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Babe Ruth - First Base CD (album) cover

FIRST BASE

Babe Ruth

 

Heavy Prog

3.66 | 100 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Home Run

Overlooked by many, this is a band who's failure to make anything of themselves after their rookie season would ultimately leave them forgotten in the greater scheme of things. It's unfortunate, since the band was so amazing on this outing, and would even go on to inspire bands whose cover songs are all that's left to give any recognition that the band ever existed at all.

Babe Ruth's music can be described as an excellent mix of '70s hard rock with typical progressive leanings voiced by a terrific female vocalist whose vocals give the album all sorts of life. The two leading forces of the band are the two sources of noise that are most prominent in the music. Vocalist Jenny Haan exercises all possible and probable vocal chords on the album as she rips through her parts switching between blood curdling shrieks and serene softer passages while guitarist/songwriter Alan Shacklock grinds his axe to produce the licks that are ever so catchy on the album. But for all those who are wondering, no, the music has nothing to do with baseball.

With such riff based rock sections it's easy to compare this band as a mix of Heavy Proggers Rush (with early 70s high-Geddy vocals) and Led Zeppelin (with the stinging riffs). Heavy and slower songs leap frog one another on the album giving it a very scattered feel which ends up being a major plus for the disc as it manages to keep attention without ever becoming boring or too over the top.

Though the band did not write all the material on this first album it sure seems like they did. The music is played with such perfection and direction that one forgives the band for not submitting all their own songs. From the opening (and curiously named) Wells Fargo were given a sonic blast from the excellent pair of vocals and guitar that doesn't let up until the end of the track. Of the other fast songs on the album none let down and they all do the job to letting heads band or nod whilst keeping the music just as it's been labeled. Heavy and progressive.

The slower songs on the album are all performed to perfection. Jenny Haan's vocals on these tracks are beautiful, providing depth and emotion to what is already a tear jerking experience. Songs which pick up to an ultimate screaming climax such as Black Dog (not a Zeppelin cover) and The Runaways are what really make the album so exceptional.

A couple of songs which don't stick to the proposed formula are also quite excellent. The Frank Zappa written King Kong is an excellently performed instrumental that is highly enjoyable while the southern twinged The Mexican is a chilling yet somehow calm song which is likely the best of the shorter tracks (later covered by German metallers, Helloween). Joker finishes off the album as a combination of the previous tracks (style wise) and it all comes seemingly too soon.

An amazing feat of Heavy Prog which was so unfortunately forgotten after the dust of the 70s settled. It's true that Babe Ruth would never top this album or really go anywhere, but this album is absolutely necessary to anyone who fancies hard rock or Heavy prog. 5 home plates out of 5!

Queen By-Tor | 5/5 |

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