Babe Ruth

Darker Than Blue – The Harvest Years 1972-1975


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Babe Ruth was formed Iin Hatfield in 1970 by guitarist Alan Shacklock and featured vocalist Janita “Jenny” Haan, bassist Dave Hewitt and drummer Jeff Allen. Their unique brand of soulful Progressive Rock soon gained many admirers and in 1972 they signed a contract with EMI Records’ Progressive imprint, Harvest. By this time Jeff Allen had departed and Dick Powell joined on drums. The band’s line-up was also expanded by the arrival of keyboard player Dave Punshon.

Babe Ruth stood out from many of their labelmates, partly due to Haan’s vocals and through the band’s ability to generate a soulful edge to their music. Their debut album, ‘First Base’ was issued in 1972 and featured the classic tracks ‘Wells Fargo’ and ‘The Mexican’ (later covered by Jellybean Benitez in 1984), which gained considerable air play in Canada (where the album gained Gold Disc status) and the USA, but the record inexplicably failed to match this success in the UK.

The arrival of Chris Holmes on keyboards and new drummer Ed Spevock in 1974 saw them follow their debut with ‘Amar Caballero’, before the band’s final album for Harvest in 1975, the eponymous ‘Babe Ruth’ which was a hit in the USA and Canada and featured the band’s memorable cover of the theme from the film A Fistful Of Dollars and the Curtis Mayfield composition ‘We People Darker Than Blue’. Soon after the album’s release Alan Shacklock departed the band (to be replaced by Bernie Marsden) and Babe Ruth moved labels to Capitol Records.

Tracklist

DISC ONE:
FIRST BASE
1 Wells Fargo
2 The Runaways
3 King Kong
4 Black Dog
5 The Mexican (Interpolating Per Qualche Dollaro in Piu)
6 Joker
Bonus tracks
7 Wells Fargo (single version)
8 Theme from A Few Dollars More (B-side of single)
9 Ain’t That Livin’ (A-side of single)
10 We Are Holding On (B-side of single)

DISC TWO:
AMAR CABALLERO
1 Lady
2 Broken Cloud
3 Gimmie Some Leg
4 Baby Pride
5 Cool Jerk
6 We Are Holding On
7 Doctor Love
8 Amar Caballero
a) El Caballero de la Reina Isabella
b) Hombre de la Guitarra
c) El Testament De ‘Amelia
Bonus track
9 If Heaven’s On Beauty’s Side (A-side of single)

DISC THREE:
BABE RUTH
1 Dancer
2 Somebody’s Nobody
3 A Fistful Of Dollars
4 We People Darker Than Blue
5 Jack O’Lantern
6 Private Number
7 Turquoise
8 Sad But Rich
9 The Duchess of Orleans
Bonus track
10 Private Number (single version)