Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth are a rock music group, primarily active through the 1970s, from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. Their characteristically ‘heavy’ sound is marked by powerful vocals from Janita (Jenny) Haan and full arrangements by Alan Shacklock.

When the group was first formed in 1971 they were called Shacklock after their guitarist Alan Shacklock. Members included Janita Haan and Dave Hewitt, with Dave Punshon and Dick Powell later joining. The first release was their single “Elusive”; their first album, First Base, went gold in Canada.

In 1973, Ed Spevock replaced Powell and Chris Holmes replaced Punshon on the second album. In 1975, Steve Gurl, keyboardist from Glenn Cornick’s Wild Turkey replaced Holmes for the third album. The same year, Shacklock exited and Bernie Marsden (Wild Turkey) joined the team for the fourth album. After this, Haan and Hewitt left.

Though no original member remained, the group incorporated Ellie Hope and Ray Knott for the fifth album in 1976. Shortly before Babe Ruth disbanded, they were joined by the young 17 year old Birmingham born Simon Lambeth who made a few appearances on their last tour. Lambeth’s hauntingly naive sound on rhythm guitar, behind the lead of Marsden, promised much but sadly it was too late; Marsden moved on to bigger things and joined Whitesnake. Simon changed careers and sadly was lost to the music scene.

Ellie Hope did an outstanding job on the lp and later had a solo effort in the booming disco era but later efforts are hard to pin down.

A disco cover of Babe Ruth’s classic “The Mexican” appeared in the late 70s, performed by the Bombers. This version inspired an electro/freestyle cover produced by John Jellybean Benitez in 1984, for which he managed to recruit Haan on vocals – the cover subsequently becoming noted for its popularity as an underground dance hit.

Between late 2005 and early 2006, Haan (now Janita Haan Morris), Shacklock, Punshon, and Hewitt recorded new material together in Nashville  with Spevock recording his drums in London. The album, titled Que Pasa, was completed September 2006, and after being made available in digital form via the band’s official web site, was released on Revolver Records in 2009.

It was however a bargain buy purchase of their 1977 “Best Of” album from Hall Audio in Dumbarton (thank you Jane) which brought them to my attention.

At the time I was into the Spaghetti Westerns in a big way so their cover of “For A Few Dollars More” was a big attraction.

“For A Few Dollars More” – Babe Ruth

However the pleasing aspect for me was the voice of Janita (Jenny) Haan

which had a depth and strength which echoed the great Maggie Bell as demonstrated by this lung burster.

“The Duchess Of New Orleans” – Babe Ruth

They could probably have had more commercial success if they had added more of a “pop” edge to their sound as illustrated by the cover below, but that would have removed their originality.

“Private Number” – Babe Ruth 

To buy the music of Babe Ruth click HERE

For more information visit these two great fan run sites :-

http://www.bobbyshred.com/baberuth.html

http://www.baberuthband.co.uk

Footnote:-

I came across Alan Shacklock again when he produced Roger Daltrey’s solo album “Under A Raging Moon” co-writing with Daltrey the following track.

“It Don’t Satisfy Me” – Roger Daltrey

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March 10, 2010 - Posted by | Blast from The Past, Old Music, The Who, Video | , , ,

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