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Babe Ruth

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Babe Ruth Babe Ruth album cover
2.95 | 50 ratings | 8 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dancer (6:01)
2. Somebody's Nobody (3:06)
3. A Fistful Of Dollars (2:40)
4. We People Darker Than Blue (4:47)
5. Jack-O-Lantern (3:25)
6. Private Number (3:40
7. Turquoise (3:11)
8. Sad But Rich (3:56)
9. The Duchess Of Orleans (5:02)

Total Time: 35:48

Line-up / Musicians

- Janita Haan / vocals, bells
- Alan Shacklock / guitars, Mellotron, Moog, percussion, vibes, vocals
- Steve Gurl / keyboards, Moog, grand piano
- Dave Hewitt / bass, fuzz bass
- Ed Spevock / drums, percussion

- Angelito Perez / congas (3,7)

Releases information

Artwork: Paul May

LP Harvest ‎- SHSP 4038 (1975, UK)

CD One Way Records ‎- S21 56845 (1993, US)
CD Beat Goes On - BGOCD 491 (2000, UK) Together with "Stealin' Home" on one disc
CD Harvest ‎- TOCP-70352 (2008, Japan) Remastered by Peter Mew

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BABE RUTH Babe Ruth ratings distribution

(50 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

BABE RUTH Babe Ruth reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars WHOOOAAA .!! Finally this band is added in this site. I have been thinking about the band about the prog-ness of its music for so long. And the result, I did not dare to propose it as a prog band because, I think, the music is best categorized as classic rock band altogether with Spooky Tooth, Blind Faith, Tea, The Mountain, etc. But it's now here, so I'd better give my words about this album.

I knew the band the first time through a compilation cassette by our local music magazine that was very popular in the seventies in my country: "Aktuil". The compilation cassette was titled "Rock Vibration" where the opening track (I remember vividly) was "Music Box" by Popol Ace. The Babe Ruth's song featured in this compilation was "The Duchess of Orleans". Wow man .!!! This track is really wonderful and I still like it very much even until today. It starts with a church organ sound followed with powerful vocal by Janita Haan in low register notes in a very melodic way. I bet you like it at first listen because the melody really sticks into your heart! The song moves slowly to higher register notes where the voice of Janita is similar with Geddy Lee's of Rush. The guitar solo is also stunning. I guarrantee that when you listen to this song, you will tend to repeat this song over and over. That what happens to me. I really love this song. It's a masterpiece and legendary song with brilliant composition, memorable melody that goes deep into your heart and it may produce some tears in your eyes (I used to call it in my locality language as "mbrebes mili"). Try it if you never heard the song. This song was the one that coloured my teenage years altogether with other melodic classic rock tunes like: "Hazy Colour" by Tea, "Late Again" by Stealers Wheel, "Sail Away" by Deep Purple, "Music Box" by Popol Ace, "Thank You" by Led Zeppelin, "The Wizard" by Uriah Heep, "Fanfare" by Earth and Fire, "Musician" by Silver, "Someone" by Grand Funk Railroad and even "I'd Rather Go Blind" by Chicken Shack. Oh man .. what a great memories !!!!

As far as "The Duchess of Orleans" it's a wonderful track but the overall album I will give three stars rating. The other tracks are good classic rock track, I would say. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars I wonder how many other people besides me thought Juanita Haan sounded a fair bit like Annie Wilson? Not that Babe Ruth as a whole sounds much like Heart from the same time period, but Haan and Wilson sure have some strong vocal similarities. Maybe a tiny bit of Janis Joplin too I suppose, since that is clearly who Ms. Haan is trying to emulate.

On the other hand Babe Ruth, while probably not technically a prog band, sure had a distinctive sound. The guitar licks are pretty typically mid-seventies hard rock stuff, and the rhythm section isn’t all that unique or interesting (in fact the drummer and bassist remind me a lot of the band Free). But Ms. Haan’s vocals are strong, passionate and ear-catching, and the keyboardist gives the band an edge over a hundred more run-of- the-mill seventies American hard rock groups.

As far as I know there were no hit singles off this album, and in general the band was probably in decline by the time this released, with “The Mexican” far behind them, and their last album dotted with some rather dubious covers, the most egregious of which was the Capitols Motown hit “Cool Jerk” a half-decade before the Go-Gos made the same mistake. There is a cover here as well, also an R&B tune – the sixties Curtis Mayfield civil rights anthem “We People Darker than Blue”, which by the way has some of the best low-key funk bass and guitars on this album.

The Joplin influence really stands out on “Jack O’Lantern”, but the tempo almost drifts into Meat Loaf territory. Here again the guitar work stands out, but more as fast-paced blues than Detroit funk.

“Private Number” and “Sad But True” are straightahead rock tunes, while “Turquiose” and “Somebody’s Nobody” both feature Spanish guitar, syncopated percussion, and an overall south-of-the-border feel ala Linda Ronstadt, but maybe with a little tequila in her.

The closing “Duchess of New Orleans” also has the border feel, but here its courtesy a couple electric guitars and Ms. Haan’s Cher imitation vocals. I actually like this song for its dominant electric organ, heavy bass, and soaring rhythm guitar, but its definitely not progressive music, so be warned if that’s what you’re expecting.

Of the four Babe Ruth albums I’ve heard I’d rate their debut first, then this one. If you can only get one, get the debut; otherwise, I’d recommend this one as well for fans of blues rock, heavy keyboard music, and strong and soulful female vocals. Three stars.


Review by Sean Trane
2 stars 2.5 stars eally!!

After a very average debut and a a slightly better sophomore album, BR suffered their first line-up change in the person of drummer Ed Spevock (ex-Pete Brown & Piblokto) and keyboardist Steve Gurl (from Tull spin-off Wild Turkey) this third album was most likely the third strike for them. Indeed they had had John Peel's backing and appeared on the Old Grey Whistle Test, and yet could only garner very modest sales, and to be quite truthful, it is little wonder of why. Not being malignant here, but with the incredible offer of superb and wide spectrum of rock (ranging from prog to blues to jazz rock), you had to have something rather special to make your place in the sun, which BR sort of lacked. Blues-rock and heavily riff-based groups like them, Budgie, XXXX etc; were fifteen a dozen, and obviously they got lost in the shuffle, often overshadowed by more talent-less bands like Status Quo and the like. And the pretentious artwork wasn't fooling many either and even inducing possible fans into error.

After the pedestrian (and way toooo leeeeengthy) Dancer and the averagey-average Somebody's Nobody (engaging song titles, right?), BR returns to their Ennio Morricone themes with the instrumental Fistful Of Dollars. If this reprise provided a bit of breathing space from Haan's gritty vocals, it was not really that good and a bit short. On the A side, only the Curtis Mayfield cover of People Darker Than Blue (progressively adapted and rearranged) rises above the general boredom level, with a special ambiance that makes it unlikely that the track could've been written by a Motown artiste.

But unfortunately it is not the slew of average tracks to come that will better things with Jack O Lantern and Private Number (another cover) follows the unoriginal hard- blues rock vein of their debut and the start of this album. A little more breathing space in the Flamenco-laced Turquoise, where BR pulls a credible Carmen impression, but the Spevock-written Sad But Rich plunges again to their blues rock old tricks. The closer Duchess Of Orleans is the only other track of interest (three of nine is simply too few even if a correct batting average at the plate, it is minor league stuff for our beloved Archives), easily the most pleasing track on the album with its mellotron washes and drama, but it sounds slightly forced too, Haan's vocals not being that suited for prog "epics".

Three strikes and you're out: with Amar Caballero, and some tracks from their debut and this one, the count was 2 strikes and one ball and yet no hit. Shacklock (the main and almost sole writer) would then leave the squad, but let's face it, they were definitely not fighting to remain in the first division anyway.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars By the time Babe Ruth´s third, self titled, album was out, the band was in the middle of a big identidy crisis, or so it seems. After all the experimentalism displayed on Amar Caballero, Babe Ruth simply seemed lost. Each track points a different way and the whole CD sounds directionless.

Tracks like Dancer, Jack O´Lanter and Sad But Rich are hard rockers of some respect, but the last two sound a bit forced and the former, a bit too long. Torquoise is a beautiful acoustic number. Highlight are The Dutchess Of New Orleans and the cover of Curtis Mayfield´s People Darker Than Blue, both with excellent arrnagements and great performances, specially Janita Haan´s vocals. On the other hand Private Number is the kind of bubblegum glam rock of the time, utterly unsuited for the band style. Even the new arrangement for Ennio Morricone´s A Fistuful Os Dollars (echoes of their greatest song The Mexican?) does not work.

With all that it is no surprise that some decisions had to be made for the next release. By then Alan Chacklock was out and Bernie Mardsen took over guitar duties. That would revive, briefly, the band in the very good (but underrated) Stealin´Home..

Babe Ruth is a transitional record, with some good tracks and some that does not work. They still could play good, but this is surely not one of their best, to say the least. Try First Base or Stealín´Home before hearing this one. 2 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars After such a tranquil album as "Amar Caballero", "Babe Ruth" is coming back with a more serious and rocking album.

Several songs have this heavy-blues feling which are dominated by the wonderful, the powerful voice from Janita Haan whom I have compared several times with Janis Joplin ("We People Darker Than Blue").

Before that song, the album started with a fine and heavy rocker: medium tempo, hard riffs and again, a superb vocal exercise from Janita. She is really outstanding in her job. The other band member who is deserving a mention here is definitely the keyboards player, Steve Gurl.

But this promising opener, is followed by an average funky-pop tune which brings us unfortunately back on earth ("Somebody's Nobody"). We'll get even lower with "A Fistful Of Dollars". The band already played a Morricone theme on their debut, but this one is pretty hard to listen to.

Another good song from this album is the upbeat rocking "Jack O' Lantern" although it reminds me seriously "Hang On To Yourself" (from Bowie) but the problem of this work is that good songs are submerged by some real poor ones. The nadir being the hard to bear country-rock "Private Number". Press next.

Some fresh Spanish guitar is the highlight of T"urquoise", but this gentle acoustic part is far from what can be expected from a band that is categorized as heavy-prog although "Babe Ruth" gets us there with "Sad But Rich". An infectious guitar riff and heavy bass finally turn me on. Janis's phantom is also hanging over this good track.

The closing "Duchess Of Orleans" is a fine way to close this work. Beautiful mellotron lines, poignant vocals as usual of course and superb guitar are all combined and guarantee a strong delivery. It is one of the best songs from this "Babe Ruth" album. To summarize my opinion, I would say that this album holds some good songs but some weak ones as well. The balance being quite easy actually. An average album (five out of ten) rounded down to two stars. It is slightly better than "Amar Caballero" though.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Babe Ruth is the third full-length studio album from UK ( Hatfield, Hertfordshire) rock act Babe Ruth. I was really impressed with the debut from Babe Ruth called First Base (1972) while my response to their second album Amar Caballero (1973) weren´t quite as enthusiastic even though that album was pretty good too. For me Babe Ruth is a return to form for the band and a really good album. There are a couple of flaws that keeps it from being really excellent though.

The style of music Babe Ruth plays is hard rock with a few jazz, latin and progressive rock elements. Their style reminds me a bit of a mix between Wishbone Ash ( There´s a Rub), early Thin Lizzy and early Rush ( the debut album and especially the way that Jenny Haan and Geddy Lee sings) with a few added progressive moments.

The album starts out very well with Dancer and Somebody´s Nobody. Two powerful rock tracks where Jenny Haan´s powerful and distinct voice really shines and we get to hear some really great hard rock riffing. The third track called A Fistful Of Dollars is an instrumental song with a western theme. Pretty good that one. We People Darker Than Blue is a mid paced song where Jenny Haan shows that she can also sing a bit more softy ( well not to soft). Lots of good moments in that song. Jack-O- Lantern is another fast rocker and a great track. Private Number is my least favorite on the album and kind of a sleazy commercial song IMO. Turquoise is the most latin influenced song on the album with it´s Spanish guitar. Not a favorite either but a good song. The two last songs on the album Sad But Rich and The Duchess of Orleans are good songs as well without showing quite the same power as the first couple of songs on the album.

The musicianship is excellent. Great interplay and sharp hard rock riffing. Jenny Haan needs a special mention. A real rock mama with attitude. I really like her vocal style. Very powerful.

The production is excellent and brings out the power in the music well.

Babe Ruth is an album that shows both the great sides and the more trivial sides of Babe Ruth. I think it´s a bit of a disappointment that they couldn´t keep the momentum from the first five songs on the whole album because I would have rated the album 4 stars if it had been so. As the second part of the album isn´t as exciting I can only give a 3 star rating. It´s still a good album and recommendable to hard rock fans though.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Third album of discrete band from UK, Babe Ruth didn't manage to hit big times with previous albums, this one, at least to me is their best, many considered a total failure, Babe Ruth here creats the true heavy prog sound of mid '70's. released in 1975 selftitled, has some good moments, even great in places, like instrumental A Fistful Of Dollars, opening track Dancer. They sound here close to Wishbone Ash for ex more rocking but keeping progressive elements in their sound. Maybe not a great album, but for sure more pleasent and more diverse then first album, and to me their best for sure. Sometimes the voice of Janita Haan remind me of Janis Joplin in places, she did again agood job. While they manage to have a moderate succes in prog zone, they puled some decent albums, one of them is this one. Graced by an excellent cover art, one of my fav btw, make me give3.5 rounded to 4, personal reasons, even the album is lacking in great atmospher for some of the listners.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Babe Ruth was one of those bands that had a sound all there own. Original, unpredictable and HEAVY!! This band is burned into my memory forever with the tracks Jack'o'Lantern, A Fist FOD, and We People Who Are Darker than Blue. And a couple of others from other Babe Ruth Albums. But this al ... (read more)

Report this review (#55468) | Posted by | Wednesday, November 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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