John Waite - vocals; Jonathan Cain - keyboards, vocals; Ricky Phillips - bass; Wally Stocker - guitar; Tony Brock - drums
The Babys were undergoing a massive change when this recording was captured at New York's legendary Bottom Line club in March 1979. The group had been one of the most hyped bands to emerge from the English scene in 1976, and seemed to be headed for a long run atop the FM radio charts. Despite a few very big hits -including "Isn't It Time" and "Every Time I Think Of You" - the band's momentum was eventually eclipsed by the popular new wave alternative scene championed by acts like Elvis Costello, The Pretenders and Joe Jackson. But at the time the Babys' sell-titled debut album was released, adult oriented rock radio was still a very vibrant format, and the group received enough attention to become bona fide rock stars. Singer John Waite, who had originally launched the group as its bassist, was now out front leading vocals.
At the time of this recording, the Babys had just released their third record, Head First, which was initially rejected by their label, Chrysalis Records. During the album sessions, they replaced original keyboardist Mike Corby with Jonathon Cain, who would leave in a matter of years to join Journey. They also recruited a second bass player, Ricky Phillips. (Jack Conrad, who joined after the first album, had left during the recording sessions for Head First).
Although Head First would yield two strong radio tracks (the aforementioned "Every Time I Think Of You" and the title track, which received considerable airplay but failed to become a hit), the Babys were beginning to struggle at the time this show was recorded and broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour. The band's playing is rather sloppy, and from Waite's onstage commentary after "I'm Falling" regarding a bad review the band had received that day in one of the New York City newspapers, it is clear the press' aversion to the band was starting to affect their confidence as a live act.
The songs that made the group most famous don't get played during this show, but it's still interesting to hear what they were like as a live show during the late '70s. Waite made two more albums with the band before departing to have a solo career, and did eventually hit pay dirt, with the song "Missing You," in 1984. Waite would also re-group with Cain in the one-off Brit rock super-group, Bad English in 1989, before resuming his solo career.