Best remembered for two songs: a frenzied, speed-orgy take on Bukka White's
"Parchman Farm" and a punishingly heavy cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Evil"
released in 1970 and 1971, respectively. Formed by Vanilla Fudge's legendary
rhythm section, bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, the band was
supposed to feature Jeff Beck and rising star singer Rod Stewart as well.
Unfortunately for Bogert and Appice (and the rest of us, really) Beck and
Stewart never came through (Beck was in a car accident and Rod joined
the Faces) and the band was completed by ex-Detroit Wheels guitarist Jim
McCarty and ex-Amboy Dukes singer Rusty Day. Given what could have been and
what actually did happen, Cactus was, for a long time, considered some kind of
failure. But with bands like Drunk Horse, Parchman Farm and Pearls And
Brass, among others, trolling the riff-heavy hard rock of the early '70s
today, and a closer look at the band's better-than-received albums, Cactus
ends up an essential link in the heavy rock chain.