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Babe Ruth - Amar Caballero CD (album) cover

AMAR CABALLERO

Babe Ruth

 

Heavy Prog

2.59 | 29 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars He's out! No, wait! Safe! Safe at second base...

A hit and a near miss for Babe Ruth coming into their sophomore output. After their magnificent debut, will they be able to follow up with an equally good album this time around? The short answer is no. The long answer is coming up. Like their debut, this album is styled around heavy rock inspired by the more hard rocking bands of the time while trying to be a competitor with Zeppelin while adding progressive leanings and a harsh Mexican twinge. Strange indeed for a British band. Noticeable right off the bat (no pun intended) with this album is the cover art. Their debut sported a very unique Roger Dean sleeve, this one has a bunch of horses with a little snippet of their previous art in the bottom corner. The little man holding the bat almost screaming out, Hey! We're Babe Ruth! Remember us?

This album is best described as uneven. In the same way as looking at the career stats of any baseball team, there's very high and very low points to this album. Ultimately and unfortunately the low parts do manage to take their toll on the overall scheme of things, making the album come off as not as good as it could be. In terms of structure on the album the songs are shorter (with exceptions), there's more sense of humor to them and they're (generally) not quite as dark or moody as we're used to from the band. Jenny Haan is still a more than capable vocalist, her voice giving life to all of the songs, and Shacklock still knows how to write a mean riff. There's also less cover material on this album than their debut, with only two songs not having been written by the band.

The good songs on the album are very good. Just as we've come to expect from the band powerhouses like the opener Lady with it's strong vocals, the emotional and dark Broken Cloud remind us why the band has such potential. Also notable on the first side is the slow and melancholic Baby Pride with its touching piano makes for a wonderful way to end a side.

The first side is the stronger of the two, but even it has it's flaws. The longest song on the first side is unfortunately ripe with problems as Gimme Some Leg has a very unimpressive and lacking riff which doesn't help the song move forwards very much. Haan's voice is the one redeeming thing about the song, but even it is cut off at points by a strange backing vocal that is perhaps supposed to be funny but doesn't work out that way. Where the band before excelled at being dead serious this is a curveball which will unexpectedly hit the listener forcing them to walk.

Moving onto the second side we have two of the best and two of the worst songs by the band to this point in their career. Opening with the surf-riff driven Cool Jerk (which sounds suspiciously like the cool whip jingle) we're treated to a song which is actually a cover done by the band... but why? Not at all impressive and a track best skipped. Luckily it's the shortest song on the album. Doctor Love is another song best avoided, nothing memorable about this one. However, sandwiched between the two mediocre/bad tracks is a real gem. The instrumental We Are Holding On is a wonderful (if short) track with intricate and delicate pianos and guitars played emotionally to make a classic track for the band.

Save the best the for last it seems, as coming into the end we're treated with an excellent suite. The title track Amar Caballero is an excellent 9-minute tour de force of sheer joy. Everything the band does well is represented here, and tough the vocals only make appearances for the first third of the song (also a little bit in the second part) they're easily forgiven as Shacklock takes us away on a voyage not soon forgotten. Part B of the song sees it's highest point with Haan screaming out in the background as Shacklock riffs away. The end of the song has a slow and smooth conclusion which brings the album to it's end.

So while there's songs worth a full 5 stars on the album there's also songs that bring questions to mind. Still this is a good album worthy of your time if you enjoyed their first album. Maybe not perfect like their debut, but that was a hard act to follow up on. 3 stars! Very good when it's good, disappointing when it's not. Recommended to fans of the debut and anyone who wants to hear a Mexican (though British) flavored Led Zeppelin With more prog and a female singer.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |

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