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Babe Ruth - First Base CD (album) cover

FIRST BASE

Babe Ruth

 

Heavy Prog

3.71 | 139 ratings

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Vibrationbaby
5 stars Frequently overlooked by major music guides including The Great Rock Discography, The Music Hound Essental Guide To Rock, The Rough Guide To Rock and others Babe Ruth, from Hatfield , England blasted it`s way into the early seventies music scene with this appropriately titled First Base album which also featured cosmic artwork from Roger Dean. Like other bands from England such as Genesis, Gentle Giant and Supertramp they became very popular in North America particularily in Montréal, Canada.

Vocalist Janita Haan could have been Janis Joplin`s evil twin belting out song after song with the heart of Janis with her devil may care, no holds barred vocal deliveries. Guitar wizard/composer Alan Shacklock provides some heavy rythmn guitar riffing support which constitutes the basic formula throughout the album. Shacklock also throws in some lightspeed guitar solos on blues based tracks Joker and Wells Fargo which also features some searing saxwork.

The barrage lets up somewhat on the ballad-like The Runaways which features guest musicians on strings and woodwinds as well as some melodic Fender Rhodes playing. Don`t expect any Emerson-istic freakouts from keyboard player, Dave Punshun. He plays a more softer background role providing at times some jazzy soloing particularily on a cover version of Frank Zappa`s King Kong. The theme from Enninio Moricone`s Fist Full of Dollars is borrowed on The Mexican which features Spanish guitar stylings from Shacklock complemented by Punshin`s keyboard work.This track became their most well known piece and can still be heard on classic rock stations. It also gained some popularity as a dance song perhaps as a result of it`s Spanish rythmns in discotheques during the seventies!

The only caution I would issue to the listener who starts out with this LP is that the band`s subsequent albums never quite shined like First Base. Nevertheless First Base is rock n`roll time capsule material and rates 5 gold stars with this reviewer even if some of the so-called " reputable " record guides choose to ignore it.

Vibrationbaby | 5/5 |

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