After the Jeff Beck Group splintered in 1969, the guitarist and Rod Stewart planned a supergroup with former Vanilla Fudge bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice.
Plans were scuppered when a car crash incapacitated Beck, and Rod joined The Faces, leaving the rhythm section hooking up with former Amboy Dukes singer Rusty Day and guitarist Jim McCarty from Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels.
Released on ATCO in July 1970, Cactus presented a dynamic blues-rock collision between McCarty’s sizzling stun guitar, Day’s throat-shredding wail and one of the era’s heaviest rhythm sections, laying into Mose Allison’s Parchman Farm and Willie Dixon‘s You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover, along with tough originals such as My Lady From South Of Detroit.
1971’s follow-up, One Way . . . Or Another, piled on the heat, hinting at heavy metal on the title track and slow-humping Little Richard‘s Long Tall Sally. Their version of Chuck Willis‘ Feel So Bad unleashed McCarty on blistering form while Hometown Bust‘s reflection on locked-up buddies provided an ominous message for the times.
The original line-up only lasted for one more album, leaving the rhythm section to finally join Beck the following year.