One of my favourite John Peel sessions is the 1978 recording of The Human League. At this stage their debut single Being Boiled had only been available for a couple of months, and the group had barely made it out of Sheffield. Somehow, Peel managed to coax them out for a very early taste of their very early material.
It opens with Blind Youth, later from the debut album Reproduction, in a particularly raw and unpolished version. It’s a bit too energetic and suffers from some timing problems in places, but it’s great to hear an alternative take on it.
No Time is next, a brilliant early version of The Word Before Last, also from the debut album. Then what I gather was an early live favourite, a cut-down version of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, which also appears on the first album and sounds every bit as good here, cut down to a mere four-and-a-half minutes instead of the album’s nine.
The version of debut single Being Boiled that follows is exceptional. It was still hovering around the lower reaches of the charts at the time of this session, but already The League were playing with it, tweaking sounds here and there. It sounds fantastic.
Perhaps due to The Human League‘s subsequent lineup changes, most of this session has never been officially released. Which is a great shame – perhaps now would be a good time? Being Boiled appears on the compilation Movement – The Peel Sessions (1977-1979), which looks worth a listen and is available here.
Here’s a trance hit from the mid-1990s, Aurora, with Hear You Calling.
Avant garde eyeballs The Residents are worth mentioning for The Act of Being Polite, even if for nothing else. And, nearly forty years and about as many albums later, they’re back with a new album called The Ghost of Hope. Here’s Running Like a Banshee:
These are this week’s albums:
- Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
- The Human League – Anthology – A Very British Synthesizer Group
- Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène Trilogy
- Dusty Springfield – Reputation
- C Duncan – The Midnight Sun
- David Bowie – Legacy
- Delerium – Mythologie
- Air – Twentyears
- David Bowie – Station To Station
- Shit Robot – What Follows
After a very industrial-sounding first session in late 1983, Dead Can Dance returned to the John Peel session around seven months later with a taste of their now-more-familiar “world” style. It opens with Flowers of the Sea, from their then-current EP Garden Of The Arcane Delights, and consisting of a lot of pleasant operatic-style wailing over almost Asian-sounding backing. It’s a curious mix, but one that works well.
Penumbra is next, with some of the more rock/industrial sounds that struck me with their previous session. Bizarrely, it sounds as though it’s going out of its way to drone on and sound boring, and it doesn’t actually do very well at that. Also curiously, this was never recorded elsewhere.
Panacea, also never released commercially, is rather brilliant. From what little I know, Dead Can Dance during this era were mixing various influences together with “alternative” 80s indie and lo-fi sounds, and here they pull it off very well.
Finally we get Carnival of Light, also from that debut EP, an energetic piece full of saucepan banging and pent up vocals. It’s difficult to imagine how this must have sounded – Wake Me Up Before You Go Go was number 1 when this was recorded – so it’s good to here an alternative take of the early 1980s.
Since writing about the preceding session a few months ago, both have now been released on a collection entitled Garden of the Arcane Delights / The Peel Sessions, available here.
After Silence took over the world the first time, Delerium appeared again with a follow-up with Leigh Nash from Sixpence None the Richer, and it’s great – this is Innocente (Falling in Love).