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Babe Ruth - Babe Ruth CD (album) cover


Babe Ruth


Heavy Prog

2.91 | 42 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
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.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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