The Babys – Union Jacks (1980)

FrontCover1The Babys are a British rock group best known for their songs “Isn’t It Time” and “Every Time I Think of You”.

Both songs were composed by Jack Conrad and Ray Kennedy, and each reached No. 13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and No. 8 on the Cashbox chart in the late 1970s.

The original Babys line-up consisted of founding member keyboardist/guitarist Michael Corby, and, in order of joining the group, vocalist/bassist John Waite, drummer Tony Brock, and guitarist Wally Stocker.

The Babys

The group signed a contract with Chrysalis Records that was the highest ever for a new music act at the time. Two studio albums, The Babys and Broken Heart, were well received. After recording their third album, Head First, in August 1978, co-founder Michael Corby was replaced by Jonathan Cain as keyboardist and Ricky Phillips took over as bassist. From late 1978 until the breakup in 1981, The Babys line-up consisted of vocalist Waite, drummer Brock, bassist Phillips, guitarist Stocker, and keyboardist Cain.

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Union Jacks is The Babys fourth album, which peaked at number 42 on the Billboard 200 in 1980. The lead single “True Love True Confession” failed to chart and was succeeded by the minor hit “Midnight Rendezvous,” and finally the hit single “Back on My Feet Again”, which was their last Top 40 hit, reaching #33. The band recorded a fifth album, On the Edge, then split. Union Jacks was reissued on 26 May 2009 under Rock Candy Records after being out of print for many years. There are no bonus tracks, but all of the tracks have been remastered. This was the first Babys album to feature keyboardist Jonathan Cain and bassist Ricky Phillips.

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In 2013 The Babys reformed with originals Tony Brock and Wally Stocker, and two new members – American John Bisaha (The Nameless, Azure Blue, Hall of Souls, BISAHA) on vocals and bass, along with American guitarist Joey Sykes (Boystown, Coward, Meredith Brooks), who replaced J. P. Cervoni after his brief tenure. The debut of the new look Babys happened in the summer of 2013 at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, California. In June 2014, their latest album, I’ll Have Some of That!, was released.

Live, the band currently features a keyboardist (at time of writing Walter Ino is playing) and ‘The Babettes’ – Holly Bisaha and Elisa Chadbourne. (wikipedia)

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By 1980, the Babys had transformed from a journeyman British rock outfit to an Anglo-American band. These lineup changes were reflected in the sound of their 1980 release, Union Jacks, which represented another stylistic turnabout for the chameleon-like Babys. On this album, the group teamed up with Keith Olsen, the producer behind hit albums for Fleetwood Mac and Pat Benatar, to create a new sound that downplayed the cinematic orchestrations of their past for a punchy, radio-ready sound flavored with new wave-styled synthesizer accents. The resulting album is the top favorite of the Babys catalog for many of the group’s fans but isn’t quite as a strong a release as its cult reputation might suggest.


The carefully arranged “Back on My Feet Again” and the minor hit “Midnight Rendezvous” effectively mix rock riffs with a new wave style, but the new sound doesn’t work quite as well on other songs. The most notable example of this problem is “Jesus, Are You There?,” where the kitschy, shrill tone of the synthesizers provides an awkward musical contrast for the deadly serious lyrics. Other songs feel like they were rushed out a bit too quickly: The title track, sort of a new wave rock opera, is too disjointed to pack a punch, and “Turn Around in Tokyo” comes off as nondescript filler. In the end, Union Jacks is too inconsistent to win the Babys any new fans but is likely to please those who enjoy slick ’80s AOR records. (by Donald A. Guarisco)


Tony Brock (drums)
Jonathan Cain (keyboards, vocals on 08., background vocals)
Ricky Phillips (bass)
Wally Stocker (guitar)
John Waite (vocals)
Anne Marie Leclerc (background vocals on 02.)


01. Back On My Feet Again (Waite/Bugatti/Musker) 3.19
02. True Love True Confession (Waite/Cain) 4.07
03. Midnight Rendezvous (Waite/Cain) 3.36
04. Union Jack (Waite/Phillips) 5.42
05. In Your Eyes (Waite/Phillips) 4.06
06. Anytime (Waite/Brock/Phillips/Stocker/Cain) 3.23
07. Jesus, Are You There? (Waite/Stocker/Cain) 3.34
08. Turn Around In Tokyo (Cain) 3.54
09. Love Is Just A Mystery (Waite(Brock/Stocker) 3.39



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