Cactus | Temple of Blues – Influences & Friends – New Studio Release Review

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World-renowned drummer Carmine Appice helms the ultimate tribute to his legendary rock band Cactus, with a new, all-star album from that band, add their friends, on Temple Of Blues – Influences & Friends.

The “friends” who appear on the album include Joe Bonamassa, Ted Nugent, Kenny Aaronson, and Billy Sheehan, to name but a few, plus original Cactus guitarist Jim McCarty slicing and dicing his way across a few tunes. The band’s current members are also here — vocalist, guitarist, and harp player Jim Stapley and bassist Jim Caputo — plus guitarist Artie Dillon, added to handle additional guitar duties.

A wild growly new read on the band’s classic “Parchman Farm,” begins the album featuring Appice’s rolling snare in a battle with Jim Stapley’s harmonica. This one also features Billy Sheehan on bass with a high-flying Joe Bonamassa guitar solo. It’s a killer way to start off this collection that frankly never really let’s go.

“Guiltless Glider” gets truly nasty halfway through with bass player Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne) adding what might be best rumbling bass playing across all these tunes. Carmine barely holds the beat together (in a good way) on “One Way Or Another,” featuring Ted Nugent, and things slow down just in time for what is my very favorite here, the Warren Haynes-led “No Need To Worry.” As well as playing drums, Carmine Appice lends his considerable backing vocal prowess to this slower killer blues.

The full current Cactus band manages round-out the radio-friendly “Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover” while Appice dips way back by having Vanilla Fudge band mate Mark Stein singing lead on a noisy (in a good way) “Long Tall Sally.” Fernando Perdomo provides the stinging guitar soloing.

Yes, it’s many years on for lots of the players here and for the Cactus brand, but I dare say you are not going to hear an album as hard hitting and simply blues-rock perfect as Temple Of Blues – Influences & Friends.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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