Popular music has a kooky way of recycling, revamping and re-inventing itself, 'retro' being the buzzword of late. It's no wonder a band like Nutty would come along and blend it all together like the perfect martini. And blend they do. It's almost a lesson in music appreciation for both the pop/rock crowd and the jazz set. I don't know that many folks who include both styles in their listening library . . . Nutty takes, for the most part, the lesser covered but quite easily recognizable rock favorites and twists, shakes and stirs them up with equal parts BeBop, Cocktail Jazz, Crime Jazz, Straight-Ahead and Swing--often times incorporating excerpts from equally recognizable jazz staples and even TV/movie themes of yore--creating renditions that either work conceptually, musically or are just plain nutty. Consider MILES AND MILES AND MILES; The Who gone Latin, with an homage to Mr. Davis in the form of several song references (I counted six, but who's counting?). Paul McDonald leads us in with a dead giveaway on piano, then commands the Rhodes from there. It's when frontman Sonny Moon starts to sing with that suave intensity that we get our bearing and go with the flow of this Townshend tune remodeled. And if some don't get it, So What? Oh, and when trumpet virtuoso Carl Saunders softly blows a solo off the Sketches Of Spain riff . . . wowsville! Then there's HEART FULL OF (DOUBLE-O) SOUL, of the similar title made famous by The Yardbirds (say, where'd they get that moniker?!). Hmmm . . . could Mr. Bond be lamenting over the spy who left him? We get an essence of Spillane with Elliott Caine's muted trumpet solo, with Mike Rose's soulful tenor lurking in the shadows in cool pursuit. Listen, when Sonny says THE BOYS ARE BACK AT DINO'S, odds are he's found Frank, Dean and Sammy at the bar--at least in spirit(s)! The strings remind me of Sinatra/Basie somehow, and the shout vocals give this tune a nice touch. Thin Lizzy on the rocks! And consider ON GREEN WALRUS STREET: who else would dare tackle I Am The Walrus while struttin' serpentine to a polyrhythmic On Green Dolphin Street and crooning Lennon like it was some jaded gumshoe narrative? Who was that egg guy? BACK IN BLACK, BABY! Is AC/DC for beatniks, with boppin' bongos and that boots-are-made-for-walkin' bass of co-creator Guy Wonder (he had the beret on for this one). To swing it even further, there's some tasty guitar trekkin' by Jason Myers, and more sultry sax solo work by Mike Rose. So why two Beatle tunes? Why the hell not?! SHE SAID, SEE SHED (try saying that backwards at slow speed) is simply a friendly cocktail version of yet another Lennon story with horns over easy, featuring a jaunty Joel Penner on trumpet, a dreamy vibe accompaniment and solo by legendary ex-X member D.J. Bonebrake and a surprise vocal backdrop by the Four Crewcuts to add the finishing touches. And that's just the calm before the inevitable stormin' swing version of a Blue Oyster Cult blueprint, THE REAPER (WE'LL BE ABLE TO FLY), an uplifting code-blue number with a sudden 40-bar blurt of Sing Sing Sing for a little temporary insanity. Love those shout vocals and, to be perfectly Frank, Sonny's tag line at the end. Added to this kookiness are a couple bonus tracks from an earlier version of Nutty, featuring (other than Moon and Wonder) different players. The first tune, almost always an opener at their shows, is their ode to Led Zeppelin, BLACK MUTT. A swingin' jump blues number featuring a pompadoured Daryl Boggs on guitar and that Buddah Head from Boston, Joe Pafumi on drums. The second song, PARANOID CAT, takes Black Sabbath on the beatnik route, with some sassy flute work by multi-talented multi-media artiste Domonic Dean Breaux. It's all there. It's all good. So do yourself a favor. Pour yourself a double-olive dirty dry martini, warm up the tube amp, set the tones flat and get the speakers and the mood right. It's time to get Nutty, dig? ---TRIPP SHAWN.