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Honkin' On Bobo

By Michael Summers


Fort Wayne Reader


Blues purists won’t find much to like on Honkin’ On Bobo, Aerosmith’s long-awaited album of blues covers. But for Aerosmith fans, it might be the album they’ve been waiting for since Pump. Like most rock groups of their era, Aerosmith learned their blues second-hand from the British blooze bands of the 60s. Here, Aerosmith put their own stamp on oft-covered classics like “Roadrunner,” “Eyesight to the Blind,” and “Baby, Please Don’t Go.” Their take on “You Gotta Move” is such a departure from the original (or the Rolling Stones’ 1971 version) that it barely even sounds like the same song, while “Never Loved A Girl” sticks pretty close to its primary source (Aretha Franklin’s “Never Loved A Man”). I won’t claim Honkin’ On Bobo signals a permanent return to form for the group — the one original here, “The Grind,” just plain stinks — but the band tears into the material with the passion of a group half their age and the precision of veterans with decades of playing time, and Steven Tyler’s joy at letting his vocal chords loose on these songs is almost palpable. All-in-all, Honkin’ On Bobo serves as a timely reminder of why Aerosmith were considered such a top-notch rock band in the first place.

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