Rob Lloyd and his incarnations – Nightingales and their predecessors The Prefects – have been the outsiders outsiders. Those precious musical critics who have classical for breakfast, prog for lunch and jazz for supper have found it difficult to consume the excessive ingredients of the ‘Gales and their gung-ho Birmingham brand of Krautrock meets all ball. Meanwhile, The Prefects even have had a release entitled _Amateur W****_, so that is the ultimate self-deprication – with a knowing that our art will never be taken seriously. However, the King Rockermovie based around Nightingales career displayed that this is a real band where the lows have not detracted from a desire to tread a singular path – whether, it has scored the outcomes of the gory or glory. Admittedly, the commercial highs have not be in abundance as regards fame and fortune, but in respects of endeavour and enterprise there is immense credit.
Below that everything and the kitchen sink canvas, one has to admire the fact that Lloyd and his cohorts excel with their multi-rhythm, multi-genre, multi-functional approach. The Nightingales adopt a Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band v Can v Velvet Underground v nothing else before or since template and then there is a shift through the gears to create a sound that has more components than it is even possible to assess. The musicianship is breathtaking as on occasions there are a series of songs within one pocket and at cross purposes forming to produce the ultimate noise with poise. In among all of that diversity there is also the gentle and sublime pop tune that is radio friendly but sadly does not get the exposure it deserves.
The album: Nightingales: Live In Balsall Heath on *Tiny Global Productions
is a limited edition vinyl/download and this record is an 18 tune doubler on cabbage green vinyl featuringan expanded seven-piece with the renowned Terry Edwards joining the throng.Meanwhile, bassist/engineer Andi Schmid collates the sounds together in the studio for our listening pleasure. We are also given the visual treat of Rob Lloyd holding a cabbage on the album cover of this ultimate post-punk powerhouse.
Four decades after Nightingales appeared – we find them on top of their game – and, an augmented line up only further excels the already peerless produce. The group do not rely on their early effort with only a couple of songs from that era and one could argue there are exclusions which should have been nailed on but at the end of the day the collection could go from 18 to 80 – such is the depth of diligence in the vaults. The merchandise does not delve into every aspect of Nightingales nuances but the latest long player – The Last Laugh offers a magnificent seven tunes and _For F*’ Sake_ throws in a fab four to claim the lion’s share of the output present.*
Lloyd leads from the front with the dervish drumming diva Fliss Kitson aiding and abetting the vocals. As a live experience there are no gaps in the aural assault, no coming up for air, no chance to go the bar. It is a for the jugular juggernaut of an encounter from open to close – and, still to this day nobody else conducts themselves in this furious fashion. From the discordant to the delightful, from the angular to the angelic, from your listening device to those aural endorphins. Momentum, melody and the maverick! The ‘Gales tales and their sonic tonic are here for your analysis – and, in a world of mostly unsatisfactory, unchallenging, unproductive entertainment – we are lucky to have this release, so grab it while you can!