Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cactus - Fully Unleashed / The Live Gigs, Vol. 1 (1970-72 us, amazing hard rockin' boogie, 2004 digipack two disc set)



Fully Unleashed: The Live Gigs (2004) is the companion volume to the similarly thorough Barely Contained: The Studio Sessions (2004). Each double-disc package is filled with not only the combo's respective four long-players, but also plenty of remarkable and previously vaulted sides. That is an understatement when considering the two-plus hours of vintage concert material from three distinct incarnations of Cactus, centering on the first lineup's final show on December 19, 1971 at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis, TN. Jim McCarty's wailing lead electric guitar introduction to "Long Tall Sally" is a precursor to the hard-and-heavy onslaught that alternately pulverizes and soars on other classic covers, such as their (dare say) definitive workout of Mose Allison's "Parchment Farm" or the 17-plus-minute oldies medley containing "Heeby Jeebies" and "Money," plus the Memphis-apropos "Hound Dog" and "What'd I Say." 

The original roster is additionally featured on "No Need to Worry" and another incendiary reading of "Parchment Farm" from the 1970 Isle of Wight performance. Although both were initially available on the First Great Rock Festivals of the Seventies (1971) anthology, neither has been on CD before. A short-lived lineup with Ron Leejack (guitar) was captured on the title track to One Way...Or Another and "Bro. Bill" from June 27, 1971 at Gillian's in Buffalo, New York, and the remaining cuts are from the group's April 1972 appearance at the Mar y Sol Pop Festival in Puerto Rico with Werner Fritzsching (guitar) and former Atomic Rooster member Peter French (vocals). While "Swim," "Bad Mother Boogie" and "Out L'il Rock-N-Roll Thing" were incorporated into 'Ot 'N' Sweaty, "Bedroom Mazurka" can be found on the out-of-print Mar y Sol (1972) compilation. 
by Lindsay Planer
Tracks
Disc 1
1. Into / Long Tall Sally (R.Bumps Blackwell, E. Johnson, R. Penniman) - 12:16
2. Bad Drag (J. McCarty, R. Day) - 3:10
3. Evil (C. Burnett) - 16:11
4. Parchman Farm (Mose Allison) - 6:21
5. Alaska (J. McCarty, T. Bogert, R. Day) - 3:56
6. Oleo - 11:20
7. No Need To Worry - 20:18
8. Let Me Swim - 5:06
Disc 2
1. Big Mama Boogie - Parts 1 & 2 - 15:31
2. Medley - 17:04
.a.Heeby Jeebies (Jackson, Marascalico)
.b.Money (Gordy, Bradford)
.c.Hound Dog (Leiber, Stoller)
.d.What'd I Say (R. Charles)
3. No Need To Worry - 5:08
4. Parchman Farm (Mose Allison) - 4:30
5. One Way... Or Another - 9:14
6. Bro. Bill - 6:12
7. Swim - 4:44
8. Bad Mother Boogie (Appice, Bogert, French, Fritzchings, Hitchings) - 5:25
9. Our Lil Rock-N-Roll Thing (Appice, Bogert, French, Fritzchings, Hitchings) - 7:00
10.Bedroom Mazurka (Hitchings, French) - 4:58
All songs by Cactus unless as else stated

Cactus
*Tim Bogert - Bass, Vocals
*Carmine Appice - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Jim McCarty - Guitar
*Rusty Day - Vocals, Harmonica

Cactus
1970  Cactus (Japan SHM remaster)
1971  One Way...Or Another (Japan SHM remaster)
1971  Ultra Sonic Boogie (2010 issue)

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Cactus - One Way...Or Another (1971 us, solid hard boogie 'n' roll, japan SHM remaster)



One Way... Or Another (1971) was the second studio outing to feature the incipient incarnation of supergroup Cactus, comprised of Vanilla Fudge rhythm section Carmine Appice (drums) and Tim Bogert (bass), as well as former Amboy Dukes lead vocalist Rusty Day (vocals/mouth harp), and Jim McCarty (guitar) from Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels and the Buddy Miles Express. Even as their debut was ostensibly rawer, they retained the same amp'ed-up electric blues reminiscent of early Grand Funk Railroad and Foghat. 

The more polished outcome heard on their sophomore effort is undoubtedly the direct result of assistance from recording engineer extraordinaire Eddie Kramer and their upgraded digs at the recently completed Electric Lady Studios, which they inhabited shortly after the passing of the facilities' owner, Jimi Hendrix. Immediately, the proceedings are thrust into high gear with a languorous and seething interpretation of Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally." While not the extended barnburner it became in concert, it gets things off to a rousing start. The lightweight up-tempo "Rockout, Whatever You Feel Like" could easily be mistaken for Jo Jo Gunne, especially in Day's vocal asides, strongly recalling Jay Ferguson and company. 

"Rock 'N' Roll Children" is a heavier number with McCarty unleashing rounds of impressive and impellent fretwork churning atop the simmering backbeat. Cactus do what they do best, returning to their boogie rock roots on the suitably named "Big Mama Boogie - Parts 1 & 2." McCarty's pumping acoustic opening is perfectly augmented by some organic mouth harp courtesy of Day before launching into an explosive assault of pure, unadulterated proto- metal. The cover of Chuck Willis' "Feel So Bad" is given a sizable shakedown, yet doesn't quite seem to live up to its potential. The opposite can be said of the understated "Song for Aries." Although clocking in at just under three minutes, the instrumental is a showcase for McCarty's immorally underrated lead guitar. 

The long-player concludes with two full-blown centerpieces, revealing Cactus' strength as a formidable powerhouse combo on the autobiographically-inspired rave-up "Hometown Bust." Fittingly, this lineup and album come to an end on a high note with the title track "One Way...Or Another." The number is quite possibly the finest original to have been worked up by the band. The cut blazes from tip-to-tail and if the primary riff seems familiar, that may be because it was lifted almost verbatim from Jeff Beck's Beck-Ola-era tune "Rice Pudding." However in Cactus' care, it stomps with a bit more crunch and no-nonsense attitude.
by Lindsay Planer
Tracks
1. Long Tall Sally (R.Bumps Blackwell, E. Johnson, R. Penniman) - 5:54
2. Whatever You Feel Like - 4:00
3. Rock 'n' Roll Children - 5:44
4. Big Bad Mother Boogie - 5:29
5. It Feels So Bad (Chuck Willis) - 5:31
6. A Song For Aries - 3:05
7. Hometown Bust - 6:39
8. 1 Way Or Another - 5:06
All songs by Cactus except where indicated

Cactus
*Tim Bogert - Bass, Vocals
*Carmine Appice - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Jim McCarty - Guitar
*Rusty Day - Vocals, Harmonica

Cactus
1970  Cactus (Japan SHM remaster)
1971  Ultra Sonic Boogie (2010 issue)

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