Friday, June 24, 2016

Babe Ruth - 1972 - First Base

Babe Ruth 
First Base

01. Wells Fargo
02. The Runaways
03. King Kong
04. Black Dog
05. The Mexican
06. Joker
07. Wells Fargo (7 Inch Version)
08. Theme From 'For A Few Dollars More'

Bass – Dave Hewitt
Cello – Boris Rickleman, Clive Anstee, Manny Fox
Cello [Lead] – Peter Halling
Congas, Bongos, Cabasa [Kabasa] – Caspar Lawal
Drums, Percussion – Dick Powell
Electric Piano, Piano – Dave Punshon
Guitar, Vocals, Organ, Percussion – Alan Shacklock
Oboe – Harry Mier
Saxophone – Brent Carter
Vocals – Janita Haan

Formed as Shacklock (named after guitarist and main composer Alan Shacklock), Babe Ruth originated from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK, fronted by the mad female singer Janita "Jenny" Haan and featuring also Dave Hewitt on bass, Dave Punshon on keyboards and Dick Powell on drums (replacing original drummer Jeff Allen), as they headed for their debut album ''First base'' (1972, Harvest).While by no means a progressive band, their debut contained some proggy vibes, coming as a mix of Hard/Psych Rock and Jazz Rock, a bit similar to Catapilla.A couple of tracks just rock hard, but the rest of the album is characterized by some unusual sax lines, lots of electric piano and organ and lyrical weirdness, often entering the free realms of instrumental jazziness, coming in contrast with Haan's ruspy vocals.''King kong'' and ''Black dog'' especially stand out for their delicate structures, tireless jazzy solos and harder moves on guitar, even if ''The mexican'' was the hit of the band.Soft grooves, angular guitars next to psychedelic keyboards and some decent interplays throughout.The album became gold in Canada and was also praised warmly in the USA, but failed to attract the British audience.These progressive touches faded away with each of the upcoming albums, as the band was struck by several line-up changes until its dissolution in 1976.They reformed in 2005 and recorded a brand new album, while continuing to perform live after 30 years.

You're ridin' shotgun with Babe Ruth... over land, to the Rio Grande. First Base comes up short of hitting for the cycle, but the group point the thin handle Louisville Slugger at the right field wall, and subsequently goes deep on the furious album opener, "Wells Fargo", making this disc well worth the price of admission. Rounding the bases behind a killer riff, accented by a scorching sax solo and the inspired vocals of lil' Jenny Haan, Babe Ruth take a vicious swing on "Wells Fargo", as they head for the Mexican border. It's a wild six-minute and thirteen-second at bat, that results in a round-tripper. Touch 'em all! Toss back a healthy shot of tequila, and chase it with "Wells Fargo" jacked to the max. In addition to the wild album opener, the six-song First Base recording features a collection of extended cuts that are highlighed by "The Runaways" and "The Mexican". At well over five-minutes, "The Mexican" is the shortest track from Babe Ruth's debut album, which evenly distributes three songs per side.



  2. Love your blog. You might well be aware of this little fact but The Mexican was played heavily during the early days of hip hop, especially the Morricone section. I first heard of Babe Ruth from a breakdance mix tape which featured it. Keep up the good work!