Epitome: Sisters of Mercy – “Good Things”, 1982 John Peel session

Because out there the snipers work the ridges,
Building bombs and blowing bridges,
Out there on a darkened road,
The lines are dead and the cars explode.

But in here, there’s nothing but the good things.

This track – Good Things, by the Sisters of Mercy – is the very fabric of goth itself.  Black fabric, of course.  Fuck knows what Eldritch is trying to say here (if anything at all, but it checks all the necessary post-industrial, post-apocalyptic, death/gloom/despair, military boxes necessary for any archetypal goth epic), but man, this is my kind of song.

If you like the Sisters, you probably know the Alice EP intimately.  It was recorded before Wayne Hussey joined, and the sound was spikier, more angular, more urgent.  Good Things was never released officially, although it did appear in their debut 1982 Peel session, and this, for many reasons, is the best version.  The Sisters’ Radio One sessions (Peel and Kid Jensen) have never been released officially, but this session was re-broadcast by Radio 6 via DAB (digital radio) and was sucked up by the vast internet MP3 Hoover.

Good Things, Peel session version

The September 1982 Peel session comprised the following tracks:

  • 1969
  • Alice
  • Good Things
  • Floorshow

The Alice 12” was released in March 1983 (although a 7” came out in November 1982), Good Things was not included, but Phantom (the Bside of the Anaconda single, and not a great track) was in it’s place.  Had Good Things been on the EP instead of Phantom, this 12” could, IMHO, have had a great claim to being THE most perfectly formed 12” to ever be released!

Good Things is fairly quick, spiky and angular – the two guitars fizz and buzz and the bass drives.  A little wah gives the guitar a psychedelic edge before the sixteenths on the hats add more urgency to the choruses.  Some previous versions are a little slower, but are still as, if not more, menacing.

Good Things, first demo

Besides the Peel session version, which on balance I think is probably the best version, there are two other versions circulating.  The “first demo” version (I have no idea whether this actually is the first demo, that is just how the track is labelled – consistently) is considerably slower and more laid back.  The production is rougher but still really good and the sound is razor-sharp – and the chorus is evil – TURN IT UP!  Highly recommended.

Good Things, basement demo

The “basement demo” is quicker (and therefore maybe recorded after the “first demo”), and much lower quality, but it is not without it’s charm.

Good Things, Live in Leeds, 16 Feb 1981

The live in Leeds is incredibly notable as this is from the first ever Sisters gig.  The quality is pretty good for an audience recording (definitely worth a listen).  And it is really interesting to hear a young Andrew Eldritch starting to craft his trade.

Sisters of Mercy – “Good Things”, 1982

The cracks appear along the wall, wall, wall, wall, wall,
See the people stoop back, once stood tall, tall, tall, tall, tall,
I see the buildings crumble see the empires fall,
But I see no more and I don’t recall.

Because I see,
Nothing but the good things,
Because I see,
Nothing but the good things,
Because I see,
Nothing but the good things,
Nothing but the good, good, good,
Nothing but the good things.

Well nothing ventured nothing lost,
Count the changes count the cost,
A reformation so uncertain,
Keep your station draw the curtain.
Because out there the snipers work the ridges,
Building bombs and blowing bridges,
Out there on a darkened road,
The lines are dead and the cars explode.

But in here,
There’s nothing but the good things,
In here,
Nothing but the good things,
In here,
Nothing but the good things,
Nothing but the good good, good, good, good,
Nothing but the good things.

I see a green sea a pleasant land, land, land, land, land,
Nothing legal underhand,
On the fence or in the sand,
Well I take no chances and I take no stand.
Against the wall,
Against the wire,
Against the fall,
Against the fire,
Against the sale,
Against the hire,
They say the profits high,
But I know the cost is higher.

Still I see,
Nothing but the good things,
Still I see,
Nothing but the good things,
Still I see here see do talk see,
Nothing but the good things,
Nothing but the good, good, good, good, good,
Nothing but the good things,
Nothing but the good things,
Nothing but the good, good, good, good

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