The Sisterhood – ‘Giving Ground’ UK 7” single (Merciful Release, SIS 010, 1986)

The Sisters of Mercy, but not… ‘Giving Ground’ on 7″ single was the opening shot of action by Andrew Eldritch to lay stake on the name of The Sisterhood, to stymie the efforts by former bandmates Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams to claim it as a continuation of the Sisters’ legacy. ‘Gift’ would fire off a later full salvo. The story is not without some point of intrigue many years on, may I direct your gaze towards the Sisters of Mercy site, the SistersWiki entry on the single, entry on the Sisterhood itself, and a wide ranging discussion on the Heartland Forum.

The Sisterhood - ‘Giving Ground’ UK 7” single front cover

^ The Sisterhood – ‘Giving Ground’ UK 7” single front cover

Since the aim was to get something out and lay claim to the name pronto, the single was a rush release. Probably explains why there are a few variations to the single release – minor differences in the cover construction, there are two different label variations. Speed the name of the game, the earlier pressing using typewritten text for the label credits – the later one (I assume) a bit more of a type layout going on. This is the, I presume, earlier version here.

The Sisterhood - ‘Giving Ground’ UK 7” single rear cover

^ The Sisterhood – ‘Giving Ground’ UK 7” single rear cover

As for the music, this is the main thing here – both A and AA sides are quite different to the longer version eventually released on ‘Gift’. While the album version has a much longer instrumental intro – its just shy of two minutes in before the first verse starts – the ‘RSV’ version on side A of the 7″ gets there 25 seconds in. Vocally, the 7″ A side cut is more complete – the album version gets a bit more dubby with cut out echoes on occasion, quite why, who knows… Meanwhile, the ‘AV’ version on the flipside is near instrumental, with only some brief murmurings towards the end before the fade-out. I could swear that the main keyboard melody is played on one of the organ presets of any one of the Casio MT-30, MT-40 or MT-41 mini-keyboards… surprising how often one of those popped up, other keen users were Bill Nelson, Dali’s Car and Xmal Deutschland at very least.

The Sisterhood - ‘Giving Ground’ UK 7” single label side A

^ The Sisterhood – ‘Giving Ground’ UK 7” single label side A

There has been talk of a CD re-issue of ‘Gift’ expanded to include the single and unreleased tracks, but nothing has appeared to date… perhaps 2021 now.

The Sisterhood - ‘Giving Ground’ UK 7” single label side AA

^ The Sisterhood – ‘Giving Ground’ UK 7” single label side AA

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