Saturday, November 26, 2016

Nutz - 1975 - Nutz Too

Nutz Too

01. Nature Intended — 2:50
02. I Want Never Gets — 4:13
03. Take It From Me — 3:34
04. Change’s Coming — 3:14
05. Dear Diary — 2:57
06. Is It All For Real — 2:52
07. Cool Me Down — 4:40
08. R.S.D. — 3:38
09. The Love You Lost — 3:32
10. Sinner — 2:55
11. Knife Edge — 3:20

Mick Devonport — lead guitar, vocals
Dave Lloyd  — lead vocals, guitars
Keith Mulholland — bass, vocals
John Mylett — drums
Paul Carrack — keyboards (09)
Neil Kernon — harmonium (05), synthesizer (02, 11)
John Anthony – producer

The second Nutz album was a bit more basic than the first, with more of a focus on blues-based hard rock and a slicker, more professional feel. Still, the band managed to keep things interesting with acoustic textures and some interesting time changes in the course of the album. The instrumentation bears comparisons to Led Zeppelin in spots, though vocalist Dave Lloyd's appealing bluesy rasp is from a whole different tradition than Robert Plant's. The rest of the band fills in with some effective harmonies, and there are moments when their hook-laden hard rock shows a sophistication that is above most of their peers. The weak spot is the songwriting, which is fairly generic throughout. The sole exception is "Dear Diary," a lovely little piece that shows that the band can give a delicate performance to more personal material. On the whole, Nutz Too is a pleasant listen, though not quite as memorable as the albums that came before or after.

So here's a fairly talented mid-1970s outfit that never really made it outside of the UK (not that they were a gigantic success in England).  Formed in Liverpool, Nutz came together in 1973 featuring the talents of lead guitarist Mick Davenport, singer/rhythm guitarist Dave Lloyd, bass player Keith Mulholland, and drummer John Mylett.

Released in 1975, the band's cleverly-titled sophomore album "Nutz Too" teamed the band with producer John Anthony.  Musically the set wasn't a major change from the debut; maybe a little heavier this time around.  With the majority of material penned by lead guitarist Davenport (Lloyd contributing three tracks), songs like 'I Want Never Gets', 'Change's Coming' and 'The Love You Lost' really didn't make much of an impression on me the first couple of times I listened to them.  As a result it was easy to see why these guys had been relegated to 'also ran' status.  As I normally do, before getting rid of it, I set the LP aside for a couple of months (well in this case it was more like a couple of years) in order to give it one last chance before saying adios.  Glad I gave it another shot.  True, there wasn't anything  particularly original here, but the band's efforts to merge conventional hard rock licks with an occasional progressive move made for more than it's share of interesting moments.  Lloyd may not have had the most distinctive voice, but he used his talents well, generating considerable energy on tracks like 'Cool Me Down' and the ballad 'The Love You Lost'. That said, the big surprise was Davenport.  A surprisingly versatile player, his playing added the highlights to most of the album.

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