Friday, June 24, 2016

Babe Ruth - 1976 - Kids Stuff

Babe Ruth 
Kids Stuff

01. Oh! Dear What A Shame 4:18
02. Welcome To The Show 5:13
03. Since You Went Away 3:37
04. Standing In The Rain 4:41
05. Sweet, Sweet Surrender 3:58
06. Oh! Doctor 3:42
07. Nickelodeon 2:46
08. Keep Your Distance 4:24
09. Living A Lie 6:06

Bass – Neil Murray (tracks: A3, B1, B5,), Ray Knott
Drums – Ed Spevock
Guitar, Vocals – Bernie Marsden
Percussion – Chris Karin* (tracks: A2, A3, B2), Tony Carr (tracks: A3, B2)
Piano, Organ, Synthesizer – Steve Gurl
Producer – Steve Rowland
Synthesizer [Moog], Organ – Don Airey (tracks: B1, B5)
Vibraphone [Vibes] – Frank Riccotti* (tracks: A3, A4)

I may as well make it clear from the outset that this is easily my favourite Babe Ruth album. That will surprise and possibly disappoint many Babe Ruth fans as they mostly see it as the weakest with the main protagonists from the band departed.

A brief explanation of how I came to purchase the album in the first place may explain all however.

Those of you that are old enough to remember the good old days of 'Record Shops' will know what I'm talking about here. The poor youngsters among you will just have to curse your bad luck for being born in a time of muti-national corporations where every High street in every town is exactly the same.

You see back in the seventies and eighties, and into the nineties too just about, things were very different. Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda (Wal-mart) etc sold bread and cheese. If you wanted records you went to a record shop or in some places like Woolworths and Boots (yes Boots the Chemist) you went to the Record Department. Okay there were some National chains still like HMV but Virgin was an Independent little place, which was great for imports I seem to remember, and every town had a couple of good privately owned little record shops, some even had massive ones. The majority of these had secondhand sections too where you could dig out all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff that someone else had grown tired of. How many of you reading this (that is of course if anyone is reading this) can remember, like me, wading through the endless racks of secondhand albums in the gloriously named 'Record & Tape Exchange' in Camden and Notting Hill Gate among other places filling in gaps in the beloved collection. It may have been more time consuming but it was much more fun than downloading them from the internet like people do nowadays.

The other thing is that in those days musicians paid their dues. They made an album every year, they played in countless bands before hitting the big time. Touring up and down the country in a beat up Bedford van. So subsequently you would find albums in the secondhand racks and be surprised by the names of musicians you knew playing in bands you'd never heard of. Because they were so cheap you bought them and thats how you got to build up a proper eclectic collection rather than 50 issues of Now Thats What I Call Music and the three albums your favourite band have released in the last 10 years that a lot of people call a collection these days.

So back to 1981 then (for that is where we were about to go before i went off on that little rant !) there I am in the aforementioned Record & Tape Exchange in Camden and I pick up 'Kid's Stuff' look at the musicians credits on the back and see one Bernie Marsden. Crikey thinks the seventeen year old know all that was me, thats the guitarist out of Whitesnake I'll buy that it'll probably be good.

Well it was good, it still is good. Whenever I play it I think of afternoons spent in the secondhand record shop when I should have been studying. The smell of the cover reminds me of the shop and of carefree happy days when the only real concern you had was where to go on Saturday night. Twenty five years from now someone who is seventeen today isn't going to be able to do that with a downloaded MP3 file, but if i'm still around I'll still have all that vinyl and the memory of finding it.

This type of album wouldn't exist today, it would never have been made in the first place. The record company would have pulled the plug and no-one would have paid to make it or promote it. There were literally hundreds of great albums like this made in the seventies if you can get your hands on them. It's not brilliant, it's not revolutionary but its also not manufactured music by numbers. It is where the people involved were at the time, the ideas they had in their heads. They recorded them and put them out in the shops before they had time to tinker too much or decided they didn't think it worked. Subsequently the albums tend to be far more interesting and differ more from each other than modern day equivelants where they take three years to write an album and another year to promote it.

Short shelf lives meant it was easy to experiment. That's what this album is like ........ it is like no other i have. It certainly isn't like Whitesnake and it's never bothered me one bit.

Martin Leedham



  2. Dear Martin,

    Wonderful story. From the datails I guess we must be of an age. Starting in 1982 I came over to the UK once a year to pilfer the bins of those record shops you mention (Notting Hill, Soho, Camden ...) mainly for jazz and brtish jazz-rock.
    I still visit the UK at least twice a year, but I've stopped visiting record stores as - indeed - the days of the individual shops where one coud still 'discover' something have long gone ...

    Thanks for the little walk down memory lane.


  3. You're commentary is spot on. Best record department of any store where I grew up in NY was Korvettes Department Stores.


    I can still remember two idiosyncracies of buying records there all through the 1970s.

    One was, they had weekly sales but not on certain titles or artists ....but certain record labels! One week, for instance, everything on A&M and Hi and Threshold and Chess would be 20% off list; a week later, it might be Warner Bros, Elektra, Asylum and Nonesuch; the week after that, Epic/Columbia/Blue Sky/Portrait; and so on. In my subsequent lifetime of crate-digging (though I never knew till recently that's what it was called) this was a marketing strategy I never encountered anywhere but Korvette's, it was their own unique marketing wrinkle.

    The other was that every week, like clockwork, on puke-colored sheets of green paper, they'd regularly update the top 100 selling singles (though only in the tristate area; not nationally), and the bottom of the page would be filled out by hot up'n'comers not yet on the list, along with a smattering of oldies available on 45 that *never* seemed to change. (Likewise, their typos were forever. For YEARS, my sister and I goofed on the early Rick Derringer single he did with the McCoys that was permalisted on those sheets as "HITCHIN'S A RIDE", always wondering who the hell Hitchin was and why he couldn't buy his own damn car, or take the bus.)

    Like everybody else who ducked into Korvettes on Friday to pick up that week's singles sheet, I sure wish I'd kept a few of 'em.