Record of the Day: Aerosmith, "Honkin' on Bobo"

Record of the Day: Aerosmith, “Honkin' on Bobo”

Honkin' on Bobo (Cd Columbia 515447-2)

Aerosmith's hard rock reinterpretation of some immortal blues classics horrified purists on both sides of the pond, but thanks to this album hundreds of thousands of listeners were able to experience songs like “Baby” for the first time. Please Don't Go”, “Jesus on the Mainline”, “Road Runner” and “Back Back Train”, and that's no small achievement.

It must also be added that the group has done nothing to change the physiognomy of its musical style and with the exception of the last song, played acoustically, the rest of the album is an energetic punch that coherently continues the discourse of works such as ” Get a Grip,” “Permanent Vacation,” and “Pump.” Joe Perry's explosive guitar demonstrates from the first notes that it is perfectly qualified to tackle this noble repertoire full of history, his blues phrasing is excellent even when he deploys tons of distortion and volume, giving us intense solos and notable melodic intelligence, well supported by Brad Whitford's rhythm guitar.

The members of the rhythm seem to be less in tune with the Delta's style, in particular the drummer Joey Kramer who hits like a madman in any situation, undoubtedly producing a lot of energy, but with a rhythmic phrasing that is decidedly rougher and more limited than the others, while the bass by Tom Hamilton gets the job done honestly without showing off too much.

The center of gravity of the whole album is naturally the voice of Steven Tyler, who doesn't even try to sing like a blues singer but sandpapers as usual, climbing on very high notes with great skill and using all his range always with remarkable feeling even when her style seems to go against the grain of the songs performed (an example for everyone: the reckless version of “Never Loved a Girl”, which is pulverized by the sole memory of the definitive one forged by Aretha Franklin).

Tyler and friends presumptuously insert a song written by them, “The Grind”, which in its small way, however, isn't too bad. In any case, it's a very fun album, best listened to if possible with a group of noisy friends and a few bottles of beer, ideal for a party or for some trips along boringly straight highways.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.