Our bubbling under hit, “Evil” was released as a single from their third album “Restrictions.” I believe it is the only one of theirs I have, although over the years I’ve been tempted to get “‘Ot ‘n’ Sweaty,” which featured a new lineup of the band, yet retaining their classic rhythm section. It was the last album by the band until they reformed in 2006 with Bogert, Appice, McCarty, and new vocalist Jimmy Kunes. The original vocalist, Rusty Day, was killed in a triple homicide in 1982 that was related to a drug deal gone wrong.
Cactus was to be a new super-group featuring Bogert and Appice from Vanilla Fudge and Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck from the Jeff Beck group. Unfortunately, Beck was injured in a car accident that disabled him for a year and in the meantime Stewart and Ron Wood joined forces with the remaining members of the Small Faces to become Faces.
This setback caused Bogert and Appice to look for a new crew and they asked McCarty who had been with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels and The Buddy Miles Express to replace Beck. Day, Stewart’s replacement, was another Detroit area musician having recently been the vocalist with Ted Nugent’s band The Amboy Dukes. Bogert and Appice eventually did get to join up with Jeff Beck in the power trio appropriately known as Beck, Bogert, and Appice.
The Original by Howlin’ Wolf
Although “Restrictions” lists Chester Burnett (Howlin’ Wolf) as the author of “Evil,“ Chess Records’ session bassist Willie Dixon actually composed this 1954 hit for Howlin’ Wolf. Howlin’ Wolf’s remake of the tune also incorrectly lists him as the writer.
On the original 78 of the single, the song is title “Evil is Goin’ On.”
Howlin’ Wolf’s Psychedelic Remake
In 1968, the Wolf went back into the studio and re-recorded “Evil.” It was released on the LP, “This is Howlin’ Wolf’s New Album . . . He doesn’t Like it . . . He didn’t like his Electric Guitar at First.” Because of such a long title, it is generally known as “Howlin’ Wolf’s New Album”; however, Chess cataloged the LP as “The Howlin’ Wolf Album.”
Hate it he did – especially the wah-wah guitar, but Howlin’ Wolf complained that Marshall Chess’ characterization of him hating his electric guitar was incorrect, as Howlin’ Wolf considered himself an early adopter of the electric guitar.
“Evil” proved to be Howlin’ Wolf’s last charting single as it made it to 43 on the Hot 100. You can tell which version influenced Cactus to record.