Honkin' On Bobo (2004)

1.Road Runner
2.Shame, Shame, Shame
3.Eyesight to the Blind
4.Baby, Please Don't Go
5.Never Loved a Girl
6.Back Back Train
7.You Gotta Move
8.The Grind
9.I'm Ready
11.Stop Messin' Around
12.Jesus is on the Main Line


By the time the new millenium rolled around, it was becoming very easy to be....well...tired of Aerosmith. It seemed everywhere you turned around, there they were. We had Aerosmith on every music award show, Aerosmith on every major football game half-time show, Aerosmith acting on Saturday Night Live, Aerosmith on jean commercials etc. etc. It probably wouldn't have been in the least bit surprising if you would have turned on The Hollywood Squares and seen the band in the middle box. What made things a little more frustrating for the average fan was that their music had lost it's bite since they became successful, and it seemed as though more and more of their songs were tailored for radio airplay. With this release, they joined the trend that so many of their contemporaries jumped on, and released a disc of covers.

What makes this record so enduring is that the band wisely picked some "hard-core" blues numbers that most contemporary fans have never heard of, and they inject a strong serum of Aerosmith boogie into each and everyone of the tracks. To be fair, blues music was always at the core of this band's origination. Like The Rolling Stones, they managed to infuse a hard rock influence to their sound, but their earliest material serves as a great reminder of what made this band rise to the top in the first place. Of course, with their latter day popularity, they'd lost so much of that influence, and they became more of a regular run-of-the-mill (but still great, mostly) rock & roll band. Perhaps they were aware that they couldn't write like they used to, which was why they attempted this project in the first place (example: there is one original number here, and without mentioning it in this review, I challenge you to listen to the cd once and you can probably figure it out).

Of course it must be said, that even though this is a "blues" album, it still rocks. Really rocks. Had they gone the straight blues route, the package would have been too alienating. They cover a little bit of everything here. The best "bluesy" song is probably Never Loved a Girl followed by Eyesight to the Blind and Temperature (again, all are "heavy" on the rock side). Another surprise is the haunting Joe Perry sung song Back Back Train. Listening to this heavy number makes you wonder why they didn't let Perry have the mike more often. To be fair, there are many songs on here that probably shouldn't have the "blues" title. Many songs, as a matter of fact. Road Runner, You Gotta Move and Shame Shame Shame are all samples of songs in that category. Yet they sound so good, and they blend so well that the record doesn't lose any of its consistency. The same can be said, ironically for the "black" Gospel traditional track Jesus is on the Main Line that closes the disc. What's a great blues album without some great gospel?

With the band releasing less and less material in their latter days, it's comforting that they show the world here what they're still capable of laying some great music on their fans.

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