The Litter was an American psychedelic and garage rock band, formed in 1966 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Four members of the original lineup, Jim Kane, Bill Strandlof, Denny Waite, and Dan Rinaldi formed from the remains of two popular Minneapolis band’s, The Victors and The Tabs, in 1966. Tom Murray joined as a result from a successful band audition. Their group name was presented by Jim Kane and accepted over other suggestions like “The Mustys”.
Heavily influenced by the bands of the British Invasion, the group recorded their debut single “Action Woman/”A Legal Matter”in late 1966. “Action Woman” proved to be their most impactful single and became a garage rock classic. Bill Strandlof, lead guitarist for the single, was replaced by Tom Caplan just before their debut album Distortions was released in the summer of 1967.
In 1969, the band finally signed to a major label. Their third album, Emerge would be released on the ABC Records label and became their most successful to date. It would chart at number 175 on the Billboard 200. However, recording for the album did not include Chaplin or Waite. There were heavier rock tracks on the album. The group would later disband by 1970.
The Litter‘s Emerge combines the sound of the Amboy Dukes with Blue Cheer — all while vocalist Mark Gallagher does his best at times to imitate Jack Bruce. Burt Bacharach and Hal David‘s “Little Red Book” gets torn apart in the translation and is lots of fun. Lead guitarist Ray Melina takes the band to the world of British rock with his “Breakfast at Gardenson’s,” the light feeling here a total about-face, a transition that complements the huge sound on most of the record. Opening track “Journeys” is that Brit rock flair and West Coast vocal sound meeting the Amboy Dukes. This has all been heard and done before, but the Litter emulate it so well that their concoction is actually quite inviting. “Silly People” is the rock band toying with jazz and blues, light years away from the garage, but working on a level that eluded the Blues Magoos and Lovecraft when those ensembles strayed too far from their origins. The Jack Bruce inspiration comes in loud and clear here, not only in the voice but in what the band is doing. The tunes are mostly in the two- to three-and-a-half-minute range with only the Iron Butterfly-ish “Future of the Past” clocking in at 12-minutes-plus ending side two and an over-five-minute rendition of Stephen Stills‘ “For What It’s Worth” closing out the first side. The band’s own “Blue Ice” works better than the cover of Buffalo Springfield and, face it, that 1967 protest song was unique and difficult to re-interpret. The Litter actually do a great job of walking on this sacred ground till they give it a half-time Ramones/the Dickies jolt years before that concept would come in to vogue; the attempt goes only halfway but is interesting. The album cover uses a negative photo pastiche and they’ve got the Blue Cheer image down pat. Bassist J. Worthington Kane does a fine job of producing his group studying their heroes and getting an A on the exam. It’s just too bad a Terry Knight or Colonel Tom Parker wasn’t around these parts to bring this to the masses.
1. Journeys – 2:15
Written-By – M. Gallagher, R. Melina
2. Feeling 2:50
Written-By – J. Kane, M. Gallagher, T. Murray
3. Silly People – 3:30
Written-By – J. Kane, M. Gallagher, R. Melina, T. Murray
4. Blue Ice – 3:14
Written-By – J. Kane, T. Murray
5. For What It’s Worth – 5:18
Written-By – S. Stills
6. Little Red Book – 3:35
Written-By – H. David-B. Bacharach
7. Breakfast At Gardenson’s – 3:00
Written-By – R. Melina
8. Future Of The Past – 12:35
Written-By – Jim Kane
- Copyright (c) – Grand Award Record Co., Inc.
- Licensed From – ABC Records, Inc.
- Manufactured By – Grand Award Record Co., Inc.
- Recorded At – GM Studios
- Record Company – Command
- Record Company – ABC Records
- Mastered At – Longwear Plating
- Mastered At – Sterling Sound
- Bass, Bass [Fuzz], Effects – J. Worthington Kane
- Design, Cover – Byron Goto, Henry Epstein
- Drums, Percussion – Tom Murray
- Electric Guitar [Lead], Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Ray Melina
- Engineer – Jim Bruzzese
- Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Mark Gallagher
- Photography By – Jerry Aronson
- Producer – J. Worthington Kane, The Litter, Punch
- Rhythm Guitar, Vocals – Dan Rinaldi
Style: Psychedelic Rock, Prog Rock
Label – Probe Records