One Track Mind: The Babys, “Not Ready to Say Goodbye” (2013)

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In as much as they don’t have people like John Waite, Jonathan Cain and Ricky Phillips in the band anymore, the Babys sound almost exactly like they once did on an aptly named new single “Not Ready to Say Goodbye.”

Founding guitarist Wally Stocker and drummer Tony Brock haven’t so much continued on without those future stars of Bad English, Journey and Styx, they’ve helped expertly revive the anthematic, determinedly melodic rock style that made the Babys such a memorable — if ultimately somewhat underground — late-1970s ear worm. And they did it without the songwriting team of Jack Conrad and Ray Kennedy, too. That duo penned “Isn’t It Time,” one of two No. 13 hits (along with Ray Kennedy and Jack Conrad’s “Every Time I Think of You”) for the Babys.

Meanwhile, original keyboardist Michael Corby remains estranged after his 1978 sacking — the switch that led to the addition of Cain and Phillips. And Waite, best known for the solo smash “Missing You” but still rather touchy about it, has ignored calls to return, as well.

None of that would seem to bode well for a triumphal comeback, and yet the reconstituted Babys — now with John Bisaha on bass and lead vocals and Joey Sykes on guitar — have managed just that.

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