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NUTZ Tightened Up! Market Square MSMCD153 (2010)


Nutz...whole hazel-nutz...Nutz by name but - it seems - not Nutz by nature. Although singer Dave Lloyd went on to sing Cadbury commercials. In fact the opening track 'Seeing Is Believing' will convince that we have some seriously good players here; A band that seemingly slipped through the post-punk cracks when they disbanded in 1984 after a brief sortie in NWOBHM, labelmates of Saxon, and rebadged as 'Rage'.

For now, luxuriate in an excellent radio recording of music very much of its time - hard rock with prog overtones (evoking early Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Mountain in equal measure), with excellent use of Hammond organ (Kenny Newton) and period-evoking wah-wah and echo (Mick Devonport). And - in keeping with the best traditions of the day - there is a four minute drum solo.

The band were apparently feted by better placed contemporaries - Jeff Beck and Ozzy among them, and almost embraced by Zep manager Peter Grant - but in spite of startling artwork on their 1974 debut and a couple of Reading appearances failed to climb higher than lower second division.

'Tightened Up!' is then a welcome retrospective and features 12 tracks recorded at a Nottingham night-club in March 1977 by the local BBC station as a warm-up for a support slot on the forthcoming Black Sabbath tour. They were enthusiastically trialling most of the tracks that appeared on their third album.

Talk of a Nutz reformation by bassist Kevin Mulholland - sadly without the original drummer John Mylett who died in 1984 - may not seem such a bad thing after exposure to the nine-minute 'Wallbanger'. Great band, great album.


Review by David Randall

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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