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Babe Ruth - Que Pasa CD (album) cover


Babe Ruth


Heavy Prog

2.01 | 18 ratings

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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.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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