Wednesday, August 27, 2014

CD Review: Cleopatra Records Releases Rare Live Albums From Cactus

Classic hard rock band Cactus was supposed to be America's answer to Led Zeppelin. Featuring members of Vanilla Fudge, Savoy Brown and Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels, Cactus was one of the forgotten foundations to heavy metal music in the U.S. Lead by the rhythm section of Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert, Cactus released four studio albums in only three years from 1970 to 1972. The band disbanded shortly after the release of their album "Ot 'N' Sweaty." Three original members reunited in 2006 to produce a new Cactus album ("Cactus V") and tour with new lead singer Jimmy Kunes. A show in June of that year at B.B. King's in New York was recorded for a possible live album that finally saw the light of day on August 5, 2014. The album, "Cactus - Live In The U.S.A." was released by Cleopatra Records and is two discs packed with many of the classic Cactus originals along with a few covers songs thrown in.

The ninety-plus minute set begins with roughed-up cover of "Long Tall Sally." Highlights of the first disc is the heavy metal thunder of "One Way...Or Another" and "Oleo," which includes Bogert's bass solo. Cactus also tackles the blues with authority as the songs "Brother Bill" and "Part Of The Game" rock hard with controlled recklessness. The second disc includes the nine-minute "Evil (Drum Solo)" in which Appice puts his skills on display, before closing the show with the Zeppelin-esqe feel of "Rock And Roll Children."

Also coming from Cleopatra Records is "Cactus - TKO Tokyo - Live In Japan," double CD and DVD and "Cactus - An Evening In Tokyo," single CD. Both releases were recorded at the Garden Shimokitazawa Club in Tokyo on back-to-back nights in late 2012. "An Evening In Tokyo" begins with the quick fury of "Swim," before diving into the ten-minute jam of "One Way...Or Another." Cactus turn Bo Diddley's "You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover" into the hard rocking pinnacle of the album, along with the guitar screams of "Muscle And Soul." The album closes with another amazing ten-plus minute rendition of "Rock N Roll Children."

To find out more about these new live Cactus releases, please visit

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