Una Baines

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Una Baines
Born April 1957 (age 57)
Manchester, Lancashire, England
Genres Post-punk, new wave
Occupations Keyboardist
Instruments Keyboard
Years active 1977-1985
Associated acts The Fall, Blue Orchids, The Fates, Poppycock

Una Baines (born April 1957, Manchester, Lancashire, England) was best known as the keyboard player in the first line-up of British post-punk/new wave band The Fall. Her strong feminist ideals shaped the band's early political stance and she remains one of the very few Fall members, other than frontman Mark E. Smith, to have contributed lyrics to Fall songs.

Career[edit]

Baines grew up in the Collyhurst district of Manchester. Her mother was Irish, her father Mancunian. She met Smith at college, but both left after finding studying financially difficult. After a stint working as an office clerk, Baines began training as a psychiatric nurse. She rented a flat in Prestwich, which became a meeting place for the four friends (Baines, Smith, Martin Bramah and Tony Friel) who would go on to form the band, inspired by seeing Sex Pistols play in Manchester.

Baines was originally going to be the drummer in the group, but realised that she would be unlikely to be able to afford a drum kit. Instead, she started saving up for a keyboard. Baines did not play at the band's first gig, as she had applied for a bank loan to enable her to buy a keyboard, and it had not arrived in time. She made her debut at The Fall's second gig, on 3 June 1977, in Manchester. Apparently, she played the National Anthem on her keyboard (a cheap model called the "Snoopy") at one point during the set, although no recordings of the gig exist.

Two songs from the band's 2 October 1977 appearance at Manchester's Electric Circus venue were recorded, and released on the 10-inch LP Short Circuit: Live at the Electric Circus. Baines also played on the band's first recording session, on 9 November 1977 at Indigo Studios in Manchester. Three of the songs were later released as the band's first single, "Bingo-Master's Break-Out!" in August 1978 - after Baines had left the band. The fourth song recorded in this session was 'Frightened' which was re-recorded for Live At The Witch Trials, however, this early version has never been released and is believed to be lost.

Baines left The Fall in March 1978, having played a little over 20 gigs with the group. She went on to form Blue Orchids with Martin Bramah, when he quit The Fall in 1979. Blue Orchids released their first single in 1980 and their first album, The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain), in 1982. After a brief stint as Nico's backing band on a European tour, they split in 1982, briefly reforming in 1985. Baines then formed a predominantly female band called The Fates, who released the album Furia on Baines' own Taboo label in late 1985.

In 2002, an article revealed that Baines was working at a community centre in Whalley Range, South Manchester, where she was in the process of setting up a female musicians' collective. More recently, she was interviewed on the 2005 BBC TV documentary,The Fall: The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E Smith.

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