So, Chris Bailey died and it’d be right I’d say that he be eulogised as the influential giant of the past 50 years of rock music that he is. A founding member of Australia’s The Saints, alongside Ed Kuepper and Ivor Hay. Chris Bailey has one of those incredibly unique voices, instantly identifiable and in 1976, exuding an urgent slacker non-conformity that made it the perfect musical accompaniment for The Saints’ ferocious assault on the musical hegemony of the era.
When their first single arrived in the UK in 1976, Sounds' Jonh Ingham called it "Single of this and every week".
The Saints’ debut LP, I’m Stranded, was the first punk rock LP I owned. It remains a timeless recording. It’s incredible. Oh and I love their Messin’ With The Kid, the giant slow one became an archetype for punk records. I’m Stranded was predated only by Damned Damned Damned in the UK, but The Saints sonics were eclipsed by clotheshorses and haircuts and their contribution was diminished by a UK punk colloquialism that impacted London and the London-centric media and punk business, those influences lingered in the provinces, although it mattered less out there in the burbs. We didn’t have the punk media, or business guiding us.
Eternally Yours, their second LP features some of the greatest rock'n'roll and brass mash-ups of all time. You simply have to hear the malevolence of Know Your Product...
The subsequent Saints LP, Prehistoric Sounds is simply revelatory. Had the other punk bands who refused to stand still moved so far so quickly, then perhaps the Clash would be more of a footnote too. Of course, the Sex Pistols didn’t really make it to a second LP which is unfortunate maybe when you consider how experimental and outlandish those PIL records were.
Prehistoric Sounds brass infusion is an unexpected electrical-shocking delight. I can never forget my friends’ wild enthusiasm for it when it arrived. That has roiled through the years. What The Saints did, what my friends said. It’s music. Chris Bailey left a lot of that.