Along with Ivor Cutler, The Fall and Half Man Half Biscuit, Robert Lloyd is one of the most recorded artists by the BBC. Criminally, he remains the least known and popular (in commercial terms) than the aforementioned three.
He clocked in 15 sessions in as many years for John Peel: two with The Prefects, eight with The Nightingales (who continue to feature as Marc Riley's session guests on average once a year), and five for arguably his least acclaimed period as frontman of The New Four Seasons.
After the dissolution of the 'Gales as Lloyd attended affairs of the Fuzzbox kind, he formed the Seasons with Peter Byrchmore in tow. Peel was quick to champion them, offering two sessions in 1987 alone, and before they'd even released a single.
Potentially at his most commercial, the aural trademarks of Beefheartian guitar weaving weened on anti-blues punk energy intertwined with a Black Country take on country and lyrically framed by a narrative poet with a journalistic pespective were still evident, but now with a more melodic vocal structure and driven by a steadier, more conventional beat.
Relinquishing his market trader in a sharp suit entrepreneurial skills the band signed to In Tape, releasing two singles in 1988 before later signing to Virgin. Two singles and three more Peel sessions would ensue before an album, Me And My Mouth (minus the band monicker), eventually surfaced in 1990. Sadly, the album didn't live up to the promise delivered on the BBC recordings: while the quality of the songwriting is unreservedly top notch, the album is perhaps marred by an unimpressive production, with some dated baggy-esque keyboard sounds, and an array of guest musicians for different songs giving the album a lack of coherence that a more stable band set up would have brought.
Apart from What A Scream, a cd compilation of Nightingales odds 'n sods released by Demon in 1991, this would be Lloyd's final mouthing off for the 20th century until reactivating The Nightingales in 2004.
There's more than enough goodies here to sate the ardent and new fan alike: obscure classics like Of Course You Can't and The Part Of The Anchor (still sometimes featured in The Nightingales live set); curios like Tocatta and Fatigue, a short instrumental that wouldn't sound out of place as the intro music to a Black Sabbath concert; and lost gems like Here Comes Mimi (truly an A side that never was), plseveral other exclusive tracks that never made it on to wax. The fouth sesh is made up entirely of covers of songs by George Jones, John Cale, Kevin Coyne and Captain Befheart. Interestingly, Good Boy would be re-recorded for the comeback album Out Of True.
1. Something Nice/Tocatta and Fatigue 2. Of Course You Can't 3. The Part Of The Anchor
1. Top Floor To Let 2. Sweet Georgia Black 3. Half A Heart
1. Funeral Stomp 2. Mama Nature's Skin 3. Ta Love 4. Nothing Matters
4th Peel Session 4/3/1990
1. The Race Is On 2. The Man Who Couldn't Afford To Orgy 3. Good Boy 4. Grown So Ugly
1. Here Comes Mimi 2. Go Forth and Multiply 3. Kiss Me Stupid 4. Slags and Angels
The Nightingales appear in session once more on Marc Riley's 6 Music show tomorrow night @ 7pm.