Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1988: Aerosmith- Gems

Special thanks goes out to 2loud for this album. If he hadn’t written a post on “Gems,” I most likely still wouldn’t have heard of it. I blame it on the fact that by November, 1988, I was settling into family life in the UK, with my first born very much on the way. Therefore, I couldn’t give music my full or even half full attention. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it. Of course, the other reason why it passed me by was that “Gems” is a compilation album put forward by Aerosmith’s old label, Columbia Records who still could make a few bucks out of the band and my trips to record stores by then were almost non existent, so unless it was a big album, it most certainly passed me by.

The saying ‘better late than never’ applies to this as I am glad that, inspired by 2loud’s post, I sat down and listened to it and boy was I impressed! As you know, I always site hidden gems on any album I write about and here we have an entire album full of them. What is more, I can’t help thinking that the tracks were cleaned up a bit before being put on the album. Take “No Surprise” for instance. It comes from the “Night in the Ruts” album which I have always considered to be a total dirge. However, on “Gems,” it sounds really clear and now I fully appreciate the track much more than on the original album. Even the two tracks from my all time favourite ‘Smith album, “Toys in the Attic,” seem to sound better and that’s a feat in itself. Here’s another paradox which is me, “Round and Round” is the penultimate track on my favourite album but I don’t mind the fact that it’s not picked for the job on “Gems.”

I think what “Gems” achieves is showcase how great Aerosmith’s songs can be once you get past the hits. None of the songs from the 1980 “Greatest Hits” album are on this album and that’s a good thing. In addition, you get a lot of the songs from the earlier albums, when the band was still hungry and they hadn’t made the transition from musicians dabbling in drugs to druggies dabbling in music. “Mama Kin” is the best example of this. I forgot how great those opening riffs are. However, even the songs from the albums after the transition sound really great. “No Surprise” has already been mentioned but there seems to be a different swagger to “Jailbait” off “Rock in a Hard Place.”

One song, “Chip Away the Stone” from the “Live Bootleg” album is included in the tracks, so Columbia Records didn’t leave any stone unturned when looking for the gems. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, they chose all the right tracks for “Gems.” While this album was most likely meant for the hardcore Aerosmith fans, I think casual fans would appreciate it too.

Track Listing:

  1. Rats in the Cellar
  2. Lick and a Promise
  3. Chip Away the Stone
  4. No Surprise
  5. Mama Kin
  6. Adam’s Apple
  7. Nobody’s Fault
  8. Round and Round
  9. Critical Mass
  10. Lord of the Thighs
  11. Jailbait
  12. Train Kept a Rollin’
Aerosmith

Steve Tyler- vocals, harmonica, piano

Joe Perry- lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Brad Whitford- rhythm and lead guitar

Tom Hamilton- bass

Joey Kramer- drums, percussion

Additional Musicians:

Jimmy Crespo- lead guitar on “Jailbait”

Rick Dufay- rhythm guitar on “Jailbait”

David Woodford- saxophone

Richard Supa- piano

Mark Radice- piano on “Chip Away the Stone”

My thanks once again goes out to 2loud for turning me on to a great album. “Gems” is definitely that, full of great but not overplayed Aerosmith classics. I can’t recall them playing any of these at Download 2017 but no matter, I got this great album.

Next post: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- Up Your Alley

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a much deserved knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

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8 Responses to “Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1988: Aerosmith- Gems”

  1. This was my second Aerosmith album I think! And I love it. I agree that one strength was no overlapping songs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the shoutout. I find the Columbia cash grab releases to actually be spectacular. They did a great job to not repeat tracks and really picked some choice cuts.

    Liked by 1 person

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