Babe Ruth was formed in 1971 in Hatfield, England, and adopted the name Babe Ruth after the legendary American baseball player. The band, lead by Alan Shacklock (guitars, vocals), and consisting of Dave Hewett (bass), Jenny Haan (vocals), and Ed Spevock (drums) was signed to the Harvest label and released their debut album, First Base, in 1972. The album contained six songs, half of which were covers while the remaining three were written by Shacklock. The cover songs were an odd assortment consisting of the Frank Zappa-written "King Kong," Jesse Winchester's "Black Dog," and an adaptation of the spaghetti western theme for For a Few Dollars More that incorporated the Shacklock-written song "The Mexican." The album didn't make much impression in England but went gold in Canada and was a strong seller in the U.S.A. It is also notable as the first album to have a cover designed by Roger Dean. The band's second album, Amar Caballero, was also released on Harvest in 1973. The style on this album was similar to that of the debut with even more Spanish influences, and it contained a horn section and orchestration. This time out the songs were entirely written by Shacklock with the exception of the song "Amar Caballero (Sin Ton Ni Son)" which dominated most of the second side of the album and incorporated an arrangement of a traditional Spanish folk song. The album sold well in North America but not in England despite aggressive marketing. This set by BGO Records contains both albums on a single CD. It has been remastered from original master tapes, and the package contains an in-depth essay on the history of the band along with photos and reproductions of the original album graphics.
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AllMusic Review by Keith Pettipas