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THE BABYS Reissues Rock Candy (2009)

The Babys

Formed in the mid 70s by keyboard player Michael Corby and signing to Chrysalis, The Babys relocated to America and had many a big hit in the late-70s and early 80s. Here we have four, five and six, all well presented to the usual Rock Candy high standards.

By 1978's Head First, the band was already having its problems, partly political (and a very biased Wikipedia page to match). The album, produced by Ron Nevison (The Who, Rolling Stones, Bad Company, Chicago, Led Zeppelin et at), was originally rejected by the label and had to be rerecorded. During the process, Corby was ousted, but is still credited, with pianist John Sinclair one of many session players adding to the album. The sound is led by bassist / vocalist John Waite, later of solo and Bad English fame, and mixes US hard rock with AOR and a touch of pomp. Touches of Journey, Boston and Queen amongst others, with touches of solos and riffery mixing with piano intros and one song about sitting in a dentist's chair (!!!). Three singles from the album included 'Every Time I Think Of You', a top 20 hit in the US. ***

1980's Union Jacks cemented the AOR and power pop/rock sound, with the help of producer Keith Olsen. In came bassist Ricky Phillips, allowing Waite to solely handle vocals, and the band were augmented by keyboard player Jonathan Cain (later of Journey). The powerful sound is a hard edged AOR, with a nod to the heavy end of Survivor and Toto. Solid melodic rock. ****

Also issued in 1980 was On The Edge. The band certainly were, as it was the band's last. Label trouble, Cain about to join tour headliners Journey, Waite cancelling touring duty on injuring his knee, the writing was on the wall. That said, there are plenty of decent tunes here to make it well worth a listen. ***½

All three albums come with extensive sleevenotes and involvement from John Waite.

Review by Joe Geesin

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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