Rock in a Hard Place (1982)

2.Lightening Strikes
3.Bitch's Brew
4.Bolivian Ragamuffin
5.Cry Me a River
6.Prelude to Joanie
7.Joanie's Butterfly
8.Rock in a Hard Place (Cheshire Cat)
9.Jig is Up
10.Push Comes to Shove


There's no doubt in anyone's mind that this record came out smack dab in the middle of what is considered the lowest point in the band's up-and-down history. Things were so bad, that their second guitarist, Brad Whitford departed before recording began - joining fellow brother Joe Perry in his exodus a couple of years earlier. They were replaced by Rick Dufay and Jimmy Crespo - who, after Perry and Whitford returned on the next album, faded into obscurity. It didn't help matters that is was the early 1980's, and it was harder for rock bands weened in the 1970's to have much of a punch anywhere.

With all of this stacked against them, it must be said that this record is pretty good. It doesn't come close to some of the classics that were released before and/or after, yet they don't embarass themselves like they do a couple of releases directly before and after this one. Yes, the album sounds pretty slick, and there are a couple of dated synthesizer sounds here and there, but nobody got through the eighties without experimenting somewhat with those effects. In all honesty, there are only a few songs that really catch fire, which makes it a little reminiscent of 1977's Draw the Line - not many hooks, but it rocks pretty well in spite of that.

There's really only one classic song on here - that would be Joanie's Butterfly. It doesn't sound as heavy as most of the stuff here, yet it definitely has that classic recognizable Aerosmith punch. It would be neglected on most compilations - so only the few faithful are familiar enough with the song - and most of those faithful agree that's a strong asset to the band's catalog. There are plenty of times when the band just plain rocks out and invites us to have a good time with them, such as Rock in a Hard Place (Cheshire Cat), Jailbait, and Bolivian Ragamuffin.

Really, there's only one embarassment here, the sappy ballad Cry Me a River. It should be noted that the "Hamilton" that wrote the song is not Bassist Tom Hamilton. For some reason, Aerosmith seem to insist on doing covers on most of their albums where it really isn't necessary. Summing things up, those who have been told by the masses to disregard this album, really should ignore that advice and check it out, even if the album cover is pretty dorky.

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