8 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

For a bunch of proto-metal stoner pioneers, Cactus never got their due, even as a supergroup. Besides drumming legend Carmine Appice, bassist Tim Bogart (both from Vanilla Fudge), and ex–Amboy Duke shouter Rusty Day (who could howl better than any other white guy weaned on Delta blues), this self-titled 1970 debut album boasted godhead guitar shredder Jimmy McCarty (Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, Buddy Miles Express). The band ignite a billowing fire on the blues classic “Parchment Farm,” then burn down Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” and refuse to put out the flames until the last scream on the strutting finale “Feels So Good.” In between, there’s a moment of tenderness (“My Lady from South of Detroit”) and some biker-ready rock ’n’ roll (“Let Me Swim”) that taught Guns N’ Roses a lesson or two. The entire album has a dirty, loose-limbed, live-in-the-studio feel, and it could be the best example of early-’70s, go-for-broke rock ’n’ roll you likely ever hear. In fact, many would argue that Cactus should have made the band as big as Led Zeppelin.

EDITORS’ NOTES

For a bunch of proto-metal stoner pioneers, Cactus never got their due, even as a supergroup. Besides drumming legend Carmine Appice, bassist Tim Bogart (both from Vanilla Fudge), and ex–Amboy Duke shouter Rusty Day (who could howl better than any other white guy weaned on Delta blues), this self-titled 1970 debut album boasted godhead guitar shredder Jimmy McCarty (Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, Buddy Miles Express). The band ignite a billowing fire on the blues classic “Parchment Farm,” then burn down Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” and refuse to put out the flames until the last scream on the strutting finale “Feels So Good.” In between, there’s a moment of tenderness (“My Lady from South of Detroit”) and some biker-ready rock ’n’ roll (“Let Me Swim”) that taught Guns N’ Roses a lesson or two. The entire album has a dirty, loose-limbed, live-in-the-studio feel, and it could be the best example of early-’70s, go-for-broke rock ’n’ roll you likely ever hear. In fact, many would argue that Cactus should have made the band as big as Led Zeppelin.

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