CACTUS

Hard Rock / Non-Metal • United States
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Cactus is an American rock band that was conceived in late 1969 as a supergroup but ended up one of the first "hard rock" bands. [edit]Biography Cactus was initially conceived in late 1969 as a supergroup of the Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice with guitarist Jeff Beck and singer Rod Stewart. However, Beck had an automobile accident and Stewart joined Ron Wood in the Faces.

So Appice and Bogert brought in blues guitarist Jim McCarty (guitarist) from Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels and The Buddy Miles Express, and singer Rusty Day (born Russell Edward Davidson) from the Amboy Dukes.

This line-up managed three albums (Cactus, One Way... Or Another and Restrictions) before interband troubles led to McCarty quitting at the end of 1971. Shortly afterwards Rusty Day was fired from the group. The fourth and last Cactus album ('Ot 'N' Sweaty) featured original rhythm section
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Cactus / One Way or AnotherCactus / One Way or Another
Remastered
Ais 2013
$13.76
$12.46 (used)
Cactology: Cactus CollectionCactology: Cactus Collection
Rhino 1996
$5.69
$3.95 (used)
Restrictions / Ot N SweatyRestrictions / Ot N Sweaty
Remastered
Ais 2013
$11.47
$16.65 (used)
Live Gigs, Vol. 2 - Fully Unleashed (2cd)Live Gigs, Vol. 2 - Fully Unleashed (2cd)
Wounded Bird Records 2019
$13.98
$15.54 (used)
Black DawnBlack Dawn
Sunset Blvd Records 2016
$11.96
$13.16 (used)
Ultra Sonic Boogie: Live 1971Ultra Sonic Boogie: Live 1971
Cleopatra 2010
$9.48
$11.00 (used)
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CACTUS Discography

CACTUS albums / top albums

CACTUS Cactus album cover 4.12 | 4 ratings
Cactus
Hard Rock 1970
CACTUS One Way... Or Another album cover 4.25 | 6 ratings
One Way... Or Another
Hard Rock 1971
CACTUS Restrictions album cover 4.07 | 7 ratings
Restrictions
Hard Rock 1971
CACTUS 'Ot 'n' Sweaty album cover 3.11 | 5 ratings
'Ot 'n' Sweaty
Hard Rock 1972
CACTUS Cactus V album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Cactus V
Non-Metal 2006
CACTUS Black Dawn album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Dawn
Hard Rock 2016

CACTUS EPs & splits

CACTUS live albums

CACTUS Fully Unleashed: The Live Gigs album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Fully Unleashed: The Live Gigs
Hard Rock 2004
CACTUS Fully Unleashed: The Live Gigs Vol. 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fully Unleashed: The Live Gigs Vol. 2
Hard Rock 2007
CACTUS Ultra Sonic Boogie: Live 1971 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ultra Sonic Boogie: Live 1971
Hard Rock 2010

CACTUS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

CACTUS re-issues & compilations

CACTUS Cactology: The Cactus Collection album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Cactology: The Cactus Collection
Hard Rock 1996
CACTUS Barely Contained: The Studio Sessions album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Barely Contained: The Studio Sessions
Hard Rock 2004

CACTUS singles (3)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Long Tall Sally / Big Mama Boogie (parts 1 & 2)
Hard Rock 1971
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
You Can't Judge A Book It's Cover / Brother Bill
Hard Rock 1971
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rock 'N' Roll Children / Long Tall Sally
Hard Rock 1971

CACTUS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cactus Live
Hard Rock 2007
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live, Loud And Proud
Hard Rock 2010

CACTUS Reviews

CACTUS Barely Contained: The Studio Sessions

Boxset / Compilation · 2004 · Hard Rock
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Cactus were quite simply a heavy-guitar oriented blues-based rock band with a singer on the Neanderthal-rough-edged voice side.

I stumbled across “Rumblin’ Man” on YouTube while checking out a playlist of proto-metal and was immediately intrigued by the excessive distortion and utter heaviness of the song. I did a quick check on Wikipedia and discovered that Tim Bogart and Carmine Appice of Vanilla Fudge were in the band and also read that Jeff Beck was originally supposed to be the guitarist until he had a motor accident that left him out of commission for a year. This sounded like it could be a band worth checking out.

My next step was to check iTunes where I found the band’s four studio albums plus this compilation and some other albums too. I listened to the samples of each song from each album just to get an idea of what kind of music Cactus made. But I was perhaps too hasty in my sampling. Any song with a good heavy guitar sound got noted and I soon found that I had listed about four songs per album, and then I saw that this compilation included all but one of the songs I had listed but it did include “Rumblin’ Man”, an outtake from the "Cactus" album sessions. My fingers flew to Amazon and a couple of weeks later I had the eagerly awaited album.

But I was to be disappointed. Too hastily had I been in checking out the music. I knew to expect that there was going to be some blues-based music but it was much more than I had imagined.

The first three albums (Cactus, One Way… Or Another, Restrictions) follow the same style of music: heavy guitar blues-based rock. There are moments when you might think that the guitar sound is really driving and gritty, and the vocals sounding like they are oiled with phlegm in order to keep that gruff troll-like sound. And of course the rhythm section is doing just fine with the two former Fudgers in control. But at many times I got the impression that this was just yet another band doing what Led Zeppelin and Nazareth were doing or had already done. Only on the few songs from their final album "‘Ot ‘N’ ‘Sweaty” is there a change in sound a little as the vocalist has changed from Rusty Day to Peter French (of Atomic Rooster) and a keyboardist has been added.

I became rather disappointed at first since I had been looking for real proto-metal that was more metal and not so bluesy. I also felt there was a lack of creativity when I saw song titles like “Feel So Good” and “Feel So Bad” or “Sweet Little 16” and “Sweet Sixteen”. Then I heard the lyrics to “Alaska” and when Rusty Day sang “Home of the penguin” I nearly stopped dead in my tracks (I was walking and using my iPhone) and couldn’t believe how uneducated that sounded. Even “Rumblin’ Man” which I had greatly looked forward to hearing was not up to my expectations when I realized that it was just a Neanderthal rock version of Link Wray’s “Rumble” with lyrics added and sung by a cave man.

Well, I hated to think that I wasted my money, so I listened again to all the songs, this time knowing what I was going to get and it seems that there are a dozen songs or so that I actually enjoyed this time round. From “Cactus”: Their version of “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover” is actually pretty well done. “Oleo” features some very distorted bass and a decent drum solo and it has a nice live studio feel to it. “Feel So Good” has some great hard rock guitar and strangely sounds a bit like “I’m a Man” by the Spencer Davis Group. “Rumblin’ Man” is just fun to listen to now as I see it for what it was meant to be: a studio outtake of outlandish heaviness and savage rock.

From “One Way… Or Another”: “Rock Out, Whatever You Feel Like” is just a good 70’s guitar rock song with an Bon Scott approach to singing with some half spoken lyrics (did Bon ever hear this song?). “Song for Aries” is a very pretty instrumental with acoustic guitar and very gentle electric guitar. My favourite is “One Way… Or Another” which is likely the best example of proto-metal, or at least heavy guitar rock. My choice for best song overall, too.

From “Restrictions” and “’Ot ‘N’ Sweaty”: “Guiltless Glider” is a surprisingly long song at over eight minutes. It keeps the blues base but blends in some good simple hard rock. “Evil” is also a good example of Cactus’ more gritty sound but still in the heavy Led Zeppelin vein. “Bag Drag” is another decent heavy rock number. From “’Ot ‘N’ Sweaty” the hard rock/heavy rock style continues but with organ, and “Bad Stuff” is the one stand out track for me on this one.

Overall, not a bad collection of music as long as you take it for what it is. It’s not what I was looking for or what I am into these days but I still found enough enjoyable songs to have made the purchase worthy, though I wouldn’t have felt I was missing out if I hadn’t bought it if I had been more familiar with the music.

One final thing, this double compilation does not come with any booklet detailing the band history. The inlay card opens to one page only with basic details about the songs and personnel, but nothing meaty. I would have at least liked a historical account of the band to go with this compilation.

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