All Your Retro Needs Are Here!

Review by Frankie Hagan

The self-titled release CD from Nutty promises the listener “spiked rock classics from a cool cocktail jazz tumbler.” What you get is an odd, smartly chosen assortment of party standards that will leave a permanent smirk on the face of a music lover who appreciates risk takers, warped though they may be.

The smarmy lounge singer belting out Top 40 tracks to the ears of a cringing audience is no new idea, but Nutty clearly has fun amazing a crowd with their chosen swingin’ wake up calls. Stand out tracks on this album include “The Boys Are Back at Dino’s,” covering Lynott’s rock anthem with a Vegas style lemon twist, and this reviewer’s personal favorite, “The Reaper (We’ll Be Able to Fly),” that becomes a sort of lovechild for Frank Sinatra and Blue Oyster Cult. As a sidebar, I should point out that Reaper would make a fun competition piece for some completely insane Lindy Hopper.

The vocals of Sonny Moon are warm and falsely tipsy like Dean Martin. He actually orders drinks between tracks 8 and 9 on the CD. Guy Wonder on bass and Jason Myers on guitar do a credible job of bridging established guitar arrangements with lounge chic. Hats off to Mike Rose on sax and Elliott Caine on trumpet for swinging out on songs that probably didn’t know they could bend that way, like a fat man in yoga class. Between Don Baarns’ drum work and the keyboards of Paul McDonald, the rest of this ensemble is given a nice framing. Without question, I’ll also give appreciative credit to whoever conceives these new arrangements.

Watch out for “Paranoid Cat” which takes Black Sabbath into the world of rumba and bossa nova, but stick around for “Back in Black, Baby!” where the horn play shines in a way AC/DC never would have conceived. “Miles and Miles and Miles” is another cocktail jewel that introduces The Who to Miles Davis with just a touch of “Sketches of Spain.”

A purist might want to hide under the bed, but anyone who appreciates the fusion of ideas, style, and lounge culture completely out of control must buy this album.

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