Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Stephen T. McCarthy I were discussing music the other evening, and the topic turned to the Babys. The first two albums were Stephen’s favorites, and I’d made comment about the first two albums having a rawer sound with no hits. Stephen countered with the comment that their breakthrough song, “Isn’t It Time,” was on the second album, Broken Hearts.

I was floored. I checked it-he’s right. The reason I was floored was that I looked for more than six years for a copy of “Broken Hearts,” finally finding it at a Zia Records store in Tucson prior to my moving to Arizona (I came out on business frequently. And I LOOKED. I looked in LA, in Dallas, in NYC…I used to travel for business and I’d hit the used CD stores in every city.

Why the heck would the record label delete a title with one of the band’s biggest hits? It was reissued in 2001 as a two-fer with the first album, but that, too has since gone out of print.

Well, I dragged my copy out of mothballs over the weekend and gave it a listen. The Babys gave the world John Waite (vocalist/bassist) in addition to drummer Tony Brock, keyboard player/guitarist Michael Corby, and guitarist Wally Stocker.

My memory was half right- the self-titled first album has a rawer feel to it, with some stronger songs than I remembered. The production was not that great, however-the sound quality could have been better. I don’t remember if I had that feeling from the vinyl, but I was too lazy to dig it out and listen.

The second album, Broken Heart, has a much more polished sound to it with string and horn arrangements on the intense ballads and smooth rockers. Standout songs for me are the radio-friendly "Isn't It Time" along with "Broken Heart." This was much more commercial than I remembered, and a rewarding listen to this day.

Sadly out of print in the US, it is available as an import, or you can start hunting the used bins.


  1. Doctor DiscDude ~

    >>.....I was floored. I checked it - he’s right.

    Of course! I'm ALWAYS right. (I mean, except for all the times when I'm wrong.)

    Awww... my favorite Babys song of all time is from the second album but it's neither "Broken Heart" nor "Isn't It Time" (although the latter scores mucho points in the "all-time" category).

    It's "GIVE ME YOUR LOVE". I dig everything about that track: the thunderous drums, the distinctive keyboard line, the growling guitar licks. Heck, even the vocals are A-OK.

    Second favorite might be "DYING MAN", the closer on the first album. (Did the lead guitar style of that one remind you of any other well known guitarist?)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  2. McStephen-

    Well, you must admit, you can understand me giving myself the benefit of the doubt when it comes to music.

    Especially knowing that that CD was out of print, which makes no sense when you consider it contains one of their biggest hits.

    Anyone at Chrysalis paying attention, here?

  3. >>.....Well, you must admit, you can understand me giving myself the benefit of the doubt when it comes to music.

    Yup...when it's "Rock" music. I understand that. But at the same time, when it comes to '70s Rock music trivia, if anyone's gonna getcha on anything, it's gonna be me! [And when I say, "I'm 100% certain", that oughta tell ya sumpin'!]

    I may not be the best, but that's only because you're still breathin'.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Rocker'

  4. Incidentally, here's something from the Two-Fer CD notes [You "Cheese Steak People" can be proud]:

    Philadelphia was the first city to truly embrace The Babys. "The City Of Brotherly Love" adopted the band as native sons; in turn, the group returned the favor by recording a live album at the Tower Theatre [in Upper Darby] on April 23, 1977 - only available as a rare promo album.

    "Philadelphia was always good to us," says Stocker. "It went out live on the radio that night..." ... Adds Corby: "Someone in a suit told me that Philadelphia was the first place that the band broke in the U.S.A., about half an hour before I went onstage. I thought I'd share the news with the audience. When I announced this at the Tower Theatre the audience let out a scream that made the me think that I was in the waiting room at a blind acupuncturist's surgery."

    Also from the liner notes:

    Meanwhile, [Walt] Stocker, a graduate of the Paul Kossoff school of stun-vibrato guitar playing, was in demand, too; at the time he was considered for the guitar slot in both UFO and Cockney Rebel.

    And so that's the answer! Walt Stocker sounds a great deal like Paul Kossoff on many of The Babys' songs, but nowhere more so than on "Dying Man" which, if I didn't know better, I would swear was Kossoff on lead guitar!

    Yak Later, Doctor DiscDude...

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  5. Well here I am reading this today in Sydney Australia, and I've got goosebumps. I've been a huge Wally Stocker fan, and john Waite since 1978 when I got the Broken heart album here when Isn't It Time was a number one hit. My fave ever songs are Dying Man and "I'm Falling" from Broken Heart album. Go on Ebay right now and you'll see all the Babys albums and CD's quite cheap. No excuses.
    And I so love the guitar tone of Dying Man, let alone the note / melody selection.
    You have great taste man.

  6. Greg-

    I still can't believe I'd forgotten that "Isn't It Time" came off of 'Broken Hearts'

    I'd recommedn John Waites' latest, available from Frontiers Records.

    I don't know if they have a distribution deal down under, but it's available from www.nehrecords.com and www.aorheaven.com, two online retailers I frequent and recommend without reservation.