Minds Music Monday (On A Wednesday) – League Of Nations – SAF/SFC 40th Anniversary Celebration

It’s very curious to read that League Of Nations was worked on in the early recording sessions of the Sons/Sister albums because it really does sound so incomplete! And especially given that as soon as they go on tour for the album – the first leg of the tour within the UK –  they are performing it live and Jim has added extra lyrics to it. 

Lines like, (If I am hearing them correctly) “When the link comes, you’re gonna know when the link comes”, “Tangled lodge had a thousand lodgers, here comes the judge singing law and order” and then I am not sure whether he says the word “caliphate” or “counterfeit” – but there’s a line “caliphate/counterfeit judge, caliphate/counterfeit lawyer – here comes the judge singing law and order”. I mean, it would make the most sense to be “caliphate” – as a Caliph (or various spellings thereof – Calif, Kalif, Khalif) is a Muslim ruler and a caliphate their area of jurisdiction, office and/or region, which then makes sense of the line “here comes the judge singing law and order” – a call to prayer at a mosque? Or perhaps he wasn’t meaning it like that. 

Yeah, tell me again when Jim Kerr started to get political with his lyrics? 1989? 1988? 1985? PISH! This is 1981, people! And take a listen to Citizen (Dance of Youth) from 1979’s Real To Real Cacophony (as just one example) for further proof of how long Jim had been weaving the political into his lyrics.

I also think that despite the lyrics being printed as “relief” – he definitely sings “repeat”. It just doesn’t have the intonation of “relief” in how he vocalises it. It’s not how it sounds to me anyway.

Musically, I like the sparsity of it. It’s heavy in atmosphere. I really like Charlie’s guitar work on it when performing it live and I like Kenny’s drumming on it during the live performances too. And others wax lyrical about “Big Dan’s” bass work better than I seem to. 

It certainly works much better as a live track than it does as a studio recording album track. It was a great decision to put the live version recorded from the Hammersmith Odeon gig on September 25th, 1981, as a track on the Sweat In Bullet 7” double gatefold and 12” extended remix singles.

Other than that – there’s not much else to discuss with this track.

So, other than the original album version and the official live version that features on the Sweat In Bullet single – there are only two other live versions I’ve heard. One from the Futurama gig at Bingley Hall in Stafford on September 6th (listen HERE), and the other from the gig at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool on September 22nd (listen HERE). By the time the tour moves on to Canada and Australia, the song has been booted off the setlist, never to reappear.

This one really is a short and sweet post. I wish I had more to talk about with League Of Nations, but this is pretty much it. 

But I would like to hear what any of you reading this think of it. Do you like the track? Do you think it is a weak link in an otherwise exemplary body of work from a phenomenal young group of musicians who, at the time, should have already been strong in the consciousness of every music lover on the planet? Do you prefer the live version to the album version? Or vice versa? Would you like to see it back on the setlist, even? Post in the comments.

Philippe Carly Photography

I would love to be in a position to buy quite a number of Carly’s prints but as the cheapest is as close to £200 as you can get (minus shipping)…well, it is unlikely.

Two at best – unless he offers a (considerable) discount for buying in bulk? I mean ten prints will be £2000! Yep…not sure I could ever justify that.

There are at least 15 I’d like from the page linked to alone! (And there are other sets of his to view.)

Of them all, the one below has some kind of mystical beauty to it for me. I get the impression Jim is still fighting feeling unwell in this image. He was sick at this particular gig…and I feel weirdly voyeuristic for knowing it. I mean, he doesn’t let it phase him, because he’s incredible and it was “just a gig” – as he said in a recent SMO post he’d say to himself – bravado central, trying to stave off the effects of the stage fright (and having got himself sloshed trying to suppress it in the first place and resultantly made himself even sicker).

If I can only get one Philippe Carly photo, it’ll be this one…

You can view the entire set of the New Bingley Hall, Stafford gig photoset by CLICKING HERE

Weekend WhirliGIG Wish – Futurama 3, Bingley Hall, Stafford, 1981


September 6th, 1981 – A Sunday gig…and one that Jim was sick at…towards the end of the gig. The organiser in an interview some years later said it was due to Jim’s nerves…but if that had been the case, would that not have happened at the start (Jim being sick, that is)? Either way, I feel a bit bad for sharing it…but he gives NO indication in his performance that he’s suffering. What a man!