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Head First
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Performer Notes
  • The Babys: John Waite (vocals, bass); Wally Stocker (guitar); Michael Corby (piano, organ); Tony Brock (drums, percussion).
  • Additional personnel: Robb Lawrence (mandolin); Kevin Kelly (piano); John Sinclair (synthesizer); Jack Conrad (bass); Bobbye Hall (percussion); Marti McCall, Myrna Matthews, Diana Lee, Mike Japp (background vocals).
  • All tracks have been digitally remastered.
  • 1978 was a difficult year of transition for the Babys: The group parted ways with founding member Michael Corby during sessions for their new album, and the remaining members finished the album only to have their record company reject it in its initial form. The Babys regrouped, recorded a few new tracks to finish the album, and then headed out on tour with newly recruited members Jonathan Cain and Ricky Philips. Head First, the album that resulted from this tumultuous time, is energetic but a bit schizophrenic in terms of style: Lushly orchestrated songs like "White Lightning" continue on in the orchestrated AOR style of Broken Heart while songs like "Love Don't Prove I'm Right" return to the stripped-down rock sound that characterized The Babys. As a result, Head First feels more like a collection of songs than a true album. The album's sense of inconsistency is further deepened by the presence of some underwritten songs: "California" has an atmospheric sound but drifts on without a solid sense of structure, and "White Lightning" undercuts its powerful sense of dynamics with some rather silly lyrics. Just the same, the album has enough good songs to counterbalance these weaknesses: The title track balances surging bass-driven verses with a piano-laced chorus to create one of the Babys' finest rockers, and "Every Time I Think of You" is a beautifully crafted, heartfelt power ballad that gave the group its second big hit. In the end, Head First isn't strong enough to recommend to the casual listener but offers plenty of well-crafted music for fans of the Babys. ~ Donald Guarisco
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