Before he became Patti Smith’s lead guitarist, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years 1965-1968 and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. I’m profiling and rating each of these 118 tracks, working backwards.
Track 34/118: Action Woman by The Litter
Release Year: 1967
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Aphoristic Rating: 9/10
ACTION WOMAN – The Litter [2:28]
Personnel/DENNY WAITE: vocals * TOM “ZIPPY” CAPLAN: lead guitar * DAN RINALDI: guitar * JIM KANE: bass * TOM MURRAY: drums
Produced by WARREN KENDRICK for GOLDEN KEY PRODUCTIONS
Recorded in Minneapolis, MN
Scotty single #803G-6710 (1/67); Warick single #6712 (9/67)
If you wanted one song to represent the Nuggets box set, The Litter’s ‘Action Woman’ would be a good choice. It has a raw sound that exemplifies the garage rock of Nuggets.
The Litter were formed from two Minneapolis bands, the Victors and the Tabs. They were influenced by the tougher-sounding British bands of the 1960s, like The Yardbirds and The Who. The b-side of ‘Action Woman’ is a cover of The Who’s ‘A Legal Matter’.
It’s immediately attention grabbing – the opening riff is big and dramatic. The arrangement is beautifully economical before it builds in intensity at the end. It’s clearly a garage rock classic, and it was chosen to open the Pebbles garage rock compilation. It was written by producer Warren Kendrick.
Despite the promise of ‘Action Woman’, The Litter never achieved much else. Their most popular 1960s album peaked at #175 on the charts, and they disbanded in 1972. ‘Action Woman’ remains their best-known song, a beloved contribution to the garage rock lexicon.