Label: Escapi Music
Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice are one of the greatest rhythm sections in rock music history there is no denying that. They helped to put Vanilla Fudge and countless other bands on the map over the last 40 years. Cactus was one of those bands that came and went rather quickly with little notoriety, and unjustly I might add. I remember how I discovered them, I was in a used bookstore that carried old scratched up LPs and I grabbed the Cactus album Restrictions, and that was my introduction. As I recall their rough blues-rock and the wailing of lead vocalist Rusty Day did nothing for me. Like many bands, I found an appreciation for them years later. Now I am finding all the Cactus music I can get my hands on, I love it. Its funny how perceptions and priorities change as life goes by.
All original members, Bogert, Appice, and guitarist Jim McCarty, are back with lead vocalist Jimmy Runes, who is a perfect fit for their blues based rock to burn down the house with. Ok I know you are already scratching your head and having doubts about a band getting back together after over 30 years to make a comeback album. Well let me tell you something, V is jam packed with great music-its boogie, funk, blues, and rock baby, ‘Ot ‘N’ Sweaty just like it used to be. Classic rock sounds, I mean original, not fabricated by some young upstarts, is hard to find these days. For the most part, you have to go out and find the old LPs, CDs, or if you are lucky to land the reissued CDs then its music nirvana. Some you cannot find anymore or if you do its over in Europe for some outrageous price. I am a happy camper today, Cactus is back with a new album, and it smokes!
Bogert and Appice still have it and McCarty plays some scorching licks while Runes does more than an adequate job with his forceful and arousing pipes. All of these parts fit the bill for a fantastic Cactus album. The CD booklet includes lyrics and for the most part, you can actually understand what Runes is singing about during the course of the album but its still fun to have a look at the lyrics to sing along.
Highlights include the hook filled “Cactus Music,” an old school anthem that ask you to “get your 45’s together and put a record on the deck,” which I am sure the digital download set will have no clue about, sad but true. “Muscle and Soul,” the title pretty much says it all, it’s a very steamy sexy hard rockin’ number about some sweet young thang that has caught someone’s eye. “Electric Blue” is some heavy duty music, McCarty shows why he can still step out and play some great riffs that really grab you and Runes does a phenomenal job with the vocals on this one. I like the way they wind up the album with a snappy instrumental tune called “Jazzed,” which lets everyone know why they were a great band when they first got together in the first place. The chemistry and certainly the chops are still in place here.
It is obvious everyone that was involved with this project got a good kick in the pants from it, now it’s our turn as listeners to give it a spin and feel the music, just as it was back in the day. This is a solid comeback for a forgotten band and it should kick up some dust, joggle some cobwebs, and help people to reevaluate the importance of Cactus music. They are back with a vengeance, so let’s rock to Cactus music… rock, rock, rock.
© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
August 17, 2006
01. Doing Time (4:49)
02. Muscle and Soul (5:39)
03. Cactus Music (4:34)
04. The Groover (4:47)
05. High in the City (4:11)
06. Day for Night (5:49)
07. Living for Today (2:58)
08. Shine (3:57)
09. Electric Blue (5:40)
10. Your Brother's Keeper (4:33)
11. Blues for Mr. Day [instrumental] (1:21)
12. Part of the Game (5:02)
13. Gone Train Gone (4:50)
14. Jazzed [instrumental] (4:42)