"1971: The Road Starts Hear" (UMe; 2022)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Aerosmith has been around since their debut release in 1973. Of course, everybody knows that. But now, in 2022, there is a new live recording of the band that has just been released called "1971: The Road Starts Hear."

This is stripped-down with no-production value and was actually recorded on Joe Perry's tape recorder at the time over fifty years ago. The band were obviously working on material for their debut release and, as rough as it is, you still get Aerosmith at the genesis of what they would eventually become.

 As I said, the production value is rough and the songs are done with different arrangements than what we are used to, but anyone familiar with the debut recording will recognize the songs from the first record.

I have been an Aerosmith fan since the 70s. Did I like everything they did during that time? Hell no. I think everything after "Rocks" is crap and no one on this earth can tell me any different. But if you're interested in the history of Aerosmith, and what they sounded like before they became ... well, Aerosmith, then this is for you. You can hear what the band's original attitude and style that eventually caught record producers' attention and eventually made them global superstars.

Every Aerosmith fan should listen to "1971: The Road Starts Hear." I know I did, and I fucking liked it.

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"Rockin' the Joint: Live at the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas" (Columbia; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Another live Aerosmith album? Well, it has been seven years since 1998's "A Little South of Sanity." Then again, did the band have enough memorable songs on their new releases since that time to justify yet another live release?

Thankfully, no matter what the answer to that last question is, "Rockin' the Joint," delivers the goods, for the most part, paying royal tribute to the classic rockers (like "Same Old Song and Dance," "Draw the Line," "Big Ten Inch Record" and "Walk This Way") while giving new life to some of the band's more cliched recent efforts ("Light Inside" never sounded better than on this CD.)

"Rockin' the Joint" may not have quite the energy of previous live Aerosmith recordings, but the raw talent and rock star swagger are still there. Hence, like sex, even bad Aerosmith is good, and "Rockin' the Joint" ain't bad at all.

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"Honkin' on Bobo" (Columbia; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

When Aerosmith said they were going back to their roots with "Honkin' on Bobo," you kinda figured they were going to go back to the hard rock blues sound of their early records. But when Aerosmith said they were going back, they meant way back. "Honkin' On Bobo" is a collection of traditional blues songs, Aerosmith-ized, with only one song on the entire CD ("The Grind") actually written by the band. Now that's going back to your roots!

The result is an Aerosmith CD that's meatier than anything the band's done in years and that's a welcome return indeed. You know it from the very first track, "Road Runner," (despite the fact that particular song opens with something that sounds vaguely like the opening from KISS's "Psycho Circus.") Every one of the twelve tracks on this CD rocks harder than anything on "Just Push Play," despite or perhaps because of the fact that these songs are classic blues rockers. And that's reason enough to buy "Honkin' On Bobo." 

All that being said, I can see how this CD will have its detractors, too. The production here is as thick as a brick; some would say "Honkin'" is "over-produced." Personally, I think the rich production works just fine since this is a modern band doing classic tunes. Most of the songs are obscure enough that you may not be familiar with them, the most obvious exception being "Baby, Please Don't Go," which has been covered almost as many times as "Train Kept A'Rollin." Although I like the Aerosmith version hereon, I'd rather they had picked another song.

Finally, as cool as this CD is, Aerosmith is no ZZ Top or George Thorogood. That's not to say they're any lesser musicians or that they shouldn't be exploring the blues. It's just to say that, unlike ZZ Top or George Thorogood, Aerosmith hasn't spent their entire careers playing this type of music. There's just a hair less soul here than Lonesome George or that Li'l Ol' Band from Texas would have given "Honkin' On Bobo."

The best thing about "Honkin' on Bobo" may be that, now that Aerosmith has gone back and re-explored that from whence they came, they'll be in a better position when it comes to recording their next disc of solely new material. Without question, I'd much rather their next CD be closer in sound to "Honkin' on Bobo," than to the drab "Just Push Play." 

By the way, at the moment, this CD is also available in a special Limited Edition package which includes a cool, miniature Aerosmith harmonica keychain.

AEROSMITH: Steven Tyler, vocals, percussion and harmonica; Joe Perry, guitars, lap steel and vocals; Tom Hamilton, electric bass; Brad Whitford, guitars; Joey Kramer, drums. 

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"Just Push Play" (Sony; 2001)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Thank God that Aerosmith's early catalog is still available because the band's latest release, "Just Push Play," is about as close to crap as I have come recently without actually stepping in it. 

"Just Push Play" is the same old, boring, uninspired and cliché bullshit that Aerosmith has released ever since their big "comeback." The first two songs on this CD are better then the rest, but they're gone in less than ten minutes and everything else is too poppy, too dull and Boring with a capital "B". And, unlike the Superbowl, they don't have Britney Spears running around in a torn t-shirt to take the edge off.

I have contended for years that Aerosmith's last good release was "Rocks" and "Just Push Play" is more evidence that I've been right. Instead of spending your hard-earned dollars on this CD, save your money for the band's upcoming live show - at least you'll get a healthy dose of the old music mixed in with this new crap. 

And has anybody else noticed that even the cover art for this CD looks recycled? Remember the old albums by Autograph? Looks like the same robot to me.

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"A Little South of Sanity" (Geffen; 1998)aerosmith.jpg (18584 bytes)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

This double live CD from Aerosmith is everything a live rock'n'roll record is supposed to be: loud, raw, and bigger-than-life.

Disc 1 is a collection of the band's mostly newer stuff, including "Love In An Elevator," "Jamie's Got a Gun," and "Livin' on the Edge." The music is played with a party-like attitude and the sound is big and arena-like. You might as well have been there.

Disc 2 is some of the older, classic stuff. "Back in the Saddle" starts it all off and  the CD segues through "Last Child," "Dream On," "Mama Kin," "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion" (with a few others thrown in here and there). Surprisingly, Disc 2 seems to have a little less energy than Disc 1 but is still a terrific collection of live Aerosmith performances.

As far as liner notes/packaging are concerned (and these are very important in a double-live collection), "A Little South of Sanity's" are just okay. The album cover looks more like the cover to the latest "Redneck Rampage" CD-ROM than a live rock'n'roll record and liner notes are non-existent. The cover booklet contains only a few black-and-white photos of the band and ads for their other CDs. Bo-ring. At least if you got the CD at Best Buy you got a free, full-color cloth patch with it.

"A Little South of Sanity" is a must for hardcore Aerosmith fans but more casual Aerosmith fans will enjoy it as well. It may not be the definitive live Aerosmith collection, but it's pretty damned good.

AEROSMITH is Steven Tyler, vocals, percussion and harmonica; Joe Perry, guitars, lap steel and vocals; Tom Hamilton, electric bass; Brad Whitford, guitars; Joey Kramer, drums. 

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"Permanent Vacation" (Sony; 1987)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation was released in 1987 and, frankly, this is there last decent release. I know I will get shit because I said that and because of their later releases, but I have to say those other releases are crap.

To say I dislike the later incarnation of Aerosmith is an understatement. "Permanent Vacation" is a decent representation of Aerosmith as a band. There is some really good music on this recording, from the opening track with the whale song that goes right into the meat of the recording.

These five guys know how to put a record together. I may not agree with where the band was just prior to this with some of the cuts and also where they went after "Permanent Vacation." All I can say is the work of Aerosmith from 1973 to 1987, with a few hiccups along the way, was stellar.

There is no secret that drugs and alcohol were involved when these cats partied after, before or during a show. Stephen Tyler and Joe Perry weren't called the Toxic Twins for nothing. I've read that Stephen Tyler spent as much as twenty million dollars on coke. How does one come out on top of that? Holy fucking shit! Luckily, the band got sober and continued to tour and put out recordings to this day. Another lucky thing for the millions of Aerosmith fans around the world, is the band's live show.

But let's go back to "Permanent Vacation." This music reminds me of what the band did in the mid- to late- 70s, when it was about the music and not anything else. The song "Dude Looks Like A Lady" is on as I write this and I have to say that is one cool fucking song. (Check out the video and you see Stephen Tyler dressed up in drag and, I have say, he does look pretty good!). "Rag Doll" is another popular song on this recording that deserves special mention.

I am impressed to no end that no one died during the band's hard drug days. As I said above, I may not agree with where the band went after this album came out in 1987, but what they did before grants them a few forgivable missteps along the way.

Aerosmith is still one of my favorite bands and I will be seeing them live soon. It's on my bucket list!

Aerosmith: Steven Taylor - vocals; Joe Perry - lead guitar;  Brad Whitford - rhythm guitar; Joey Kramer - drums; Tom Hamilton - bass.

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"Rocks" (Sony; 1976)

Reviewed by Snidermann

In 1976, life was a lot simpler: No internet. No cell phones. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created Apple Computers. Jimmy Carter was President. A year earlier, Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft. But enough of the history lesson. By this time, Aerosmith had released three albums, sold 13 million records and toured the world ... all in a little over three years.

And then "Rocks" was released. Rolling Stone magazine has recognized "Rocks" in their list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The music speaks for itself. The first cut is the classic "Back In The Saddle," and then next comes another classic, "Last Child," two powerhouse cuts both still heavily played on FM radio worldwide.

For anyone familiar with this release, they know "Rats In The Cellar" and "Combination" finish out side one. Now, catch your breath, turn the record over and "Sick as a Dog" starts with "Nobody’s Fault," "Get The Lead Out," "Lick and a Promise"  and ending with "Home Tonight."

This is simply one of the best rock recordings I have every heard. From start to finish, each and every cut is strong and not only showcases the musical talent of the each member, it shows strong songwriting ability, charisma up the ass and superb production value. This are only a handful of rock releases from my youth that I had in album, cassette, CD and now streaming format and this is one of them. I will pop this recording out numerous times a year and just play the entire thing all the way through. I had a friend, Dave Travis, that bought the album and he would not let anyone pick up the needle while "Rocks" was playing. If it was started, we listened to it from start of finish. I didn't mind. I loved the record as much then as I do now. (For anyone not familiar with vinyl records, they consist of one long grove that is run over by the needle and music plays).

This band was golden in the 70s and in the 2020s they are going strong with no end in sight. Drugs and back-biting almost destroyed the band but they persevered and are as strong as ever.

Aerosmith: Steven Taylor - vocals; Joe Perry - lead guitar;  Brad Whitford - rhythm guitar; Joey Kramer - drums; Tom Hamilton - bass.

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"Toys in the Attic" (Sony; 1975)

Reviewed by Snidermann

"Toys In The Attic" was one of the releases that changed my life and made me really get into rock'n'roll music. The year was 1975, I was 12 and listening to Aerosmith, Alice Cooper and Kiss was cool. 

One of my earliest memories of music was listening to a vinyl copy of "Toys" over and over again, never getting enough, driving my parents nuts while I sang "Uncle Salty," "Big Ten Inch Record" and "Round and Round" over and over again. 

"Toys In The Attic" is still cool today and, frankly, it far outshines anything the band is doing today. That Aerosmith is still around and making music is a testament to their work ethic and the quality musicians they really are. I just wish they were still as good today as they were then.

Aerosmith back then is the same as they are now: Steven Tyler - vocals; Joe Perry - guitar; Brad Whitford - guitars; Joey Kramer - drums; Tom Hamilton - bass. 

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"Get Your Wings" (Sony; 1974)

Reviewed by Snidermann

I can’t remember what year it was or what I was doing when I first heard Aerosmith’s second release. I do know that my friend Dave Travis introduced me to Aerosmith and my life has not been the same since and in a good way.

The first release came out with their mega-hit "Dream On" and that is not nearly the best cut from that recording (maybe more on that later). So next comes "Get Your Wings" and what can I say about this recording that has not already been said? Yet, I am here to do just that.

"Get Your Wings" is just what it's supposed to be: kick-ass rock'n'roll with no excuses, no bullshit, just cut after cut of killer rock music from the 70s. Just listen to the lyrics on this recording and you'll see right where the band was at this time. This music is a typical mindset of what was going on in the mid 70s. I have to say it was an easier, simpler time: No cell phones, no internet, no Facebook or Instagram; just family, friends, school, girls (of course) and kick-ass rock'n'roll and Aerosmith was right up there with the best of them.

I remember listening to this recording from start to finish and then doing it all again ... and I'm ready to do it again today. This album kicked ass and all you need to do to prove that to yourself is listen to it again today.

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"Aerosmith" (Sony; 1973)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Aerosmith’s debut album was released in 1973. I remember the first time I listened to the album at the tender age of ten: after one spin, I was hooked. Today, the music is as fresh and original as anything released today.  Steven Taylor’s voice is under-produced here and there's a raw and gritty quality that does not re-appear in any other Aerosmith release. 

"Dream On," of course, was (and still is) a major radio play for the band, but it's not the strongest song on this release, by far.  There are several others. To keep things simple, here is the tracklisting of Aerosmith’s first release:

1) Make It
2) Somebody
3) Dream On
4) One Way Street
5) Mama Kin
6) Write Me a Letter
7) Movin' Out
8) Walkin' the Dog

Now, how many of those do you still hear on the radio today? A bunch, right?

Each song is a finely crafted showcase of talent that would propel Aerosmith into legendary musical status that is still going strong 28 years later (despite a misstep or two; see my "Just Push Play" review, above) with no end in sight.  This first album remains some of the guys' very best work and should not be missed by any true Aerosmith fan.  

Aerosmith's early albums prove much better than the later stuff why this band has survived time, drugs, disco and rap to remain one of the premiere rocks bands of all times.

Aerosmith back then is the same as they are now: Steven Tyler - vocals; Joe Perry - guitar; Brad Whitford - guitars; Joey Kramer - drums; Tom Hamilton - bass. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2022 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.