stars only because I think it's more of a rock classic than a prog rock classic, but if you like classic rock then you really should have this album in your collection.

 First Base by BABE RUTH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.70 | 127 ratings

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First Base
Babe Ruth Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Babe Ruth would shift from being a hard-edged progressive rock band to being a hard rock band with a few progressive touches on subsequent albums, but this debut finds them at their proggiest, with a capable cover version of Frank Zappa's King Kong - one of the most intricate and technically challenging compositions from the original Mothers of Invention era - demonstrating their strong capabilities as a group. The album's sound is unique in the band's back catalogue due to the aforementioned hard rock emphasis of their subsequent releases, which is a shame because had they persisted in this direction I think they could have been major names on the prog scene.
 Stealin' Home by BABE RUTH album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.49 | 27 ratings

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Stealin' Home
Babe Ruth Heavy Prog

Review by maryes

2 stars BABE RUTH "Stealin' Home" is (in my humble opinion) an album which only figures in P A pages, because make part of band discography, due the music in "Stealin' Home" is far from something in terms of progressive-rock... in fact is only a reasonable hard-rock album. In attempt do not be so rigid, I can mention very brief moments in whole album, which seems close of progressive music, in the track 4 "Two Thousand Sunsets" a ballad where the progressive impression is more made by the strings arrangements and not by the band execution, the track 8 "Caught At The Plate" a type of dialogue between the electric-piano and the synthesizer. I don't consider this 2 moments enough to recommend this disk for none prog fan. My Rate is only 2 stars !!!
 First Base by BABE RUTH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.70 | 127 ratings

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First Base
Babe Ruth Heavy Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars In their first studio album "First Base",the British band BABE RUTH presents a hard-bluesy prog sonority, but in my point of view in spite the album bring to the audience some great musical moments like in the track 3 "King Kong" , track 4 "Black Dog" and the track 5 "The Mexican" , where the band shows their great skill in terms of execution and composition... the other tracks that compound the album suffer a very common problem which affect other bands of same period, the tendency to use repetitive rhythms and almost none variations, a good example of this tendency is the last track "Joker" where the rhythmic section arrangement are very boring. Therefore, although I recognise the great capacity of the musicians ( like I said before), my rate is only 3 stars !!! However, I want stand out that this album figures in my collection !
 Amar Caballero by BABE RUTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.62 | 36 ratings

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Amar Caballero
Babe Ruth Heavy Prog

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The name Babe Ruth has a different meaning depending on whom you ask, and some music aficionados will direct you to this English hard rock group, likely to their debut album FIRST BASE. I happened to get the clean-up album AMAR CABALLERO first, a decision that hasn't been that rewarding.

Let's start with the standout great track of the album that is the one that gives AMAR CABALLERO its title. I've heard their song ''The Mexican'' and this sounds sort of like a sequel to that song (the peppy middle section anyway). The nine-minute mini-epic flows rather smoothly and the acoustic guitar ballad at the beginning puts the listener in the right mood. Fantastic finish.

But where to go with the rest of the album?..it sounds like Babe Ruth couldn't decide if they wanted to be Parliament crossed with Motown or Renaissance without a rhythm section. The quiet ballads (''Broken Cloud'', ''We Are Holding On'' and ''Baby Pride'') are below average to put it nicely. The others are mediocre at best including a couple of forays into some of the most unbearable vocals on the heavy prog circuit. Maybe there was humour intended, but it makes no difference with me if I've already curled into a cringing position.

If you really want to hear the prog rock in this, just get the title track unless you have a penchant for subpar Motown funk-rock. The band sounds absolutely confused on which musical direction to take, and the listener absorbs this confusion almost by default.

 First Base by BABE RUTH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.70 | 127 ratings

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First Base
Babe Ruth Heavy Prog

Review by Sagichim
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars I have known this album years before i got into progressive rock and never consider it to be more than a good rock album. there are some prog elements here but i wouldn't call it a prog rock album. what presented here are great rock songs with every song has the addition of an element making it more interesting than your usual rock album , like the addition of brass like trumpet , saxophone , oboe , violins or some piano and keys. the band likes to include some latin tinged lines and some intricate jazzy riffs with their rocking guitar on top. they fuses their rock songs with some ballads which gives the whole album a more varied atmosphere. but what's holding this album , for me , being more complete is the fact that some of the songs are streched too much just of the sake of being long , which kind of making the album loose its punch.

'wells fargo' openes the album with a terrific start , this one sounds much more complete from the rest , and is a good example of the band showing their style adding the trumpet in the mix and turning the track to a full blown party!! great stuff and i wish they kept doing it like this. another good example for making it right is 'king kong' showing their intricate jazzy lines executed with guitar , keys and piano all together , very good . this song being instrumental contains solos of keys and guitar , all good. but tracks like 'the runaways' , 'black dog' , 'joker' all suffer from over extensivness ( which is a common disease ) when actually nothing is happening , and the song looses it's effectiveness , bringing the album down. although they are good songs with good ideas they could have been so much better. especially the runaways with its beautiful melody carried out with piano and some orchestra instruments . gentle and beautiful but would be better and to the point if it were shorter. another thing is vocals , sung by janita haan are not that great , she's not a bad singer but i don't like her when she strain her self , comparing her to janis joplin is an insult.

This is a nice addition to anyone's collection. 3 stars.

 First Base by BABE RUTH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.70 | 127 ratings

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First Base
Babe Ruth Heavy Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars Can't say that I like the likes of Wells Fargo, but I suppose it's a good energic Jazz song. I like next one more, The Runaways is a ballad of some kind and even if it's not, it is for me. Long, with second half graduating in a same way as "Starship Trooper by Yes is. King Kong is a long jamming piece which doesn't forget to Rock. Just don't think of fellow UK'rs Led Zeppelin, when listening to Black Dog - this song is completely different and the song, Janita's vocals even more, reminds me of Sandrose, while The Mexican simply is. Nothing more needs to be about the song. And Joker? Fine ending piece I say. Good album,
 Kid's Stuff by BABE RUTH album cover Studio Album, 1976
1.63 | 17 ratings

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Kid's Stuff
Babe Ruth Heavy Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Well, I finally found a copy of this album after waiting for years to give it a chance. A friend got a remastereed CD version and I must say that Kid┬┤s Stuff was not nearly as bad as I initially thought it would be based on the ratings this record got here at PA. By this time the band had lost the two last original members, singer Janita Haan and bassist Dave Hewitt. With Bernie Mardsen as their leader now they moved on recruiting Ellie Hope and Ray Knot their replacements. The results? Well, not really their best LP ever. But not really bad either. There are some good stuff, but generally the feelingof losing Haan was too much.

Hope has a good blues voice, but replacing an iconic and powerhouse singer like Haan was really beyond most mortal beings. Besides, the band seemed unsure on which way to go musically too (a problem that plagued Babe Ruth for far too long, and together with the constat line up changes, pratically destroyed their chances to made it big after their stunning debut a few years before). So while most of the tracks are good hard rockers, there is some funky and soul stuff creeping in too but NOT disco as some reviewer here claimed. You know, there is a difference between funky and soul to disco, specially the bass and drums patterns and definitly, Babe Ruth did nothing disco in their career. But the black danceable rhythms were indeed featured both on Kid┤s Stuff and, to a lesser extent, to their previous one. Songs like Sweet Sweet Surrender, Oh Doctor and Since You Went Away are very much influenced by those musical forms. If you┬┤re open minded person and/or like funky stuff, you┬┤ll see they are quite good. However, overall I feel Kid┬┤s Stuff lacking a strong musical direction. Their previous album, Stealin┬┤Home, was varied, but was much more focused and the repertoire was way stronger (not ot mention Haan┬┤s presence!).

Still there is at least one great number here, the closing Living A Lie, not only an excelent blues rock sample but surely one of their best songs ever (and oddly enough, sung by Marsden, who takes over lead vocal duties on several tunes). The only prog connection here might be the instrumental Nickelodeon, a short, nice, keyboard only track. While the tracklist overall isn┬┤t great, there is not hacks either (as long as you like the funk and soul stuff, which I do). Marsden would eventually join David Coverdale┬┤s Whitesnake, where this mix of styles would be far more succesful).

Conclusion: nice blues/rock/funk record, but nothing more. Not on par with Babe Ruth┬┤s debut (whcih, by the way, none from their discography is) and sorely missing Janita Haan┬┤s distinctive voice. Not much prog here either. Final rating: something between 2 and 2.5 stars.

 Amar Caballero by BABE RUTH album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.62 | 36 ratings

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Amar Caballero
Babe Ruth Heavy Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I wouldn't categorize this band as Heavy Prog! Well, I've only heard their two first (and most classic) albums, and neither of them is very heavy as a whole, especially not this one. It's not directly prog rock either, instead one hears various musical styles such as funk and jazz here - which nevertheless justifies calling it a proggy album. The proggiest one is the 3-part 'Amar Caballero' which includes nice Spanish approach.

I enjoy some songs on both albums, not all. Janita Haan is a rather ballsy female vocalist, comparable to Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane and the singer in an obscure early 70's band Affinity. But she's quite flexible too, as this album demonstrates. She's great on calm pieces ('Amar' and beautiful, mysterious-feeling 'Broken Cloud'), though her voice could be mixed more up front there. Surprisingly I like also the funky opener 'Lady' (in general I'm not fond of funk). It has really delicious horny and jazzy sound. The rest of the album leaves me quite cold. The production is uneven. I'm giving this 2Ż stars, rounded up due to the rare atmosphere of 'Broken Cloud' and the closer's Spanish touch one don't hear too often.

 Que Pasa by BABE RUTH album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.01 | 18 ratings

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Que Pasa
Babe Ruth Heavy Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

2 stars Here is a blatant attempt to cash in on lingering sentiment toward the band by middle- agers with fond memories of youth spent listening to the radio back when Babe Ruth records occasionally graced the airwaves, particularly "The Mexican" and to a lesser extent "Wells Fargo", both from the band's first and only decent album way back in 1972.

Apparently the original group's music has been adopted by various artists and fans of the hip-hop community in recent years, and the band seems to have decided there was enough interest to mount a couple of reunion tours and festival appearances, and certainly a new studio release for the merch table was a wise commercial decision as well.

This is decent music I suppose if you're a hip-hop freak or just generally a fan of harder dance-based rock music, but its certainly a long, long ways away from the group's Latin and blues-tinged heavy prog of their earliest days. The shift isn't so surprising I suppose, given their transition from rock to pop-dance band over the course of five albums released during the seventies. That transition was complete by the time they released the lackluster 'Kid's Stuff' in 1978 with no original members remaining at that point, and given several members of that final lineup rebranded themselves as the post-disco group Liquid Gold before dissolving altogether, this latest sound could probably have been predicted.

Pretty much every track here was penned by guitarist Alan Shacklock, and the lineup is the same as that from the band's 1972 debut with the exception of drummer Ed Spevok who appeared on all but the group's first studio release. None of the songs really stand out, although I must admit Shacklock is a pretty good guitar player and distinguishes himself on a couple songs like "Doncha Wanna Dance" (power chords), "Killer Smile" (Latin fingering) and "The Blues" (anthem blues rock). Otherwise most of the songs are dance tunes with smatterings of rock sensibilities, Latin influences and occasional jazzy piano tinkling. The band also revisits their biggest hit "The Mexican" with a fairly faithful remake titled "Mexican Millennium (Part 1)" that adds a persistent and thudding dance beat. Haan's vocals throughout are serviceable, but she has clearly lost some of the gritty toughness and range of her younger days (who hasn't though, really).

The band always seemed to include at least one or two covers in their early days and this album is no exception, in this case a decent rework of the 1960 Shadows instrumental "Apache". That song has been redone ad infinitum over the years by everyone from Jeff Beck to Vanilla Ice including numerous samplings on hip-hop and rap records dating as far back as the early eighties. This accounts for only a couple minutes of the hour-long record, and I suppose was included as a nod to the band's new generation of hip-hop fans.

I can't say this is a terrible album since the musicianship is fairly good and Haan's vocals are still impressive even if she has lost several steps since her youth. But this is not progressive music by any stretch, and only vaguely resembles the sounds that made the band's reputation those many decades ago. More power to them for having a go after all these years, but I can't say this is anything more than a collector's piece for ardent fans and therefore rates no more than two of five stars and not much of a recommendation from me.

peace

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Joolz for the last updates

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