Babe Ruth

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1971-72) as Shacklock

- Jeff Allen -- drums

- Janita "Jennie" Haan  (aka Janita Morris) -- vocals

- Dave Hewitt -- bass

- Dave Punshon -- keyboards

- Alan Shacklock -- lead guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, percussion


  line up 2 (1972-73) as Babe Ruth

- Janita "Jennie" Haan  (aka Janita Morris) -- vocals

- Dave Hewitt -- bass

NEW - Dick Powell -- drums, percussion (replaced Jeff Allen)

- Dave Punshon -- keyboards

- Alan Shacklock -- lead guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, percussion


  line up 3 (1973) 

- Janita "Jennie" Haan  (aka Janita Morris) -- vocals

- Dave Hewitt -- bass

- Dave Punshon -- keyboards

- Alan Shacklock -- lead guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, percussion

NEW - Ed Spevock -- drums, percussion (replaced Dick Powell)


  line up 4 (1973-74) 

- Janita "Jennie" Haan  (aka Janita Morris) -- vocals

- Dave Hewitt -- bass

NEW - Christopher Noel "Chris" Holmes -- keyboards (replaced 

  Dave Punshon)

- Alan Shacklock -- lead guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, percussion

- Ed Spevock -- drums, percussion (replaced Dick Powell)


  line up 5 (1974-75) 

- Janita "Jennie" Haan  (aka Janita Morris) -- vocals

NEW - Steve Gurl -- keyboards (replaced Christopher Holmes)

- Dave Hewitt -- bass

- Alan Shacklock -- lead guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, percussion

- Ed Spevock -- drums, percussion (replaced Dick Powell)


  line up 6 (1974-75) 

- Janita "Jennie" Haan  (aka Janita Morris) -- vocals

- Steve Gurl -- keyboards (replaced Christopher Holmes)

- Dave Hewitt -- bass

NEW - Bernie Marsden -- vocals, lead guitar (replaced 

  Alan Shacklock)

- Ed Spevock -- drums, percussion (replaced Dick Powell)


 line up 7 (1976) 

- Steve Gurl -- keyboards

NEW - Ellie Hope -- vocals (replaced Janita Haan)

NEW - Ray Knott -- bass (replaced Dave Hewitt)

NEW - Simon Lambeth -- rhythm guitar 

- Bernie Marsden -- vocals, lead guitar 

- Ed Spevock -- drums, percussion


  supporting musicians:

- Don Airey -- synthesizers, keyboards

- Tony Carr -- percussion

- Crhis Karin (aka Chrisostomos Karajikis) -- percussion

- Neil Murray -- bass

- Frank Riccotti -- vibes


  line up 8 (2005-)

- Janita "Jennie" Haan  (aka Janita Morris) -- vocals

- Dave Hewitt -- bass

- Dave Punshon -- keyboards

- Alan Shacklock -- lead guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, percussion

- Ed Spevock -- drums, percussion






- Alaska (Bernie Marsden)

- The Amboy Dukes (Ed Spevock)

- Any Trouble (Steve Gurl)

- Bad Influence (Ray Knott)

- Nigel Bagge Band (Ed Spevock)

- The Beatstalkers (Jeff  Allen)

- Bond and Brown (Ed Spevock)

- Borderline (Bernie Marsden)

- Pete Brown and Piblokoto! (Ed Spevock)

- Chicken Shack (Ed Spevock)

- The Company of Snakes (Bernie Marsden)

- Brian Connell and the Roundsound (Ed Spevock)

- Creed

- Dr. K's Blues Band (Jeff  Allen)

- Dream Coup (Ellie Hope and Ray Knot) 

- East of Eden (Jeff Allen)

- Enigma (Ed Spevock)

- The Favuorite Sons (Alan Shacklock)

- Flare (Ed Spevock)

- The Gods (Alan Shacklock)

- Steve Gurl (solo efforts)

- Jenny Haan's Lion (Ed Spevock)

- Hello (Jeff Allen)

- Hi Numbers (Alan Shacklock)

- Ellie Hope (solo efforts)

- The Juniors (Alan Shacklock)

- Mickey Jones

- Liquid Gold (Ellie Hope and Ray Knot)

- The Little House Band (Bernie Marsden)

- M3 (Bernie Marsden)

- The Majesticaires (Bernie Marsden)

- Bernie Marsden (solo efforts)

- Richie Milton and the Lowdown (Ed Spevock)

- The Moody Marsden Band (Bernie Marsden)

- Pace Aston Lord (Bernie Marsden)

- The Peddlers (Ed Spevock)

- Cozy Powell's Hammer (Bernie Marsden)

- David Punshon (solo efforts)

- Alan Ross Band (Ed Spevock)

- Salt and Pepper (Ed Spevock)

- The Snakes (Bernie Marsden)

- Snowy White's Blues Agency (Jeff  Allen)

- State Quintin Five (Ed Spevock)

- Timebox (Chris Holmes)

- UFO (Bernie Marsden)

- Victims of Pleasure (Steve Gurl)

- Whitesnake (Bernie Marsden)

- Wild Turkey (Steve Gurl and Bernie Marsden)




Genre: progressive

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  First Base

Company: Harvest

Catalog: SW 11151

Country/State: Hatfield, Hertfordshire; UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $50.00


While I was in college I picked up "First Base" at a used record store bargain bin.  I knew nothing about the band, but bought the album for three reasons:  1.) Roger Dean's eye catching cover art, 2.) the rear panel photo of lead singer Jennie Haan, and 3.) I was curious to hear a band that was willing to record an oddity like Frank Zappa's 'King Kong'.


Guitarist Alan Shacklock, drummer Jeff Allen and bassist Dave Hewlitt formed Shacklock in 1970.  Over the next year the band underwent a series of personnel changes.  Singer Janita "Jennie" Haan was added after she responded to a newspaper ad looking for a singer.  With the addition of keyboardist Dave Punshon and drummer Dick Powell replacing Jeff Allen, by 1971 the group had morphed into Babe Ruth.  Attracting the attention of Nick Mobbs, the band was quickly signed by EMI/Harvest and within a matter of weeks began recording their debut album.



Produced by Shacklock and Nick Mobbs, 1972's "First Base" is one of the most diverse and/or schizophrenic albums in my collection.  Recorded in Abbey Roads Studios, there are only six tracks, but Shacklock and company managed to bounce all over the musical spectrum in about 40 minutes.  There was blues-rock-meet funk ('Wells Fargo'), an almost pastoral instrumental ('The Runaways)' and what was probably their best known composition - 'The Mexican'..  They even manage to turn in an entertaining, somewhat mainstreamed cover of Frank Zappa's 'King King'.  While Shacklock was the creative mainstay, responsible for writing, or co-writing four of the six tracks, the spotlight was on singer Jennie Haan.  What she may have lacked in physicality, the petite Ms. Haan more than compensated for in terms of raw power.  Her rugged, bluesy voice was easily comparable with the likes of Janis Joplin or perhaps Heart's Ann Wilson.   I've always found it interesting to see the band tagged as a progressive outfit.  I guess 'King Kong' exhibited a certain degree of progressive influence, but when Haan sang, that genre seems far removed from the band's more blues-rock and hard rock orientation.   


"First Base" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Wells Fargo (Alan Shacklock) - 6:14  rating: *** stars

Musically 'Wells Fargo' came off as a rather funky tune.  Dave Shacklock turned in some impressive raw guitar and while I liked Janita Haan's bluesy voice, on this one she came off as shrill and brittle. When Shacklock chimed in on vocals you ended up with one of least dynamic duos I've heard in a long time.  Brent Carter's sax solo didn't do much to improve my feelings about the song.  even though I didn't think much of the tune, Harvest tapped an edited version of the song as the band's leadoff single:

- 1972's 'Wells Fargo' b/w 'Theme from "A Few Dollars More"' (Harvest catalog number P 3553)

2.) The Runaways (Alan Shacklock - David Whiting) - 7:12  rating: **** stars

'The Runaways' opened up with one of the prettiest rock melodies I'd ever encountered. Blanketed with a wonderful string arrangement (courtesy of Shacklock), it was almost pastoral.  The song was also interesting given it gave Haan an opportunity to showcase her mesmerizing voice without having to punch the power boost button.  As the song progressed along it picked up a nifty pseudo-jazzy flavor and kept building energy through the end.  Awesome performance and an album highlight.

3.) King Kong (instrumental) (Frank Zappa) - 6:40  rating: *** stars

Zappa fans are probably going to be disappointed by the Babe Ruth cover, but I actually enjoyed it.  Stripping away some of Zappa's complexity, the cover shined the spotlight on Shacklock's tasty guitar and the Ed Spevock - Dave Hewitt rhythm section.  If you believe the liner notes, "This track was recoded "straight" with no overdubbing or electronic trickery - the spontaneity and live feel are set off by Dick's classic comment at the end."   I've never seen the show, but apparently the HBO series Big Little Lies featured the song in an episode, exposing it to a new generation of listeners.


(side 2)

1.) Black Dog (Jesse Winchester) - 8:03  rating: **** stars

Jesse Winchester's original version of 'Black Dog' was dark and brooding. While the Babe Ruth version wasn't exactly a glass of orange juice, powered by Shacklock's guitar up the rock quotient considerably.  Hard to imagine that the earth shattering vocal on 'Black Dog' came from a 5 foot tall pixie of a woman ...  Not sure where it was recorded, but YouTube has an enjoyable, abbreviated 1972 live performance of the song: 

2.) The Mexican (Alan Shacklock) - 5:45

It makes me smile realizing that today most folks know this song as a result of the covers - The Bombers, GZA, Liam Howlett, etc.  In 1984 Jellybean enjoy a dance hit with a freestyle cover of the tune featuring Hann on vocals.  Perhaps the best known cover was Jellybean's 1984 freestyle version featuring Haan on vocals.  Musically 'The Mexican'  was easily the standout performance mixing Flamenco guitar with some of Shacklock's most tuneful guitar, Haan's growling vocals and a touch of Ennio Norricone's 'For a Few Dollars More'.  The only criticism was that clocking in at just under six minutes the song was too short.  Perhaps nothing more than urban myth, but Shacklock reportedly wrote the song as a response to seeing the historically inaccurate John Wayne film The Alamo. YouTube has a clip of the band performing the song at a 1975 concert in Montreal:    The track was released as a single in Brazil:

- 1973's 'The Mexican (Musica Incidental "Per Qualiche Dollaro In Pie")' b/w 'Wells Fargo' (Odeon catalog number S71-3351)

3.) Joker  (Alan Shacklock) - 7:42  rating: *** stars

The blues-rocker 'Joker' found Shacklock and Haan splitting lead vocals.  Yeah, the results were somewhat shrill, but the track had a nice melody and I've always liked Dave Punshon's keyboards on this one.


The band have a FaceBook presence at: 




Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Amar Caballero

Company: Harvest

Catalog: SHVL 812

Country/State: Hatfield, Hertfordshire; UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 233

Price: $25.00


Listening to 1974's "Amar Caballero" has always surprised me given it was recorded by a band that had a reputation as a hard rock entity.  Produced by front man Alan Shacklock, the album was crazy, all-over the musical spectrum.  Among the genres they managed to touch on - English folk-music ('Broken Cloud'), incidental film moves ('We Are Holding On'), funk (''Dr. Love''), and even jazz ('Lady').  Mind you, I like diversity as much as anyone else, but this one was simply schizophrenic.  It almost sounded like a demo tape from a group trying out as a wedding band determined to showcase the fact they could function across any musical genre.  In this case the result left you wondering who the world they were ...  That wasn't meant as a criticism of the band's musical dexterity (particularly Dutch-born singer Janita Haan, new keyboardist Chris Holmes who replaced Dave Punshon (who'd gone off to join a religious group) and multi-instrumentalist Shacklock). but any semblance of the band's earleir  'sound' was lost across these eight tracks.  Harvest didn't seem to have had much faith or interest in the album.  The company didn't even bother to release a single from the collection.


"Amar Caballero" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Lady  (Alan Shacklock) -    rating: *** stars

'Lady' opened up the album with a song that sounded like a mash-up between lite-jazz and Curtis Mayfield-styled blaxploitation soundtrack.  The clear star was Haan's crystal clear voice, followed in short order by Shacklock's wonderful jazzy lead guitar solo. 

2.) Broken Cloud  (Alan Shacklock - Juanita Haan) -     rating: ** stars

With an ornate arrangement and heavy orchestration, 'Broken Ground' sounded like a mix of progressive and English folk moves.  Sounds weird and it certainly was, though once again Haan's fantastic voice managed to pull it off.

3.) Gimme Some Leg  (Alan Shacklock - Juanita Haan) -    rating: *** stars

With an ominous, highlight misogynist lyric 'Gimme Some Leg' shifted direction again - this time the band displaying their unique blend of hard rock, funk, and a touch of reggae.  I've always found Haan's shrill and screechy lead vocal hard to deal with, but given the song's dark, threat-of-rape lyric, maybe that was the intent.  I think the non-too-subtle message is people (particularly single women), should not hitch-hike ...    

4.) Baby Pride (Alan Shacklock - Juanita Haan) -    rating: **** stars

Again showcasing Shacklock's tasty jazzy lead guitar, 'Baby Pride' found Haan and company dipping their collective feet into adult contemporary light jazz territory.   One of their prettiest melodies, underscored by the start arrangement.     


(side 2)
Cool Jerk (Storball) -   rating: *** stars

Their cover of The Capitol's 'Cool Jerk' was okay - a bit too jittery and hyperactive for my tastes, but you had to love Haan's voice and Ed Spevock's frenetic drumming.  

2.) We Are Holding On (instrumental)  (Alan Shacklock) -     rating: ** stars

By this point in the album the band's wild musical twists and turns were no longer a surprise so the pretty balalaika-propelled instrumental 'We Are Holding On' really didn't sound that out of place  Well, yeah, it actually did.  To my ears it sounded like a piece of incidental film music they' stitched into the middle of the album.   

3.) Doctor Love (Alan Shacklock) -    rating: *** stars

Doctor Love' moved back to hard rock-meet-soul territory.  The song was actually pretty good with a cool funk baseline and a nice Shacklock lead guitar break.  On the downside, Haan resorted to her screechiest voice and the horns didn't add much to the track.  

4.) Amar Caballero (Sin Ton Ni Son):

A three part suite, 'Amar Caballero (Sin Ton Ni Son' was another effort all over the musical spectrum.
     a. El Caballero De La Reina Isabella (Alan Shacklock - Juanita Haan) - 
   rating: *** stars

'El Caballero De La Reina Isabella' offered up another slice of pretty English folk music - very Fairport Convention-influenced.  
     b. Hombre De La Guitarra  (Alan Shacklock) - 
   rating: **** stars

The instrumental 'Hombre De La Guitarra' showcased Shacklock's blazing guitar on a Latin percussion flavored slice of Flamenco-meets-Santana.   It wasn't rock and roll, but the song still made for one of the album's best performances.
-    c. El Testament De Amelia (traditional arranged by Llobet) - 
   rating: *** stars

The closing instrumental 'El Testament De Amelia' added a Spanish flamenco to the feel , slowing things way down.  




Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Stealin' Home

Company: Harvest

Catalog: ST 11451

Country/State: Hatfield, Hertfordshire; UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 31299

Price: $15.00


Anytime a founding band member heads out the door you're left with a sense of potential dread.  That was certainly the case with respect to lead guitarist Alan Shacklock's departure from Babe Ruth


Produced by Steve Rowland, "Stealin' Home" introduced former Wild Turkey guitarist Bernie Marsden as Shackock's replacement.  Curiously, Shacklock was credited with arranging the album.  Marsden also joined the group in contributing to the songwriting chores; the album featuring two of his compositions.  In spite of the personnel change, musically the set wasn't a major change in musical direction.  Juanita Haan's big, bluesy voice remained the band's prime focus and it shouldn't have come as a surprise that a disproportionate number of these tracks were boogie and blues-rockers that worked to highlight her vocal strengths.  That made the outlying tracks more interesting, thought not necessarily good.  Written by drummer Ed Spevock, 'Fascination' was another rocker, but added a funky, Latin-esque edge to the sound.  The single 'Elusive' was a dance ready tune with a surprisingly enjoyable soul vibe.  'Can You Feel It?' found the band taking a poorly thought-out stab at reggae. There were certainly moments on the album, but the overall result was less than overwhelming.   In fact, I'd argue their last studio set "Kid's Stuff" featuring new singer Ellie Hope is stronger.


"Stealin' Home" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) It'll Happen In Time  (Dave Hewitt - Juanita Haan) - 5:33    rating: *** stars

An intense blues-rocker, 'It'll Happen In Time' has always reminded me of something Ann and Nancy Wilson might have recorded for Heart. In fact, Juanita's rasping delivery, particularly when she reached for the higher notes, was out of the same performance textbook as Nancy Wilson's (or vice versa).   Musically it wasn't anything particularly original, but  I've always wondered how a petite woman like Haan could belt out a song like this ... 

2.) Winner Takes All (Bernie Marsden)  - 3:56   rating: ** stars

Bland boogie-rock - with the exception of an odd snippet of progressive synthesizers for Steve Gurl, the track was completely forgettable.

3.) Fascination (Ed Spevock) - 5:56   rating: **** stars

Interesting to see drummer Spevock turning in the album's standout performance.  'Fascination' found the band taking on hard rock with a funky edge, including a little bit of Latin percussion.  Again, it was hard to figure how Haan could generate such a big sound with her voice

4.) 2000 Sunsets (Juanita Haan) - 3:45   rating: ** stars

Pretty, if not particularly memorable big ballad ...  Haan wrote it but seemed uncomfortable with the arrangement and the orchestration didn't really help the song.


(side 2)

1.) Elusive (Steve Gurl - Ed Spevock) - 5:40   rating: *** stars

The album's most commercial performance, 'Elusive' was clearly written for a dance floor which probably explains why it was released as a single.  And the single has a convoluted history.  Like the album the US 45 featured Haan on lead vocals.  In contrast, given she had left the band and signed with a different label, the UK 45 was rerecorded with singer Ellie Hope on vocals.

- 1975's 'Elusive' b/w 'Say No More' (Capitol catalog number 4219)

2.) Can You Feel It? (A. Seals - J. Bettis - Dan Seals) - 4:13   rating: ** stars

There's nothing wrong with a good reggae tune.  There's nothing right with a bad reggae song.

3.) Say No More (Bernie Marsden)  - 2:41   rating: *** stars

Another conventional rocker, 'Say No More' was mildly interesting given Haan shared lead vocals with one of the men - Marsden?  Marsden's slide guitar provided the real highlights.

4.) Caught At the Plate (instrumental)  (Juanita Haan)  - 2:54   rating: * star

The instrumental 'Caught In the Act' featured keyboardist Steve Gurl turning in some lounge act moves.  Wasted two minutes of vinyl.

5.) Tomorrow (Joining of the Day)  (Juanita Haan) - 5:02   rating: *** stars

Back to blues-rock ... and just when you thought it was going to be a patented Joplin styled performance, about a minute and a half in the tune morphed into a strings and guitar powered epic that has always reminded me of something off of a Jim Steinman and Meatloaf collection.  Not saying that's a  good thing.



Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  KId's Stuff

Company: Harvest

Catalog: ST 11515

Country/State: Hatfield, Hertfordshire; UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 31300

Price: $15.00


For most fans all you needed to know about Babe Ruth's fifth album was goodbye Janita "Jenny" Haan  and hello Ellie Hope.


By the time 1976's "Kid's Stuff" was released, not a single member of the original line-up remained in the band.  Joining second generation keyboard player Steve Gurl, guitarist Bernie Marsden and drummer Ed Spevock in the revamped group were lead singer Hope (formerly of The Hope Sisters), bassist Ray Knott and rhythm guitarist Simon Lambeth.  And like most of the band's recording catalog, this one suffered from a lack of focus.  For the band's original fan base, their continued abandonment of the progressive genre remained a crime paramount to treason.  Of course, their three previous studio releases were guilty of the same perceived artistic crime.  The other major criticism underscored in virtually every review I've seen, points out new singer Hope was no Janita Haan.  While that was true, Hope's bluesy voice was powerful and surprisingly varied.  Anyone expecting to hear a Joplin wannabe was going to be surprised by Hope's flexibility.  Check out her performance on the single 'Since You Went Away'.  With Marsden responsible for the majority of the nine tracks, the results were wildly inconsistent.  The album had more than it's share of forgettable performances, including a couple of tracks that found them dangerously close to falling into disco ('Since You Went Away' and 'Sweet, Sweet Surrender').  Still, there were also a couple of gems buried in the grooves.  The album's most convention rocker, 'Keep Your Distance' was one of those highlights.  The album's biggest surprise came in the form of the bluesy closer that demonstrated Marsden was not only a killer guitarist, but also an accomplished singer.  Perhaps this was another contractual obligation set.  If so, it could have been far worse.


"Kid's Stuff" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Oh! Dear What a Shame (Bernie Marsden) - 4:18   rating: ** stars

Technically there was nothing wrong with Hope's voice.  She had a gruff, blues instrument that should have appealed to everyone from Maggie Bell to Joplin fans.  Unfortunately, when she was paired up with pedestrian boogie material like 'Oh! Dear What a Shame' the results were ...  oh! dear

2.) Welcome To the Show (Bernie Marsden) - 5:13

3.) Since You Went Away (Bernie Marsden) - 3:37   rating: *** stars

Given the first 30 seconds, you couldn't blame me for thinking I'd mistaken slapped on The Doobie Brother's 'Long Train Running'.  The song continually threatened to teeter into blatant disco territory, but this was one instance where Hope managed to reel them back from the edge; turning in one of her best (and most understated) performances.  The song was released as a Spanish single:





- 1976's 'Desde Que Te Fuiste' b/w 'Bajo La Lluvia' (Capitol catalog number 10 C 006-85018)







4.) Standing In the Rain (Bernie Marsden - Ed Spevock) - 4:41   rating: *** stars

Another example where less was more ...  'Standing In the Rain' was a pretty, radio-friendly ballad that showcased how good Hope's voice was when she wasn't trying to out-belt Joplin.  Marsden ended the song with some of his prettiest work.


(side 2)

1.) Sweet, Sweet Surrender (Bernie Marsden) - 4:41   rating: ** stars

And with 'Sweet, Sweet Surrender'  the band fell over the edge into pure disco fodder, or a career as television sitcom theme writers ...  Dreadful on every level.

2.) Oh! Doctor - 3:42 (Ed Spevock)   rating: *** stars

Kicked along by a bubbly Steve Gurl synthesizer, 'Oh! Doctor' moved back on the safe side of the equation - luckily more funky than disco.  The song also benefited from some nice Marsden lead guitar moves.

3.) Nickelodeon (instrumental) (Steve Gurl) - 2:46

The album's lone instrumental 'Nickelodeon' 

4.) Keep Your Distance (Bernie Marsden) - 4:24   rating: **** stars

Marsden's blazing guitar solo has become a favorite for rap artists (L Brothers, Salt n Pepa, Grand Wizard Theodore and the 45 King have all sampled it).  The album's most conventional rock tune, this was a case where Hope made the most of her growl.  The album's standout performance and it would have been a nice single.  Shame it just kind of petered out as Marsden was picking up speed.

5.) Living a Lie - 6:06 (Bernie Marsden - Don Airey - Powell)   rating: **** stars

Time for a stab at conventional blues-rock. The album's biggest surprise -  I had no idea Marsdale was such an accomplished singer. Gifted with a dry, world weary voice he found a perfect balance between power and restraint.  Come to think of it, the same comments were true of Marsden's guitar on this one.  Tasteful and restrained.  Why'd he waste his time with Whitesnake?