Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1982: Aerosmith- Rock in a Hard Place

220px-Aerosmith_-_Rock_in_a_Hard_Place

Two reasons exist for why I have never listened to Aerosmith’s 1982 album “Rock in a Hard Place” until this week. Yes, I hang my head in shame and will whip myself mercilessly for this transgression. If I may address the court, my first defense is of course, being in the military and spending eight months out of the twelve in this year overseas. A lot of music passed by without my notice. The second reason was that between the years of 1980-85, I considered Aerosmith to be lost in the rock wilderness. In my mind and many others too, they had truly gone from musicians dabbling in drugs to druggies dabbling in music. I don’t know if was during the tour for this album but I heard a story that when they played live, a roadie would have a collapsible table near the stage and every time there was a guitar solo, Steve Tyler would go to that table and snort the eight lines of coke that the roadie had laid out for him. However, like so much of the stories like that, it was probably more hype than truth.

So what did I think of my introduction to “Rock in a Hard Place?” For one, it wasn’t the diamond in the rough that lain hidden for over 30 years. I wouldn’t hold in the same regard as I do classics like “Toys in the Attic” or “Get Your Wings.” However, I do think it was better than the 1979 “Night in the Ruts.” While the first few songs of “Rock in a Hard Place” is a bit of the dirge that its predecessor was, the second half of the album for me is quite good. While, I like the intro of “Jailbait” and it is better than the next two songs, which ironically are the two singles released from the album, it doesn’t really grab me until track four, “Bolivian Ragamuffin.” One surprise is that I have to say that “Cry Me A River” is their best ever attempt at a power ballad and that includes some of their better known ones in the 90s. “Joanie’s Butterfly is a decent tune but my favourite on the album is definitely the title track. It seems that on “Rock in a Hard Place,” the band came down long enough to just relax and enjoy making music. If I listened to the album when I should have, I would have said to the band, “Remember when you you to sound like this?” at the title track. Saying that, the best song is followed on by the last two which take the album out nicely. “Push Comes to Shove” is a very tidy closer.

I would be negligent in my duties if I didn’t point out that this was the album without guitarist Joe Perry and rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford would leave during the recording. In fact, he only plays on “Lightning Strikes.” I must say that from the solos, I thought that Jimmy Crespo is a good guitarist in his own right. At least enough where I never found myself saying “Come back Joe, all is forgiven.”

Track Listing:

1. Jailbait

2. Lightning Strikes

3. Bitches Brew

4. Bolivian Ragamuffin

5. Cry Me a River

6. Prelude to Joanie

7. Joanie’s Butterfly

8. Rock in a Hard Place

9. Jig is Up

10. Push Comes to Shove

Aerosmith line up for Rock in a Hard Place

Aerosmith line up for Rock in a Hard Place

Steve Tyler- vocals

Jimmy Crespo- guitar, backing vocals

Rick Dufay- guitar

Tom Hamilton- bass

Joey Krammer- drums

For a band in the wilderness, it could be said that Aerosmith were calling out to be found. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear them at the time. If I had heard this album back then, I would have most certainly listened to it. But as they say, better late than never.

Next post: Black Sabbath- Live Evil

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishingroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Amazon and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

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