The Tera Shirma Story
Bob Babbit 

Ahmet Ertegun, Milan Bogdan, Pentti Glan of Mandala, Bob Babbit
(picture courtesy Ralph Terrana) (damaged photo)

Mr. Ertegun was at Tera Shirma to check on a group that Atlantic Records had signed, by the name of Mandala.

The group was from Canada, I think, and Ahmet decided to schedule a session for them at Studio A. 

Ahmet was obviously well aware of Bob Babbit at the time as he was brought in to play bass with the group. Naturally he totally blew them away.

Unfortunately Babbit is in the section of the picture which is damaged, but getting half of Babbit is like getting two incredibly boisterous, interesting, funny, and talented people.

When Babbit was in the room you knew it. You could hear him a mile away. He was loud and he loved to laugh. When Babbit entered the studio things became fun.

He was a pretty big guy, but not huge. He just seemed that way because he could be so overpowering. He always wore a shirt out, unbuttoned, with a T-shirt, and he had this habit of always pulling his shirt tails down.

Babbit had a quirk. If he liked you he beat you up. Not to the point of any serious damage, but he would bounce you around a little, laughing all the time.

John Rhys had told Babbit that he would be out of town for the week-end. Well John changed his plans and he and I ended up in the control room of Studio A on Saturday so John could listen to some things.

We were alone in the studio so I had both studio doors open so I could see out front. All of a sudden Babbit appeared in the doorway, a large, imposing shadow framed by the bright light behind him. We hear this loud booming voice...JOHN RHYS....YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING OUT OF TOWN... and he slowly begins to stalk across the studio toward the control room. All the while ranting...JOHN RHYS...YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING OUT OF TOWN...

Meanwhile John is in the control room cowering against the far wall knowing Babbit is coming for him. Babbit took his good old time stalking across the studio and then we
heard his foot steps on the control room stairway.

Now John is starting to say (and mostly to himself because it wouldn't be worth a damn to try and change Babbit's mind on anything at this point)..No Babbit..nooo
And now Babbit is in the control room. He stalks across the control room and seizes John and bounces him off the wall a few times, screaming at him and laughing at the same time. And then it all stops with Babbit just laughing and becoming part of the group.

This was life with Babbit. And could that boy play bass.

Notes thanks to Ralph Terrana



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