While far from perfect, this demonstrates the Aerosmith boys haven’t forgotten how to rock, and maybe there’s life left for them in their traditional direction in the future.
Written by: Dangerzone
ALBUM: Honkin’ On Bobo
SERIAL: CK 87025
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Steven Tyler – vocals * Joe Perry – guitars * Brad Whitford – guitars * Tom Hamilton – bass * Joey Kramer – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Road Runner * 02 Shame, Shame, Shame * 03 Eyesight To The Blind * 04 Baby Please Don’t Go * 05 Never Loved A Girl * 06 Back Back Train * 07 You Gotta Move * 08 The Grind * 09 I’m Ready * 10 Temperature * 11 Stop Messin’ Around * 12 Jesus Is On The Mainline
WEBLINKS: Site Link
You would have to go back to 1985 to find the last time Aerosmith sounded like a real hard rock band with no pretensions to anything except unbridled rock and roll with swagger and dangerous RIFFS. Since ‘Done With Mirrors’ Aerosmith sacrificed their roots for commercial gain, too many throwaway ballads and predictable rock that appealed to the pop masses instead of the fans who embraced classics like ‘Rocks’ or even ‘Rock In A Hard Place’ for that matter.
2001’s ‘Just Push Play’ was their poorest album to date and album sales had become lukewarm compared to the ‘Pump’ or ‘Get A Grip’ days. Aerosmith’s response to this quandary was somewhat surprising then, deciding to record an album of early blues classics by artists such as Willie Dixon and ‘Big’ Joe Williams among others.
In the process Aerosmith have rediscovered their original raw sound, sounding at last like the rockers fans came to expect, instead of the bland act producing nonsense like ‘Amazing’. This might not achieve blockbuster sales, but at this stage of their career such matters could be seen as superfluous to a bunch of men in their mid fifties.
‘Road Runner’ opens proceedings, a track made popular by Bo Diddley, but one many became familiar with by live renditions from The Who in the 70’s, in effect making it their own with their destructive force.. This seems more akin to a Who cover therefore, with expectedly none of the power, but still a good tear up all the same. It’s a relief to hear Tyler sounding like a real rock vocalist again.
Things heat up with ‘Shame, Shame, Shame’, a superlative display of good old fashioned rock and roll that comes off as more convincing than anything modern (by anyone.), especially Perry’s heated guitar work, something many thought he had forgotten how to play. ‘Eyesight To The Blind’ is a raunchy old blues number which Aerosmith adhere to, complete with harmonica and honky tonk piano.
The high point is undoubtedly ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, which Them made a hit in the 60’s. If you miss Aerosmith circa 1974 then this is for you, the band turning black the clock to the days of their ‘Train Kept A Rollin’ cover, going full steam ahead boogie. It sounds like real Aerosmith, not forced and the whole band better than ever.
‘Never Loved A Girl’ disappoints in comparison, more drawn out blues with little urgency, a matter ‘You Gotta Move’ sets straight with another vibrant exercise in full scale rock. Sadly the weakest moment is the lone Aerosmith original ‘The Grind’ which begins promisingly with a hard riff, but degenerates into a predictable modern Aerosmith ballad, musically and melodically. Do us all a favour and stop.
Joe Perry assumes vocals for the upbeat ‘Stop Messing Around’, doing a fine job also a deep throated alternative to Tyler’s howls as well as unfurling a tremendous solo.
While far from perfect, this demonstrates the Aerosmith boys haven’t forgotten how to rock, and maybe there’s life left for them in their traditional direction in the future. More than ever the world needs vintage rock and roll, whether it be from themselves, AC/DC or The Who. Aerosmith have the pedigree and have obviously worn out their current direction, which they realise.
This so far has performed reasonably in the charts, making the top five, an impressive feat for an album only true fans would perhaps appreciate. A must for the veteran rock fan at least, who wants to hear the roots of blues and rock updated in blazing fashion from a band stepping back in time also, to a more satisfying era. Maybe another ‘Rocks’ isn’t out of the question then Joe?
Eyesight To The Blind