Sound — 10
Fully Unleashed: The Live Gigs is a mind blowing album! This is a dual disc album with the first disc and the first half of the second disc being Cactus' final performance (with original members) in Memphis, Tennessee, 1971. The latter half of the second disc contains some odds and ends from other performances (Live at Gilligans and Mar Y Sol). The Gilligan's (Buffalo NY, 1971) and Isle of Wight tracks feature original members. The Mar Y Sol (Puerto Rico, 1972) selections only have the original rhythm section which makes those tracks suffer. Cactus has a unique sound that I haven't heard from any other artists. Each member goes balls to the wall (which is usually a bad thing) all the while keeping the grooving tight and flowing. Carmine Appice (drums) and Tim Bogert (bass/vocals) make a crazy rhythm section while Jim McCarty holds his own on guitar. Rusty Day takes the cake with his 'rusty' vocals. One thing that makes this album so incredible is how superb the sound quality is. If you crank this album up to the max, it will sound as if Cactus is playing right in front of you. Sometimes I think my speakers will burst spontaneously combust from the sheer power of their performance.
Lyrics — 10
Rusty Day may not be a Robert Plant or Steve Marriott, but you don't need to have a voice like them if you're a walking book of lyrics. Rusty can (and does) improvise whole song(s) and grooves on the spot and you would never know he improvised them. His lyric flow with the music perfectly. As for his voice, it's not the nicest sounding voice, which makes him a very unique singer. His scratchy, 'rusty', soulful voice may not appeal to many but it's the only voice that could fit Cactus.
Overall Impression — 10
Fully Unleashed is hands down their best album (although it was released through Rhino not Atlantic in 2004). The performances on these discs (especially their final one and gig at Gilligans) are pushed to the sonic limits. All the songs are just amazing. For instance, the burning intro to Long Tall Sally shows off Jim's crazy chops and Evil showcases Carmine's ability to groove on his drums. Parchman Farm is not super fast like the studio version, but it has more boogie and rhythm and Rusty's harmonica playing keeps the flow going. The real barn burner on this album (I think) is Oleo. What starts out as a simple little blues lick builds up into a crazy heavy blues induced 10+ minute groove. Oleo has the most groove on the whole album. You'll just have to listen for yourself. I love everything about this album with the exception of the Mar Y Sol songs because they don't have all the original members. Plus they were already on Cactus' Ot'N'Sweaty album (again on that album Carmine and Tim are the original members). This is one album that if anything bad happend to it (stolen/lost/broken) I would probably buy a new one although they're out of print (and if I didn't have it backed up on my computer). Just go out and listen to this album, you'll realize how talented these musicians are.