From the Vault...


"Honkin' On Bobo"

© Columbia Records

Year of Release: 2004

track listing
  • Road Runner
  • Shame Shame Shame
  • Eyesight To The Blind
  • Baby Please Don't Go
  • Never Loved A Girl
  • Back Back Train
  • You Gotta Move
  • The Grind
  • I'm Ready
  • Temperature
  • Stop Messin' Around
  • Jesus Is On The Main Line

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    "Honkin' On Bobo"

    It's just a huge surprise that as popular as Aerosmith has been since the 1970, the total of #1 songs and/or albums are very small. In their entire history, they've only achieved 2 #1 albums, and one #1 song: Their albums Get A Grip (Billboard Hot 200) and Honkin' On Bobo (Billboard Blues Albums). "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" (from the movie Armaggedon) would be their only #1 hit. Nope, not their classic albums, such as Toys In The Attic, Pump or Permanent Vacation hit the top. Likewise, the many hits from those albums did not even achieve the #1 spot.

    This week, we look at one of those #1 albums, Honkin' On Bobo, released in 2004. Arguably stating, this album is not really an all-true Blues albums. There are some songs that do have the Blues qualities, yet the remaining tracks are in the Rock form, as Aerosmith has proven on many of their albums. As a whole, this album is quite entertaining, but not even close to their well-known most popular Rock albums.

    The opening track is the well-known "Road Runner". Impressive as always, Aerosmith puts their own touch on this song. You could almost hear two other well-known songs in this upbeat version -- The Peter Gunn theme, and/or music by Booker T. & The MGs/Blues Brothers Band. Boogie woogie blues has the next track, "Shame, Shame, Shame." "Eyesight To The Blind" has been covered by The Who and Eric Clapton (Tommy), yet Aerosmith's version takes on the basic blues, which was recorded way different by The Who and Clapton.

    The question "Who didn't do this song?" is on the well-known "Baby, Please Don't Go." Most people remember this version by Them (featuring Van Morrison) and The Amboy Dukes (featuring Ted Nugent). Just those two names pop in my mind, as this track has been covered by many. Add Aerosmith to this list. Aretha Franklin had the female version of "Never Loved A Man," where Aerosmith does their take on "Never Loved A Girl." Aretha still claims this one.

    Aerosmith guitaris Joe Perry gets the lead vocals on two tracks here. The first, is "Back Back Train," a song that is really not well-known, but the blues swamp style is best described on this, and could even be a track heard on the movie soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou. "You Gotta Move" by the Rolling Stones had their version in the basic blues, yet Aerosmith's version is their own Rock style we've been familiar with.

    "The Grind" is a great, groovin blues track, in the common Aersomith style. And again, Aerosmith puts their style on the Muddy Waters' track, "I'm Ready." Back to the basic blues on "Temperature," yes, this is the Blues heard here. Joe Perry sings lead on the next track, "Stop Messin' Around" -- Boogie Woogie Blues. The last track, "Jesus Is On The Main Line" is another track that could have been included on O Brother Where Art Thou, and/or even haven the Swamp Blues. This track is probably the only one that is least favorable to listen to.

    Critics mention how this album is more of a Rock album than Blues. This is true. Aerosmith goes back to their old style Rock, and they're done well. After hearing "Road Runner," you're saying this is a little different sound Aerosmith. (They probably could have included their version of "Peter Gunn," but this track is an instrumental, so Steven Tyler wouldn't be singing on this. (When you think of Aerosmith, it's Steven Tyler's vocals that always stand out.)

    Honkin' On Bobo is a good album. It would have been better if they stuck with the common Blues sound. They were trying to get back to their beginnings, having a more Rock sound. The Blues are the Blues. 3-chord boogies, or slow-driven blues. A whole album of this would have been better, but that being said, Aerosmith does ROCK on this album, whether it be an actual Rock song or Blues one. The notes say Blues Done Aerosmith Style! The style of Aerosmith is definitely here, in Rock and Blues form.

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