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.