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Encyclopedia entry for 'Chris Bailey' LETTER:

StyleR&B;, soul
 Saints albums: The Monkey Puzzle (Lost/EMI, 1981), Casablanca (Lost/EMI, 1982), A Little Madness to be Free (RCA, 1984), Live in a Mud Hut (New Rose, import only, 1985), Out in the Jungle (New Rose, import only, 1985), All Fools' Day (Mushroom/Festival, 1986), Prodigal Son (Mushroom/ Festival, 1988), The New Rose Years (Greatest Hits) (Fan Club/New Rose, import only, 1990), Songs of Salvation 1976–1988 (Raven, 1991), Permanent Revolution (Mushroom/Festival, 1992), Howling (Roadshow/Warner, 1996), 7799: Big Hits on the Underground (Last Call, French import, 1999); Chris Bailey solo albums: What We Did on Our Holidays (New Rose, import only, 1984), Demons (Mushroom/Festival, 1991), Savage Entertainment (Aurora/Mushroom/Festival, 1992), 54 Days . . . at Sea (Aurora/Mushroom/Festival, 1994).

Since the mid-1970s, Chris Bailey (b. 1956) has shaped a persona as the world-weary, insouciant, wine--sipping, bohemian troubadour. Born of Irish Catholic parents in Kenya and raised in Belfast, Bailey immigrated to Australia with his family in 1967. He got his start with The Saints in Brisbane during the early 1970s. During the mid-1990s, he moved to Sweden, and continued to spend most of his time touring Europe, where he is held in high esteem.

When the original version of The Saints imploded in England at the end of 1978, Ed Kuepper returned to Australia and eventually put together Laughing Clowns. Bailey stayed in England, retained the Saints name and formed a new line-up with Barrington Francis (guitar), Bruce `Cub' Callaway (guitar, ex-X-Men), Janine Hall (bass, ex-Young Charlatans) and Ivor Hay (drums). The four-track EP Paralytic Tonight Dublin Tomorrow came out on Lost Records in Australia (March 1980) and New Rose in France. It contained one of Bailey's early classics in `Simple Love'.

Hay and Callaway left straight after the recording session and returned to Australia. Bailey's Saints toured Australia for the first time in March 1980. The line-up featured Bailey, Barrington, Callaway, Hall and Hay. Mark Birmingham took over on drums, Callaway left again and The Saints recorded the single `In The Mirror'/`Always' (issued November 1980) in London and The Monkey Puzzle album (issued February 1981) in Sydney. The single `Let's Pretend'/`Gypsy Woman' followed in April 1981.

Bailey returned to England and The Saints issued Casablanca (July 1982) on New Rose in Europe and Lost in Australia. The Saints' line-up on the album was a basic three-piece of Bailey (vocals and guitars), Hall and Iain Shedden (drums). The band was augmented by a horn section of Paul Neiman (trombone), Steve Sidwell (trumpet) and Roger Crankwell (sax, clarinet), plus Jess Sutcliffe (piano), Denis Haines (piano) and The Damned's Brian James (lead guitar) guesting on two tracks. The Saints toured Australia in November and December 1982 with a line-up of Bailey, Hall, Shedden, Laurie Cuffe (guitar) and Chris Burnham (guitar; ex-Supernaut). Bailey's transitional solo album What We Did on Our Holidays (1984) included covers of old soul, folk and blues material (including songs from Jimmy Reed and Jacques Brel), plus an early rendition of `Ghost Ships'.

By 1984, Bailey was living and recording in Sydney, as well as touring as a solo acoustic act. In July RCA issued a new Saints album, A Little Madness to be Free, preceded by the classic single `Ghost Ships'/`Wrapped Up and Blue' (May). The album was more rock-oriented, with extensive use of acoustic guitar, brass and strings set among tightly focused arrangements. With Bailey's booming, bluesy voice in fine form, it may well constitute his most fully realised project. Bailey put together another touring line-up of The Saints that included Burnham, Shedden and Tracy Pew (bass, ex-Birthday Party). Original Saints guitarist Ed Kuepper also toured with the band (replacing Pew on bass) for a couple of weeks during July, but old conflicts arose and he left. Two further singles were lifted off the album, `Imagination'/`Heavy Metal' (August 1984) and `Angels'/`(Don't Send Me) Roses' (March 1985). In March 1985, ex-Laughing Clowns members Louise Elliot (sax) and Jeffrey Wegener (drums) joined The Saints for a national tour. Bailey, Richard Burgman (guitar, ex-Sunnyboys) and Arturo `Archie' Larizza (bass, ex-Innocents) completed the line-up.

Bailey formed a more permanent Saints line-up with Burgman, Larizza and Ivor Hay. Larizza's -previous band, Adelaide post-punk pop outfit The Innocents, issued four singles `Identikit Girl'/`Let's Get Pissed' (1980), `Think About Tomorrow, Tomorrow'/`Cold Hard Cash', `Rat Race' (as The Noise, 1981), `(I Am Not) a Magic Man'/`Staying at Home' (December 1983) and `After a Fashion'/`Strange Cults and Customs' (1985).

The Saints signed with Mushroom in Australia and Polydor in the UK, and issued the acclaimed All Fools' Day album (April 1986). Recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales, the album became the band's most successful to that time. It produced the singles `Just Like Fire Would'/`Storm' (February 1986), the gospel tinged `Temple of the Lord'/`East is East' (May) and `See You in Paradise'/`Casablanca' (September). Such was The Saints' standing that the band was included on the bill of the massive Australian Made tour in early 1987. The April 1988 album Prodigal Son (recorded in London and New York) and singles `Grain of Sand'/`Mad Race' (February) and `Stay'/`Idiot Blues' (May) featured the line-up of Bailey, Larizza, Iain Shedden, Barrington Francis and Joe Chiofalo (organ). TVT Records issued Prodigal Son in the USA and The Saints toured there for the first time.

The Saints' cover of The Easybeats' `The Music Goes Round My Head'/`Tomorrow' was issued as a single in December 1988. The A-side was included on the soundtrack to the Yahoo Serious film Young Einstein. Permanent Revolution (March 1992) was the last Saints album for four years. Bailey issued Demons (May 1991) and the singles `Bridges'/`Midnight Run' (April) and `Marie Antoinette'/`Marie Antoinette' (dub version) (August) under his own name. He recorded Demons in Memphis, Tennessee, with the results ranging from boisterous rock to blues. Despite its title, Savage Entertainment (October 1992) offered up simpler material with less cluttered production values than heard on Demons. It yielded the CD EP `Do They Come from You?'. At the end of 1993, Bailey wrote and recorded several songs (including a reworking of `All Fools' Day') with Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano.

Bailey recorded his fourth solo album 54 Days . . . at Sea in his adopted hometown of Malmö, Sweden. It was one of his most interesting albums, as it featured contributions from Bolivian folk musicians Victor Salazar (on charango) and Oscar Salazar (on traditional flute) in a breezy rock setting. Swedish musicians Eddie Nystrom (guitar), Magnus Borjeson (bass) and Stellan Colt (drums) provided the rock base for the album. Bailey also contributed a cover of Tim Finn's `Not Even Close' to the Various Artists compilation Earth Music issued on Mushroom (June 1994).

Bailey revived The Saints' name at the end of 1996 for the tough rock album Howling, and toured Australia for the first time in eight years (February 1997) with a line-up comprising English and Danish musicians. Bailey's mocking Oscar Wilde tone of voice and sly lines of patter have often gone over the collective heads of audiences. He has been involved in the release of several brilliantly conceived albums, and he remains one of Australia's most intriguing performers.

Chris Bailey was back in Australia during April 1998, touring with Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano. Mushroom Records reissued Bailey and The Saints’ ‘Just Like Fire Would’ as a CD single (July 1998) as part of the label’s 25th anniversary celebrations. In the meantime, Bailey gave his help and blessing to the release of The Saints double CD compilation 7799: Big Hits on the Underground, issued by French label Last Call, in 1999.

Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop / Ian McFarlane 1999
under licence from Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd


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