what Frank is listening to #34 – CACTUS – 'Ot 'n' Sweaty – (Atlantic) – 1972
I had never heard any "Cactus" before but I knew of them mainly because Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert were from NYC heavy psych rockers "Vanilla Fudge" (the drummer and bass player).
The theory behind the band was, originally, a Transatlantic supergroup: Appice, Bogert, plus Jeff Beck (guitar) and Rod Stewart (vocals) … which was not unrealistic as they were all more or less barking up the same musical tree. Beck was however subsequently injured (in 1971), so Stewart joined the Faces and Appice and Boggert formed Cactus with a different line-up and went on to put four albums of hard, heavy "ot 'n' sweaty" boogie rock … very much an audience band.
Later Beck did join Appice and Bogert in "Beck, Bogert & Appice". Appice then joined Rick Grech and Mike Bloomfield in "KGB" before becoming Rod Stewart's drummer in the '70s and '80s ( e co-wrote "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" (#1, 1978) and "Young Turks" (#5 1981)).
"Ot n Sweaty" is is the last "Cactus" album and is a half live album (recorded in Puerto Rico). Apart from Appice and Bogert it's also a new line up … guitarist Jim McCarty (ex Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels and The Buddy Miles Express), and singer Rusty Day (ex Amboy Dukes) had left and were replaced by Werner Fritzschings on guitar, Duane Hitchings on keyboards and Peter French (an English singer from Leaf Hound and Atomic Rooster) on vocals (as an aside, the great Chris Farlow replaced French in Atomic Rooster).
Is this all confusing? … yes, the musical trees of most bands in the early 70s was a bit like tracing a strand of spaghetti through a bowl.
There was also a "New Cactus" in the mid 70s with Duane Hitchings as the only member from this "Cactus" (remember, he was the keyboardist on the last Cactus album only).They released a album. In the late '70s original vocalist Rusty Day formed another version of Cactus (there are no known studio recordings from this era, though live recordings do circulate) which ended in 1982 when Rusty Day died from gunshots as a victim of a drug deal gone bad. Finally Cactus re-emerged in June 2006 with appearances in NYC and a festival in Sweden. Original members Appice, Bogert and McCarty reunited and joined by former Savoy Brown front man Jimmy Kunes on vocals, and an album was released).
There, now you know the history of Cactus … impress people in pubs.
But I digress … this album is the last album of the original Cactus (albeit with a different guitarist and singer). The new line-up probably explains why the album is half live / half studio … they were probably testing the waters with a new line-up and there wasn't enough new material etc. You can't have the half live album anymore with CDs – perfect for vinyl though – one side live one side studio. Off the top of my head I can think of Chuck Berry ("The London Sessions"), The Kinks ("Everybody's in Showbusiness") ( though that was a double LP) as half/half albums … coincidently both from 1972.
All the songs here are original though you wouldn't guess … it sounds like the Faces, early solo Rod Stewart, Mountain, Led Zeppelin … though, maybe, a little heavier on the boogie. Still, its beer drinking music. They could even be the band in "Almost Famous" or any other long haired heavy rock band from the early 70s. Luckily, I prefer my heavy rock with a bit of boogie rather than metal.
Side 1 (the live side) – is three tracks long (short sharp punk tracks this isn't) … and honestly with a few beers I would be punching the air, or having a go.
- "Bad Mother Boogie" – is just that.
- "Our Lil Rock n Roll Thing" ..is just that.
Side 2 – Studio Side
- Bad Stuff
- Bedroom Mazurka – you read right … I would love a T-Shirt with "Bedroom Mazurka" on it (I can't make out all the lyrics and I have no idea what a Polish dance has to do with the bedroom but it appeals to me)
This made the charts in the US at #162 (like I said they were more of an audience band)
I may tape a couple of tracks and flog this off … but I can see the endearing side … pass a beer someone …
(originally listed on 23/05/2009)