"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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"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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