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'Nutz' about 'Tightened Up!' record

Truly, the only people who don’t like Nutz are … nutz.

Tightened Up! Live In Nottingham 1977
(Market Square MSMCD 153)
Grade: ★★★★

By Dave Thompson

Nutz were one of those hard-rocking bands that pointed the British boards through the first half of the 1970s — too tough to make much headway with the Glam Rock crowd, too big to dent the Pub Rock scene, but too individual to push into the metal circuit, which, let’s be honest, was pretty stultifying by then. With better handling, they could have given Thin Lizzy a run for their money; with better clothes, they could have topped Nazareth.

In fact, the only reason most people remember Nutz today is for their artwork, a French-maid clad lady bending forward and … well, let’s not worry about that now. Suffice to say, three absurdly under-performing albums filled the band’s time between 1974-1976, and the band’s label, A&M, was already planning a new live LP when the English Radio Trent booked the band for a live broadcast in March 1977.

That is what we have here, and if you’ve spent the last three decades plus in the company of the “official” live set, “Nutz Live Cutz,” then here’s your chance to discover what the band really sounded like, warts and all, with no post-production studio niceties whatsoever. Nutz seethe across a dozen tracks that not only round up the best of the band’s past, but also look toward the future — the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was still a couple of years away from birth. But Nutz know it’s coming and “Tightened Up!” (an ironic title for an album that sounds so deliciously loose) is laying down the blueprint for much of it.

Truly, the only people who don’t like Nutz are … nutz.

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