söndag 5 juni 2016

Cactus - Selftitled (Debutalbum, Bra Bluesrock US 1970)


240:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Debutalbumet från 1970, svår att hitta. Utgången utgåva sedan 2006.)

The plan was for the Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice to join with guitar god Jeff Beck and his singer Rod Stewart in a supergroup of sorts. The plan was derailed when Beck had a motorcycle accident that incapacitated him for 18 months. Stewart then joined pal Ron Wood in the revamped Faces (and pursued a somewhat lucrative solo career), leaving Bogert and Appice to find alternates for their dream band. They recruited guitarist Jim McCarty from Mitch Ryder's disassembling Detroit Wheels, and singer Rusty Day from Ted Nugent's Amboy Dukes. One can only wonder what might have been. 

What was, was Cactus, a generic boogie band that never got beyond opening-act status and never sold many records. The band's first album, Cactus, was OK, with a speed-demon version of Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm," but their music never amounted to anything more than the formulaic on subsequent releases. The band had a short life. 

After Cactus' dissolution in 1972, Bogert and Appice finally joined with Beck to form Beck, Bogert & Appice. However, that group's one release showed very little magic, and BB&A lasted little more than a year. 

Cactus may have never amounted to anything more than a half-hearted, last-minute improvised supergroup, but that don't mean their eponymous 1970 debut didn't rock like a mofo. The already quasi-legendary Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of Bogert and Appice may have provided the backbone of the band's business cards, and soulful, ex-Amboy Duke Rusty Day brought the voice, but it was arguably former Detroit Wheels guitarist Jim McCarty who was the true star in the Cactus galaxy, spraying notes and shredding solos all over album highlights such as "You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover," "Let Me Swim," and, most notably, a manic, turbocharged version of "Parchman Farm." 

The fact that Cactus chose to tackle this classic blues song just a year after it'd been blasted into the fuzz-distortion stratosphere by Blue Cheer betrays — at best — a healthy competitive spirit within the early-'70s hard rock milieu, and at worst it suggests something of a mercenary nature to Cactus' motives, but that's an issue for the surviving bandmembers to duke it out over in the retirement home. 

And we digress — for the blistering closing duo of "Oleo" and "Feel So Good" (complete with bass and drum solo slots) easily certifies the Cactus LP as one of the best hard rock albums of the then brand-new decade, bar none. Too bad the illustrious members of Cactus would quickly lose interest in this band project and deliver increasingly mediocre efforts in the years that followed. 

01. Parchman Farm  3:05
02. My Lady From South Of Detroit  4:20  
03. Bro. Bill  5:10  
04. You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover  6:44  
05. Let Me Swim  3:50  
06. No Need To Worry  6:00  
07. Oleo  4:49  
08. Feel So Good  6:00