Happy 45th: Cactus, One Way…or Another
45 years ago today, Cactus - not the spiky plant that thrives in arid climates, but the band often described as the American Led Zeppelin - released their sophomore album.
The buzz surrounding Cactus was a substantial one when they released their self-titled album in 1970. It wasn't chock full of hit singles, but the combined efforts of lead singer Rusty Day, guitarist Jim McCarty, bassist Tim Bogert, and powerhouse drummer Carmine Appice rocked hard enough to make it to #54 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, which ain't half bad for a brand new band. Not that they were really all that new: Appice and Bogert were already well known for their work within Vanilla Fudge, McCarty had been working with Mitch Ryder as one of his Detroit Wheels, and Day had been a member of the Amboy Dukes.
Unfortunately, One Way...Or Another failed to match the commercial success of its predecessor, only hitting #88, but make no mistake: it still rocks nearly as hard, kicking off with a kick-ass cover of Little Richard's “Long Tall Sally,” later delivering a solid version of Chuck Willis's “Feel So Bad,” and elsewhere in the mix offering top-notch originals like “Big Mama Boogie - Parts 1 & 2” and “Song for Aries.” Although Cactus continued on with such albums as Restrictions, released later in '71, and the half-live, half-studio endeavor, 'Ot 'n' Sweaty, it's arguable that One Way...Or Another is the last truly classic endeavor of the band's original incarnation.