Reputedly the first punk band from Birmingham, The Prefects became the much longer-running Nightingales before they made their official recorded debut in 1980. Motivated by Ramones and the Sex Pistols, they also referred to such proto-punk acts as Captain Beefheart and New York Dolls, and created an identity all their own, despite their short lifespan. The Prefects’ studio legacy consists of two ‘Peel Sessions’ that have been supplemented with assorted live recordings, anthologized most extensively by ‘Amateur Wankers’ (Acute, 2004) and ‘Going Through the Motions’ (Call of the Void, 2019).
The Prefects took shape when guitarist Alan Apperley and drummer Paul Apperley placed an ad in a local newspaper and consequently attracted vocalist Robert Lloyd and drummer Graham Blunt. Beginning in March 1977, they gigged around their Birmingham home base, and within only a couple months opened for The Clash during the ‘White Riot’ tour. In August 1978 and January 1979, The Prefects made their only studio recordings, a pair of four-song sessions for John Peel’s BBC program. Alan Apperley and Lloyd were the only members present at both visits to BBC’s Maida Vale Studios; Joe Crow, Ted Ward, and Adrian Moran filled out the 1978 lineup, and were effectively replaced five months later by David Twist on drums and Eamonn Duffy on bass, with Andy Burchell and Dave Whitton supporting respectively on clarinet and saxophone. By the end of 1979, The Prefects had morphed into The Nightingales, a far less combustible act.
Every Prefects release is therefore posthumous. Through Lloyd’s Vindaloo label, and at the behest of Rough Trade, the band released a 1980 single consisting of two songs (“Going Through the Motions” and “Things in General”) taken from the Maida Vale Sessions. Seven years later, the second session was issued in full as a volume in Strange Fruit’s extensive ‘The Peel Sessions’ series. ‘Amateur Wankers’, released by Acute in 2004, and ‘Going Through the Motions’, issued 15 years later on Call Of The Void, both contained the eight BBC cuts and added varying small quantities of live material. Between those compilations, the Caroline True label circulated a 1978 hometown gig. The Prefects did reunite on-stage in 2001, but The Nightingales have remained Lloyd’s primary creative outlet all along.
(Andy Kellman – AMG)