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Babys, The - 1980 Union Jacks



ARTIST: Babys, The
ALBUM: Union Jacks
LABEL: Chrysalis
SERIAL: CHR 1267
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2009. Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY054

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: John Waite - vocals * Wally Stocker - guitars * Ricky Phillips - bass * Jonathan Cain - keyboards * Tony Brock - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Back On My Feet Again * 02 True Love True Confession * 03 Midnight Rendezvous * 04 Union Jack * 05 In Your Eyes * 06 Anytime * 07 Jesus Are You There * 08 Turn Around In Tokyo * 09 Love Is Just A Mystery


Background
Having been formed in England in the mid 70's, the Babys didn't take long to become an American band. First they moved across the Atlantic and focused on recording classic American AOR, then as their third album 'Head First' was released, US citizens Ricky Phillips and Jonathan Cain were roped into the band in time for the ensuing tour, followed by their recording debut on this fourth Babys album 'Union Jacks'. This final step confirmed the completion of their American status, which they celebrated by releasing one of AOR's classic albums - with no fewer than three future Bad English members on board.


The Songs
'Back On My Feet Again' is one of those irresistable slices of AOR, all stabbing keys and flowing vocals from the school of Journey and 80's Le Roux. 'True Love True Confession' builds into a rousing anthem along the themes of infidelity and heartbreak, paving the way for any number of Bad English classics to follow a decade later. 'Midnight Rendezvous' keeps the pace uptempo with melodic flair intact, culminating in a chorus that would stand tall on Journey's 'Frontiers' album. Next up is the epic title track, delivering on the pomp front with inventive tempo changes and melodic hooks, layered keys and stirring vocals. 'In Your Eyes' can only be described as the blueprint for Bad English - majestic on all fronts, switching from regimental blasts to flowing momentum with ease, and Waite's distinctively melodic vocal phrasing working it's magic all the while. 'Anytime' soon shrugs off it's honky tonk piano tendencies to develop into yet another anthem of high caliber, with hooks and melodies reminiscent of Sinful era Angel. 'Jesus Are You There' and 'Turn Around In Tokyo' are passable, the latter being Jonathan Cain's debut on vocals, but the atmospheric balladry of the album closer 'Love Is Just A Mystery' proves irresistible.


In Summary
This is arguably the finest Babys album, although 'Head First' and 'On The Edge' run it very close indeed. Thanks to the folk at One Way Records, these classics of American AOR are now available on CD, fully remastered with pages of liner notes and comments on each song from band members. Yet another good excuse to bring out the credit card.


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Comments
#1 | Jez on January 27 2007 12:20:45
Truly fabulous, and definately their best release, although all the others are excellent aswell especially the magical 'Broken Heart' & 'On The Edge'albums. Probably one of my most played albums of all time, never tire of it. John Waite is brilliant on this one, proving himself to be one of THE Aor/ Rock vocalists of all time period. A must have.
#2 | rostoned on June 18 2008 14:43:17
This LP peaked at #42 in the Billboard TOP 200 US album chart. Their previous 2 albums both went into the US TOP 40 instead, so this was the 'beginning of the end' for them (in a strictly commercial view), odd since this is regarded as their masterpiece. 'On The Edge' fared even worse...but was another TOP 100 entry at last! Long live Ze Babies clap
#3 | JuniorNB on August 14 2008 17:44:23
A classic. This one is pure pop/rock at it's finest. The title track is epic, as it changes moods many times. The single 'Back on My Feet Again' is what led me to purchase this album, but I wore the whole thing out. Always love the organs in Jesus Are You There.
#4 | rostoned on January 09 2009 23:43:17
The unforgettable 'Back On My Feet Again'; was a co-write of John Waite, Dominic Bugatti and Frank Musker. The last two released the west coast aor classic 'The Dukes' in 1982 under the monicker Bugatti Musker.

Pop trivia freaks will like to know that BandM wrote, amongst countless other songs, 'Fate' for Chaka Khan which was sampled by french house project Stardust for their huge 'Music sounds better with you' hit in the late 90s. check it here: YouTube Video:
#5 | richardb on January 14 2009 13:57:16
In an extremely surreal moment I recall Cilla Black doing a version on ITV's "Surprise surprise" years ago. Yes I was sober at the time and no my comments aren't repeatable!

Richard B
thumbs down
#6 | reyno-roxx on May 18 2009 09:22:33
'Back On My Feet Again' was covered by Cher on her 'I Paralyze' album.
Interestingly, the opener on that album, 'Rudy', was co-penned by a couple of guys behind the songwriting team responsible for hits by the Village People in cahoots with Fergie Fredriksen and the late Howie Epstein (later to join Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers). The latter duo had worked together on the David London album....
#7 | super80boy on July 04 2013 02:30:56
A great album full of one top drawer song after another. Definitely well deserving of the multiple reissues that have come out. 'In Your Eyes' has killer synth stabs, guitar chops and standout drumming.
 
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