In the late 1970s and early 1980s, The Babys had a string of hits with songs such as "Head First and "Back On My Feet Again" that remain classic rock radio staples to this day. The band broke up in 1981, with singer John Waite forging a successful solo career, bassist Ricky Phillips joining Styx and keyboardist Jonathan Cain joining Journey, where he co-wrote "Don't Stop Believin', " among others. That trio later resurfaced in the super group, Bad English, but The Babys had been pretty much dead in the water since 1981.
That all changed in 2013, as original members Tony Brock and Wally Stocker joined forces with John Bisaha on lead vocals and bass and Joey Sykes on rhythm guitar -- all with the blessings of Waite, Phillips and Cain -- to form a new version of the band. The group started writing songs, the results of which are the new album, I'll Have Some of That!
While Bisaha's voice bears some similarities to Waite's, this isn't a case like with Journey, where the new singer is a clone of the old guy. Bisaha's voice is powerful and bluesy in its own right and the similarities mostly come from the fact that this still sounds like Babys material and it's not much of a stretch to hear Waite singing any of these songs.
Indeed, the opening track, "Every Side Of You," is an up-tempo rocker that recalls "Head First." Bisaha pushes his vocal range with a gritty performance in this strong opener. Gospel overtones dominate the chorus of the ballad, "All I Wanna Do," which showcases Stocker's tasteful guitar leads and another strong vocal from Bisaha.
The band really hits their stride on the power ballad "I See You There." This is the kind of song that used to dominate rock radio and it is a hook-filled, strong pop song. Bisaha's vocals recall vintage Lou Gramm on the mid-tempo riff rocker, "Grass Is Greener." This pair of songs back to back is the strongest point of a strong return album. The album closes with the title track, a groove-filled return to form by the band.
Stocker has stated that the main reason the band was doing this was to keep their name out there and to have fun. With I'll Have Some Of That!, The Babys have crafted an album that recalls their earlier work without being stuck in the past. While some fans may take issue with the drummer and lead guitarist resurrecting the name, if viewed as a new band in the style of The Babys, the album is a fun listen. Is this The Babys as we knew them? Of course not, but the spirit of the band is still there in this release.