Honkin' on Bobo Enhanced
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For years, possibly decades, Aerosmith talked about cutting a blues album. They finally delivered with this 2004 endeavor. Purists and scholars might be offended that Steven Tyler and co. don't deliver the blues the way Muddy Waters or Howlin' Wolf recorded them, but you don't become world-famous doing things the way everybody else does. Aerosmith amps up and rocks out the blues as only they can for one heck of an experience.
Aerosmith are one of the few arena-sized bands still capable of playing it down-to-earth when the occasion calls. For Honkin' on Bobo, the boys return to their bar band roots (and fire a warning shot at Jack White) with this set of classic blues and soul covers generously peppered with harmonica, horns, and boogie-woogie piano. For years, Aerosmith sprinkled similar ditties on their LPs, but devoting a whole disc to material associated with John Lee Hooker, Mississippi Fred McDowell, et al? That takes chutzpah--and they've got it to spare here. "Shame, Shame, Shame" is a finger-waggin', hip-shakin' romp, while "Baby, Please Don't Go" starts out spooky, then escalates as Steven Tyler builds to a full-throttle holler with Joe Perry's guitar blazing his backside all the way. Tyler even snatches one signature song ("Never Loved A Girl") away from the Queen of Soul...at least for a few minutes. --Kurt B. Reighley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
They've finally rolled up their sleeves and explored the roots of the musical genre which have made them one of the world's greatest rock and roll bands. Tyler is surprisingly somewhat reserved, but that's a compliment. His musical sense makes him belt out the vocals when he should, and let Perry and Whitford rip throught the blues riffs when it's appropriate.
I've listened to the album six times, and am honestly trying to come up with at least a half-hearted criticism, but I just can't find one.
If you're an Aerosmith fan and love the blues, this is a "must have" album. If you're an Aerosmith fan and don't know the blues, or if you're a blues fan that doesn't know Aerosmith, this is a "should definitely have" album. You'll be very pleasantly surprised.
Although 'Honkin on Bobo' is not exactly 70's Aerosmith, does it have to be? The answer is no. It's a different era, a different time for this band. They're having a little fun putting out some blues cover songs and generally, do a pretty good job. A few of the tunes on this record the boys have incorporated some pop rock hooks to give it more of a commercial appeal. That's a turn-off for me but on the other hand there are several other songs that are either just straight on blues or have been embellished but still sound good or perhaps improved.
I haven't finished editing this post yet, I'm going to provide some input on the songs but my recommendation would be to go ahead and buy it!
The production (thank you, Jack Douglas!) is very reminiscent of old-school Aerosmith circa Toys in the Attic, Rocks, Draw the Line in that the vocals, guitars and drums all sound very live and not mired in 96 overdubs and awash in gated reverb (see anything after Permanent Vacation).
Particular note and kudos go to the one original track "The Grind" and the two Joe Perry vocals, "Back Back Train" and "Stop Messin' Around." "The Grind" proves that Aerosmith is still capable of writing a strong, original song that doesn't sound exactly like one of their other recent hits. As for the Joe Perry vocals - hell, Joe Perry is just so damn cool!
What makes this album really special is that the immediacy of its performance and production allows you to face your speakers and almost picture the band playing it in your living room. Ignore the neighbor banging on your wall, tweak the volume even louder and enjoy! Oh, and Steven, get your feet off my couch!
Now if Aerosmith and Jack Douglas would only repeat this welcome comeback with an album full of new and original songs....
Well, I'm going to rephrase that slightly and say that if you are a blues fan (a real one, not just a casual fan of people like Eric Clapton and Robert Cray), you definitely won't like this album.
But if you are a hard rock fan, well, this ridiculously titled CD may at least have the effect of making you want to listen to some REAL blues. And that's okay, I suppose, even if the album itself has very little merit.
Anyway, Aerosmith certainly aren't playing like a blues band here (and I don't suppose they are trying to, either), but they lay down a decent, seriously hard-rocking version of Bo Diddley's "Road Runner", a pretty good, acoustic "Jesus Is On The Mainline", and a very fine take on Sonny Boy Williamson's "Eyesight To The Blind" with some great piano playing by Paul Santo...certainly the highlight of the album.
But they also mess up Big Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go" completely, turning it into an embarrasing and utterly hysterical semi-punk number, and songs like "Never Loved A Girl", "Back Back Train", "I'm Ready", and Fred McDowell's "You Gotta Move" (which used to be such a good song) fall far short of the originals. We just don't need to hear this amateurish version of "I'm Ready", which only serves to remind the listener that Muddy Waters was truly one of a kind.
All in all, "Honkin' On Bobo" is a big disappointment.
Aerosmith used to play some truly great, rough and tough, blues-based hard rock back in the 70s, but the vast majority of these songs fail to capture even a little bit of that magic.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Aerosmith doing legendary blues songs. Amazing cd, one of the best. Love every song on it.Published 3 months ago by Teresa S.
This is probably my favorite album since Pump, slightly edging 1993's "Get a Grip." The songs are all blues covers, and the sounds is crisp and crunchy. Read morePublished on June 19 2007 by The Dark Knight 88
TOTALLY AWESOME, BEST BAND EVER-NOT ENOUGH STARS TO RATE THIS ONE!!!Published on July 18 2004 by monica plant
Nothing new original or listenable here. 1 star for effort.Made a great frizbee,dog caught it on first toss.Published on July 15 2004 by Mr. Brian N. Wright
Honkin on Bobo is a good, rockin' record. It is full of cover songs. It seems like Aerosmith is having fun again with music. Read morePublished on July 15 2004
What a lazy, half-hearted, boredom-driven, self-serving pile of aerocrap. I LOVE Aerosmith and have seen them in concert no less than 9 times in different cities. Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by Jay B. Rusovich
I have always been a huge fan of Aerosmith which is why I bought this CD. I was going to name my favorite tracks but there are too many to list. Read morePublished on July 14 2004
You would have to be a die hard fan to appreciate the monotone screaming to appreciate this album. Billed as a blues album, but sounds more like Yoko Ono on helium.Published on July 14 2004
Drunk guy blues music, not even close to rock. This band worst album to date. They used to experiment with new styles, and be cutting edge, but this is washed up music that was... Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by sinisterfiend666