Album: Aerosmith

Honkin' on Bobo, Columbia
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The Independent Culture

Following Chris Rea's recent re-immersion in the blues and Eric Clapton's album of Robert Johnson covers comes this offering from Aerosmith, another collection of covers that apparently "highlights their connection to blues and roots music". Which may come as a surprise to those who had always considered Aerosmith less a blues band than a heavy-rock juggernaut. And indeed, for all its pretensions to blues authenticity, Honkin' on Bobo is still stadium-sized rock'n'roll, with the band attacking Bo Diddley's "Road Runner" with big, splashy drums and screeching guitars, and bringing real menace to the line "drinkin' TNT and smokin' dynamite" in "I'm Ready". Their ebullient version of Fleetwood Mac's "Stop Messin' Around" confirms that, like many white US musicians, they took their lead equally from British blues popularisers and black originators: the hell-raising version of "Baby, Please Don't Go", one of the album's high points, owes more to Them than it does to Big Joe Williams. By contrast, th

Following Chris Rea's recent re-immersion in the blues and Eric Clapton's album of Robert Johnson covers comes this offering from Aerosmith, another collection of covers that apparently "highlights their connection to blues and roots music". Which may come as a surprise to those who had always considered Aerosmith less a blues band than a heavy-rock juggernaut. And indeed, for all its pretensions to blues authenticity, Honkin' on Bobo is still stadium-sized rock'n'roll, with the band attacking Bo Diddley's "Road Runner" with big, splashy drums and screeching guitars, and bringing real menace to the line "drinkin' TNT and smokin' dynamite" in "I'm Ready". Their ebullient version of Fleetwood Mac's "Stop Messin' Around" confirms that, like many white US musicians, they took their lead equally from British blues popularisers and black originators: the hell-raising version of "Baby, Please Don't Go", one of the album's high points, owes more to Them than it does to Big Joe Williams. By contrast, they reclaim "You Gotta Move" with a choppy Diddley rhythm, its pounding tribal beat slashed with razoring guitar licks and Steven Tyler's most lascivious snarl. The rollicking tone lets up only at the end, with "Jesus Is on the Main Line" treated to marching-band drums and massed vocals laced together with spindly acoustic slide guitar.

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