Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Oct 17th, 2016

Cactus: Black Dawn

Black Dawn
(Sunset Blvd. Records)

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Cactus was born from the detritus of Vanilla Fudge in 1970 when drummer Carmine Appice and bassist/vocalist Tim Bogert were planning to create a band with Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck. Beck came close to dying in a car crash though, so plans for that band were put on hold (Bogert and Appice would join with Beck a couple of years later) while the Appice/Bogert rhythm section went on to recruit guitarist Jim McCarty and singer Rusty Day. American classic hard rock band Cactus have released Black Dawn. This 10-song album features original Cactus members, Appice and McCarty with lead vocalist Jimmy Kunes, bassist Pete Bremy, and harp player Randy Pratt. The heavy stomp of “Mamma Bring It Home” is driving and features choruses you can sing along with, plus a McCarty single-note lead that ends the tune even higher than it was already sailing. “Dynamite” explodes with Pratt behind Carmine’s heavy snare and again has some wonderfully realized backing vocals. There are even two old Cactus tunes here, recorded long ago with the original lineup of Bogert, Appice, Day, and McCarty.  “Another Way or Another” is both a guitar-picked instrumental and wa-wa wailing lead tune. The last song here, “C-70 Blues,” is all noisy feedback. Black Dawn presents heavy rock numbers, wonderful playing, and the American heavy rock sound Cactus was known for.


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Cactus: Black Dawn