THE NIGHTINGALES & VIC GODARD – Lucky 7
LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…
Today, it’s an absolute favourite of Velvet Sheep fanzine, “cult Midlands pop band” The Nightingales led by Robert Lloyd who have teamed up with punk rock legend from the Subway Sect – Vic Godard to create the luckiest 7″ this year “Commercial Suicide Man” (along with trombone from Terry Edwards and artwork from the Mekons’ Jon Langford – it’s the complete package!) It’s a never mind the rollicking, riotous yet satisfyingly sardonic affair, written by Vic for the pair of them to trade sarky blows in the best vocal duel since Shane McGowan and Kirsty MacColl (you decide who’s who).
The pair knew each other from first wave punk days when Robert was in the Prefects, and when the pals were reunited on stage at an event curated by big fan Stewart Lee – the thinking comedians’ comedian choosing the thinking person’s great pop lyricists – the seeds of a song were sown that have only just blossomed. But as Neil from the Young Ones says “we sow the seed, nature grows the seed and we eat the seed” and therefore be prepared to consume the fruit born by Victor and Robert as they endearingly address each other. The Nightingales have become increasingly meta, breaking down the fourth wall of a hard touring indie band’s dressing room despite the fact they resolutely “won’t pigeonhole for the Man”, and “Commercial Suicide Man” truly picks up the dry witted baton from “Gales Doc” with Vic’s acerbic lyrical injection. But ne’er a true word said in jest when Vic, or I should say Victor, sings “my career is on an upward curve now decades overdue” this could truly be applied to both acts, who are enjoying a real Indian summer.
The ‘Gales in the now established line-up of founder and mouthypiece Robert, Andi Schmid, James Smith and Fliss Kitson are the best they have ever been (and Robert has always been great so they started off from a good point) – maturing like a fine wine, or at least a good vintage of firewater. And “Commercial Suicide Man” is perhaps their best song yet, a true blues-y roister doister, the sparring of Robert and Victor counter-pointed by Fliss’ now trademark drum rolls and vocal in-fills on a Mother Brown knees’ up of a chorus and with shades of War’s “Low Rider” in the breakdown. Oh and Marc Riley has chosen it as his recommended track of the week and he’s my fav DJ, so it’s thumbs up all round.
Backed with a Vic tune “Ace of Hearts” which starts with an arid and stark sexual euphemism the like of which hasn’t opened a song in a long time and a cover of a Giorgio Moroder choon of which more later, the 7″ on the increasingly brilliant Tiny Global Productions label is pre-ordering like hot-cakes (and what a fine looking piece of art it is)…so get yours here now…
John Henderson, label boss of Tiny Global helped get the a-team together to choose a Lucky 7 for VS…
…and given that this record features the Gales plus Vic, each member gets a choice, then all of them have a cheeky joint selection (that ties into their single), with the Lucky 7th being the 2018 single of the year (of that I’ve no doubt) “Commercial Suicide Man”.
Their choices are pleasingly eclectic and evocative, to say the least. So buckle up…here goes…
1. Jake Thackray – “The Hair of the Widow of Bridlington”
As you all know, in the early 80’s there was tons of crap music around. Most groups at the time were chronic and the majority of the 60s and 70s acts had died or gone rotten. However the wonderful (and so underrated) Jake Thackray was still great, as seen here. I think he’s really terrific and – for reasons I can’t go into here – he was the first thing that sprang to mind for this Lucky 7.
2. Scorpions – “Wind of Change”
Here is why:
It practically took down the Berlin Wall, hand in hand with the Hoff!
Just the right amount of whistling. Not too much and not too little!
3. Doop – “Doop”
I recently stumbled upon a VHS of 9 year old me competing in a community hall talent show. Singing into a lollipop, dancing so proudly and passionately along to this very track. Embarrassment aside, hearing this song again really made me smile…. and for that, it’s my pick.
4. The Calico Wall – “I’m A Living Sickness”
This song made a massive impression on me when i heard it aged 17 on the “Best of Pebbles” L.P. Really eerie atmosphere, killer fuzz/tremolo action and the ultimate in teen angst lyrics. Made me want to pick up a guitar and make a noise as horrible as that!
5. DJ Quik – “Life Jacket”
On the ‘phone to Robert Lloyd, Vic originally picked ‘Puffin The Dragon’ from DJ Quik’s ‘The Midnight Hour’ album, but… going through a bit of a shit time at the mo’, he got a call from his sister-in-law who, he says, “threw him a lifejacket,” so he chose this track instead.
A collective sixth choice:
6. One of the b-sides of the Commercial Suicide Man 7” was a song was discovered by Jim. “Son Of My Father” was a big hit for Chicory Tip, but it’s a cover of a Giorgio Moroder song. On the b-side of Giorgio’s original version of it was an obscure song called “Underdog.” This is that version. The protagonist ends up just fine in Giorgio’s version, but not in ours . . . there’s no redemption in The Nightingales! The idea for the single was a duet, and Vic and Robert each singing one of the b-sides. Vic’s was “Ace Of Hearts,” but Vic was into our version of this, so if you get the single, you can hear him on it, too.
The Lucky Seventh:
The Nightingales with Vic Godard “Commercial Suicide Man”
Stewart Lee curated a show at the South Bank and had us play, and we asked Vic to play, too. He wrote this song for us to do together, which took forever to organise, but has finally happened. Our old friend Jon Langford did the cover and we recorded the single at Leamington Spa with John Rivers, who did the Swell Maps records.
“Commercial Suicide Man” b/w “Underdog” & “Ace of Hearts” is available to Pre-order now; https://thenightingaleswithvicgodard.bandcamp.com/
Also on sale at Nightingales gigs:
Saturday 26th May Sunderland, Independent
Sunday 27h May Middlesborough, Westgarth Social Club
Thursday 31st May Derby, Hairy Dog w/ The Lovely Eggs
Friday 1st June Southampton, Talking Heads w/ The Cravats
Saturday 2nd June Newport, Le Pub
here’s Vic Godard’s “song for ewe”…
Fliss’ “song for ewe”…
Andi’s “song for ewe”
Jon Langford (of the Mekons) “song for ewe”…(cos he did the artwork)
and Terry Edwards – hey why not…(he played the trombone, bought especially)