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NIghtingales Pigs On Purpose NIghtingales
  • Pigs On Purpose (lp)-1 Pigs On Purpose (lp)-2
    LP MR-SSS 528
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Some jester, writing about the Nightingales, once said something along the lines of, "Robert Lloyd, whose memory is notable for its absence". Now anyone who knows me pretty well will tell you two things - I'm a prize prick and that my recollections are not great. However, some stuff I remember quite vividly and, hopefully, these occasional glimmers will give the impression that I did indeed know what I was doing around the time of this recording. We will see.

Around 1980/81 The Nightingales had released a single - 'Idiot Strength' on Rough Trade Records - and promptly lost half of its members (Joe Crow - ego clash, Eamonn Duffy - victim of Lloyd megalomania, or so he tells me), leaving me on the mic and Paul Apperley on the drums. We had a bit of a repertoire created from the Duffy/Crow improvisation period, plus I had written a new song called 'Use Your Loaf'. We tried out a few guitarists and carried on doing gigs and Peel sessions but when, out of the blue, Mike Alway, then A&R at Cherry Red Records, got in touch about a possible record contract, the group was basically just me and Paul.

We had been playing with two guitarists (Andy Lloyd and Nick Beales), who I genuinely cannot remember how we had met, plus a Bobby Charlton lookalike from Hull, Steve Hawkins, who I had met at a Birmingham Music Co-op meeting and who, I had discovered, liked a drink and played the bass. However, these three and us two weren't hitting it off, again I can't remember why, and were it not for the intervention of Mr Alway I dunno what would have happened next.

But, somehow, he tracked us down and said he wanted to see us live. He came to Birmingham to watch us play and told me beforehand that he was going to sign either Moe Tucker or the 'Gales. I dunno why he couldn't do both. When he saw us at our regular haunt, the Fighting Cocks in Moseley, he liked us. Me and Paul (still undecided about the others) signed to Cherry Red for a specific, but forgotten, amount of albums. For perennial losers like me and Apperley (refer to The Prefects in your punk history books; oh yeah, we ain't in 'em) we were on the first rung of the ladder.

Well, necessity dictated that Lloyd, Beales and Hawkins were kept on board and in spite, or because, of our differences we started writing a bunch of good material and playing live regularly enough to become half decent. We recorded a couple of singles at Sinewave Studios in Brum with a chap called Cris "Yus" Williams. We did 'Use Your Loaf' and 'Paraffin Brain'/'Elvis, The Last Ten Days' with him dirt cheap - the 'PB'/'Elvis' session cost £55 all in.

After the two singles Cherry Red released a 12" EP of a Peel session we had done and then reckoned it was time for an album. Mike Alway thought we should have a producer. How Richard Strange came about, I don't know. Whether he made "POP" any better than it would have been? I dunno. Production wise it was an uncomplicated thing; the only obvious studio stunt - the machine gunning of Andy and Nick at the end of 'Don't Blink' - was my idea. But, either way, he turned up (always a plus) and the LP was, probably, as good a representation of what we were doing then as we were likely to get.

As per usual by now, the LP was very well received in the music papers. Our main champion, Dave McCullough in Sounds, made it his 'album of the year' and also got a photo of me on the front cover of the paper with one of his 'Gales articles. Anyway, a mate of mine at the time, Attila, who also wrote for Sounds, said that at an editorial meeting the week after, the Nightingales cover issue got a staff vote for worst cover of the paper ever.

After the LP's release Hawkeye left the group to go straight. A housemate of mine called John Nester was roped in and away we went to promote it, including a, sort of, memorable jaunt to Holland over the Xmas/New Year period. The evening before we got on the ferry we guested at one of Richard Strange's multi-media extravaganza type do's in Brixton, London. At the end of the night when the gear was being lifted down from the stage to be loaded in to the van there was a terrible stink to be sniffed. And, truly, it was discovered to be a human shit, done on the floor right in front of the stage, obviously freshly laid during the evening's performance. You see, I do remember some things very well.


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