Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lost and Found ... The Story of The Saints & Show # 339

Coming from Brisbane, Australia The Saints formed in 1974. They would take their influence from 50's bands such as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, 50's R&B, 60's Soul music and bands such as The Stooges, and The MC5. Before being named The Saints, the band was known briefly as Kid Galahad and The Eternals. The group consisted of Chris Bailey (vocals), Ed Kuepper (guitar), Ivor Hay (drums) and Kym Bradshaw on bass. The Saints decided to record the single "(I'm) Stranded" in August of 1976 independently after Kuepper, who was working at a record store at the time kept seeing boxes and boxes coming in of songs recorded by truckers and Country artists for promotional purposes. Inspired by the do it yourself ethic, "(I'm) Stranded" was recorded quickly in the studio. It came off sounding like nothing else in Australia at the time. The song featured the buzz saw sounding guitars of Ed Kuepper and the soulful singing stylings of Chris Bailey. The single (which was backed with the song "No Time") was released initially to a limited 500 pressing by The Saints on their own label, Fatal Records.

Shortly after its release, "(I'm) Stranded" was voted as "The Single of The Week" by Sounds Magazine in the UK. The single was on import and made it all the way to the UK, yielding a positive response. The song is seen as an important part of the history of not just Australian music, but in the beginnings of Punk pre-dating bands such as The Clash and Sex Pistols. The Saints were then offered a three album deal with EMI in the UK, which they accepted based on the response of the single. In June of 1976, the band headed into Window Studios in Brisbane, Australia to record their first full length album (I'm) Stranded.

With Rod Coe in the producer seat, the song writing team of Chris Bailey and Ed Kuepper converted their compositions into a ten track album. For the album the songs "(I'm) Stranded" and "No Time", were taken from the 1976 single (I'm) Stranded". The album sounded like a mix of Stooges Rock, The Missing Links, and 60s Soul music. The album received bad reviews upon its release in February 1977 in Australia. The album is now seen as a classic album and is often deemed as important and influential as albums by Sex Pistols and The Clash. There were songs such as "Messin' With The Kid" and "Story of Love" (slower soulful sounding tracks), "Demolition Girl", and "Erotic Neurotic", "Nights In Venice" (a wonderful fuzzy distorted song). The album also featured two cover songs, one "Wild About You" (originally by The Missing Links) and "Kissing Cousins" (originally by Elvis Presley). The Saints were then exported to Britain, where they played a show with Ramones and Talking Heads and The Roundhouse in London. Theoretically they should have done well, but The Saints were negatively received.

While their record company tried to sell the band along with the other bands in the UK Punk scene, the band did not agree with the labels tactics and did things their own way musically and in the fashion sense. They also lost bassist Kym Bradshaw around this time, he would be replaced by Algy Ward. The single "This Perfect Day" was released next in July of 1977. The single did very well showing commercial potential for the band, but unfortunately the single was out of stock for two weeks, which resulted in stalled success for the group. “This Perfect Day" did however make it to #34 on the UK singles charts. This did not stop the band, they proceeded back to the studio to record the One Two Three Four EP. It was recorded at AIR Studios in London, England in July of 1977 with Bill Price engineering. The blistering EP featured two cover songs and two re-recordings of songs found on the (I'm) Stranded album. The EP showed the evolution of the band, who were expanding their sound. The versions of "River Deep Mountain High" and "Lipstick On Your Collar" are raunchy and catchy. "Demolition Girl" and "One Way Street" rival the versions originally found on (I'm) Stranded. The One Two Three Four EP was originally released in October 1977 in Australia and September 1977 in the UK.

In the fall of 1977, The Saints began recording the album Eternally Yours. at Wessex, Roundhouse, and London Studios. The album was produced by Chris Bailey and Ed Kuepper with Bill Price and Mark Dearnley working the engineering duties. Eternally Yours showed off a more R&B sound reflecting their roots, sounding original and different from the other albums being released in London at the time. "Know Your Product" is a perfect example of the bands change in musical direction. The song while it featured song structures similar to other Saints songs, it also had a Stax influenced brass horns section. Lyrically the song reflected the bands situation in London and how they were trying to be forced into being lumped in the Punk scene at the time. Other great tracks include "Lost and Found", "A Private Affair", "Run Down", "Orstralia" and "(I'm) Misunderstood". “A Private Affair” also addresses the bands issues with being associated with the hype and commercialism of the London Punk scene at the time. There were other musical elements such as harmonica and more brass horn sections throughout the album. Acoustic based songs "Memories Are Made of This", "Untitled", and "A Minor Aversion" all add to the albums 13 song repertoire. The album ended with the song "International Robots", which was also originally going to be the title for the album. Eternally Yours was originally released in May of 1978 in Australia and April 1978 in the UK. It is one of the finest albums The Saints ever recorded.

After a European tour, with all the rising tensions amongst the band and their lack of success Chris Bailey quit the band. Wanting to go into a different music direction, he began assembling his own group, while the rest of The Saints began working on material for another album. Since the record company was losing faith in the band, they would not record the band if Chris Bailey was not in the group, so The Saints came to an agreement. In 1978, shortly after the release of Eternally Yours, they began work on what was to become Prehistoric Sounds. The album was drastically different than any of their previous efforts. The album was influenced more by Avant Garde Jazz, R&B and once again produced by Chris Bailey and Ed Kuepper with Bill Price and Jeremy Spencer Green Engineering. Combined with Rock and elements of the Saints early Punk sound, Prehistoric Sounds was an album ahead of its time.

The album art for Prehistoric Sounds, which depicts tall buildings sticking out of the water of a flooded city, is a distinctive example as to how different the album is. While the band may have been more experimental with this album, it is by no means a flimsy album. The song structures and arrangements are just as strong as any other Saints album. With songs such as "Swing For The Crime", "All Times Through Paradise", "Everyday's a Holiday, Every night's a Party", "Church of Indifference" and "Everything's Fine", the album was top notch. There were also cover versions of Aretha Franklin's "Save Me" and Otis Redding's "Security". Finally this album also featured the first solo song writing credit of singer Chris Bailey. "Take This Heart of Mine", featured lyrics and music written by Bailey, it reflects a Blues based influence. Lyrically the album as a whole addressed issues relating to alienation and as Kuepper has stated was written primarily from an Australian perspective. The album while it does have darker based lyrical themes, it often reflects a smooth, mesmerizing, hypnotic experience. The record company insisted that the first single to be released from the album was to be “Security” a cover of a song originally by Otis Redding. The album was not released in America and had a limited release. It was released in October of 1978 in the UK, but the cards had already been dealt and by the time Prehistoric Sounds hit Australia in February 1979, The Saints had imploded. Chris Bailey remained in London, while Kuepper moved back to Australia.

Chris Bailey would continue on with The Saints name only, while Kuepper pursued other music avenues such as The Laughing Clowns, The Aints and a solo career. Drummer Ivor Hay would go onto to play in a variety of bands even playing on a few later Saints album's, he would eventually form his own group Wildlife Documentaries. Bassist Algy Ward would go onto play bass in The Damned briefly and form his own Punk/Metal group Tank. Since then The Saints have gone onto influence numerous Australian bands and recently in 2007 and 2009, they reunited for some live shows. In 2008 Ed Kuepper joined Australia’s Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds as their touring guitarist when original guitarist Mick Harvey left the group. On January 2009, Kuepper, Bailey and Ivor Hay reunited to play the album (I’m) Stranded in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival in Melbourne, Australia (Archie Larzza provided the bass).

While The Saints went virtually under the radar at the time of their first incarnation, they released three, wonderfully crafted albums of music that captures the essence of Rock, Soul and R&B music with the raw essence of Punk. With each album The Saints recorded their sound progressed and developed from their early Soul and Punk stylings of (I’m) Stranded to the bigger R&B driven sound of Eternally Yours to the sophisticated and intense Jazz, Blues, and Soul of Prehistoric Sounds. In 2005, All Times Through Paradise a four disc box set featuring the first era of The Saints was released. The album features all three Saints albums, B-sides, outtakes and live recordings. The box set is now out of print, but as of 2007 all of The Saints albums (with their original line up) have been reissued with the bonus tracks that were featured on the box set.

Saints Play List:

1. (I'm) Stranded ((I'm) Stranded Single 1976)
2. No Time ((I'm) Stranded Single 1976)
3. Lost and Found (Eternally Yours 1978)
4. This Perfect Day (Eternally Yours 1978)
5. Lipstick On Your Collar (One Two Three Four EP 1977)
6. Knock on Wood (The Most Primitive Band In The World - Live Brisbane 1974)
7. Kissin' Cousins ((I'm) Stranded 1977)
8. Story of Love ((I'm) Stranded 1977)
9. Know Your Product (Eternally Yours 1978)
10. Memories are Made of This (Eternally Yours 1978)
11. All Times Through Paradise (Prehistoric Sounds 1978)
12. Brisbane (Security City) (Prehistoric Sounds 1978)
13. Church of Indifference (Prehistoric Sounds 1978)
14. River Deep Mountain High (One Two Three Four EP 1977)
15. (I'm) Misunderstood (Eternally Yours 1978)
16. Save Me (Prehistoric Sounds 1978)
17. Security (Prehistoric Sounds 1978)
18. Looking For The Sun (Prehistoric Sounds Outtake)
19. Champagne Misery (Eternally Yours Outtake)
20. Demolition Girl (One Two Three Four EP 1977)
21. A Private Affair (Eternally Yours 1978)
22. One Way Street (Live @ Hope and Anchor London 1977)
23. Nights In Venice (Live @ Paddington Town Hall Sydney 1977)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 15. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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