Chris Bailey

Do They Come from You?

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While this looks like an ordinary single off the excellent return-to-form Savage Entertainment (Bailey's fourth solo LP to go with almost a dozen LPs leading the Saints), the song is richly remixed and greatly enhanced in dramatic fashion. The strings, already lush on the LP, all but take over the songs here, making Bailey's anguished, soul-searching bellow all the more remarkable (a word that has often fit this man's singing since "I'm Stranded"). A real tour de force, up there with his more emotional, strings-laden, huge-sounding showstoppers from the Saints' mid-'80s glory, like "Ghost Ships" and "Just Like Fire Would." Speaking of the latter, it's re-recorded here à la the live unplugged version from the 1992 U.S. support tour with Concrete Blonde, as something of an acoustic folky/bluesy song -- slower, more wistful, and more sorrowful where the All Fools Day original was boisterous and confident. Without the drums, Bailey replaces them with glistening, ringing acoustics that sound like (maybe) a harpsichord, and everything turns wonderfully melancholic. More great work! The remaining three selections continue in this mood even more, turning a page back to his first two solo LPs, the demos LP Casablanca and especially What We Did on Our Holidays. They're all just a lightly strummed/picked acoustic complemented by a wild, evil harmonica. "Mystery Train" is closer to the spirit of Junior Parker's original than Elvis Presley's more famous (hot) early Sun session single. The same elements feed John Phillips' folk storytelling "Me and My Uncle," like a bad Western about card playing, boozing, deception, and ultimately a murder of greed. You can all but hear tumbleweeds go by. The Southern blues of Jimmy Reed's "Bright Lights, Big City" ends this special EP in equally subdued style, showcasing the big-throated Saint's way with material and the mesmerizing way his big, round voice grasps a tune. Unlike 1989-1991, this is more of his finest efforts, in a new/old angle.