onsdag 30 mars 2011

The Litter - §100 Fine (US 1968)


290:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition.)

The Litter was a psychedelic and garage rock band formed in 1966 in Minneapolis. Today they are best remembered for their 1967 debut single "Action Woman."

The group recorded its last album in 1972 but would re-unite in 1990, 1992, and again in 1998, when they recorded a new studio album consisting of both old and new material
From Minneapolis, the Litter were one of the finest bands to emerge from the Midwest garage scene. Their debut lp, "Distortions," is considered a classic of the garage/psychedelic movement, with their gloriously fuzzed drenched takes of classics by the Who, Spencer Davis, the Small Faces, and Yardbirds, to name a few. The results gained the Litter exposure, and gave them the confidence to go back to the studio to work on their sophomore effort.

The results of their work is the amazing "$100 Fine," released in 1968. The first major difference between this and the debut lp is that the band wrote most of their own material for this lp, (save covers of the Yardbirds' "Tallyman," Small Faces "Here I Go Again," Procol Harum's "Kaleidoscope," and the Zombies "She's Not There") showcasing their talents as writers as well as musicians.

The music on the album is top rate, led by lead guitarist Tom "Zippy" Caplan, guitarist Dan Rinaldi, and oragnist/lead vocalist Denny Waite. The opening track, the Waite/Kane (Jim Kane- bass, and moog synth) penned "Mindbreaker," offers superb fuzztone guitar work, and builds up to an interesting psychedelic haze. The cover of "Tallyman" shows off Rinaldi and Caplan's superb driving electric guitar work, while that of "Here I Go Again" also offers a glorious opening guitar riff (assumedly by Caplan) to add to the great guitar work.. "Morning Sun" continues the trend, showing off excellent psychedelic guitar work. "Confessions (Of a Traveler Through Time,") a live offering that was to be used in a film, has an infectious opening bass riff from Jim Kane, while Rinaldi and Caplan (yet again) dominate with their guitar prowice on "(Under the Screaming Double) Eagle." Side one ends on a silly note, the very psychedelic and nonsensical "Apologies to 2069."

Side 2 is dominated by their wonderful cover of the Zombies' classic "She's Not There," a common staple in their live shows. This 9+ minute workout on it is a glorious moment for the band, as is the amazing "Kaleidoscope," noted for its use of phasing (an effect still in its infancy during this period), which is painstakingly explained in the liner notes to the lp. The track was groundbreaking and was slated to be released as a single, but before it could be, the Small Faces had released their classic "Itchycoo Park," which had very similar phasing effects. Alas, "Kaleidoscope" did not see the light of day.

The lp is an amazing look at a band at the height of its creative and musical powers. "$100 Fine" is as good an effort from 1967-1968 as many of the other lps of the era. The guitar prowice of Caplan and Rinaldi is as good a double-barrel attack as any in the 60's while Waite's powerful vocals are superb. The bass of Kane and drumming of Tom Murray is as good as it gets, as well- very tight. The results are a glorious lp.

Waite and Caplan would leave the band by the end of '68, and the revamped band would sign to a major label. 1969's "Emerge The Litter" is an excellent hard rock effort, but in comparison to this lp and their debut lp, pales in comparison.

"$100 Fine" is as good a garage/psychedelic effort as one will find. It is well worth searching out and buying. An excellent effort. By Sean M Kelly

01. Mindbreaker 3:07
02. Tallyman 2:52
03. Here I Go Again 2:50
04. Morning Sun 2:24
05. (Under the Screaming Double) Eagle 2:39
06. Apologies to 2069 1:11
07. Kaleidoscope 2:17
08. Blues One 4:10
09. She's Not There 9:10
+ Bonus