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'Ot 'N' Sweaty
Cactus

Atco SD 7011
Released: October 1972
Chart Peak: #162
Weeks Charted: 5




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Tim BogertCarmine AppiceCactus rode in on the undercurrent of the second "heavy music" wave, sort of the undertow to Led Zeppelin, if you know what I mean. The original Cactus had established a following centered around their invigorating boogies "Let Me Swim" and a super drawn out version of "Long Tall Sally," but they never quite reached that pinnacle of success many people felt they were worthy of. For one thing, their "in concert" presentations were limited by a seemingly bored lead singer, and a stationary band who went through the motions seemingly uninspired.

Months later, we have a "new" Cactus, based around the ever present nucleus of Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert, with an exciting new singer, Peter French, an up and coming lead player named Werner Fritzchings, and a fifth Cacti, Duane Hitchings, providing some keyboard work via Little Richard. The band's "show" is 100% improved with all the flash and vigor inherent in rock and roll.

Side One of the new Cactus LP was recorded "live" at the Mar Y Sol Festival, and while the new version of "Swim" is ambitious, it just misses the mark; but that's all right because "Bad Mother Boogie" is Class A, 1972 type rock 'n roll. "Our Lil Rock-N-Roll Thing" is yet another reprise of 1950s style, ass shakin' music, and through it all, the Mar Y Sol crowd sounds semi-receptive. With a hot crowd, Cactus can really get it on. Just ask anyone from Commack.

As for the studio side, "Bad Stuff" is the best of the bunch, with its undertones of Hendrix and the throbbing tile chewing insistence that makes this music so inviting. Perhaps if "Bad Stuff" is edited down a bit, it will become a hit single, and that's all the new Cactus needs to push them into the super stratosphere, where they rightfully belong.

- Jim La Lumia, Words & Music, 12/72.

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