When you think of the blues you think of Memphis, Chicago and Mississippi. All
places where the blues were nurtured and grew to be a benchmark of the American music
scene. Now you can add Boston to that list. The original 'bad boys' of American rock
are back at it again with their new album, 'Honkin' On Bobo'. And who better to do a
blues-themed album than Aerosmith. Look at the group's previous albums and you'll find
that they are drenched in blues. From the guitar riffs to the rhythm to the back beat
to the vocals, they ooze blues. And 'Bobo' showcases the blues in a way that only Tyler
and company could deliver.
The album starts with Bo Diddley's 'Road Runner', but you can forget the gunslinger's
version. Perry's guitar work and Tyler's salacious vocalling make this a great opening
song that delivers a one two punch that would make Marvin Hagler reel in his shoes.
Don't sit down yet, though. Next is a raucous romp through 'Shame, Shame, Shame' and
Miss Roxy is once again immortalized in a brand new, filthy way.
'Eyesight To the Blind' proves Tyler was born too late. I can conjure up images of him
belting out a blues song in some run down road house with just a harp as his weapon
of choice. Then it's back into full swing with an adrenaline charged rendition of
'Baby Please Don't Go'.
Tyler's remake of Aretha's 'Never Loved a Man' (in this case 'Girl') can be summed
up in one comment. 'Damn, I love that song'. 'Back, Back Train' with Joe on lead vocal
isn't as strong as the Tyler tunes but it's more than deserving of being included in
'You Gotta Move' is about as close as you'll come to the all out rockin' that fans
got from the pre-'Rocks' era. But it delivers a great 'knock you on your ass'
combination. 'The Grind' is the only original penned composition and is reminiscent
of the 'Crazy / Cryin' / Amazing' time period. But don't let that get to you if you thought
they sold out to radio back then. This song has a bite to it and you will need your
rabies vaccine updated.
Willie Dixon's 'I'm Ready' could have been a follow up to 'Lord Of Thighs'. Perry,
Hamilton and Whitford shine on this song. 'Temperature' smokes. And it smokes big
time. Straight ahead blues riffs and a raspy vocal to die for. 'Play that harp, Steve'.
'Stop Messin' Around' allows Joe to stop messin' around and get down to business as
usual. Having fun with a great pre-Buckingham/Nicks Fleetwood Mac song. You
remember...before they went commercial. And the final track is the ultimate wrapup
for this collection. 'Jesus Is On the Mainline' delivers in so many ways. Joe's slide
guitar to Tom's acoustic guitar...The simple revival-like vocals...The use of a pump
organ...It all leaves you wanting more.
Does the album click? It sure as hell does. On all cylinders. While other artists
are doing the old classics and trying to reinvent themselves (Rod Stewart for one),
Aerosmith stays true to their roots and reinvents the genre they admired and emulated
throughout their career and brings a fresh new look and feel to the blues. So if
you ain't been 'Honkin' On Bobo' lately, give it a blow.
* Richard Blaine's views and opinions do not necessarily
reflect the views and opinions of the staff at Twin-Music.