A recent charity shop find, Nightair were just one of the hundreds of local showbands who decided to fund the recording and pressing of their own album, a collection of live favourites to sell out of the back of their Bedford Chevanne.
The trio consisted of married couple Lynda and Kevin Airey, and Lynda's brother Dave Knight. All three members sang, with Dave handling guitar duties, Kevin on drums and Lynda plying the rather oddly-named ‘bass machine’. Issued in 1976, it’s not a dreadful album by any measure, but it is rather insipid. This was the year punk exploded, yet the material – and their approach to it – sounds incredibly dated. And those clothes! These three seem to have bought their stage gear in a store that specialised in curtains for clowns.
Hailing from the North East, Nightair clearly fancied themselves as some sort of Carpenters/Beatles hybrid, as you can tell from the material they chose to record: the note-by-note cover of the Carpenters arrangement of Please Mister Postman, which segues awkwardly in to She Loves You, is a perfect example. Their rather avant garde (as in avant garde a clue) take on the Lennon-McCartney composition It’s For You (a hit for Cilla Black) at least shows some originality, but it’s let down by the stilted production. Other covers include Jambalaya (the Carpenters again), Without You (Badfinger/Nilsson), and songs by Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Paul Simon. The sleeve notes were written by Ray Fell, a reasonably well-known comedian working the circuit (and making many TV appearances) in the 60s and 70s. He later moved to the US and appeared for many years in cabaret in Las Vegas. Ray passed away in 2016.
I can’t tell you much else about Nightair. They had originally been a four piece, augmented by Liz Kinght (Dave’s wife), and played a 20-week season at Butlin’s in Minehead in 1973. Liz left after the birth of their son, Leigh. Their recording of Jambalaya was included on a 20-track compilation, The Entertainers, issued in December 1977. They were still gigging in 1978, playing such salubrious spots as the Old Benwell Village Club, and were being advertised as ‘New Faces Winners’: I cannot find anything to confirm this (perhaps one of you can help?) but they did appear on Opportunity Knocks in March 1977. After another hoiliday camp residency in the summer of 1978 they seem to drop off the face of the earth.
There are currently at least two other acts knocking around using the Nightair moniker; one a young US indie trio from Orange County, the other a pair of Belgian producers who released a rather anodyne version of the Eagles One of These Nights in 2014. One half of the Belgian ‘band’ is Fabrice Morvan, better known to all as one half of infamous pop puppets Milli Vanilli.
Download Postman HERE
Download For You HERE