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.
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
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
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
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...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