Sound — 10
Aerosmith prove that a band can be inspired by the blues and play the blues without ever feeling like a blues band. Then again, the nature of the blues is that every musician who plays it stamps his or her own identity on a set of familiar chord changes and songs. While it might not feel like the blues, Aerosmith do indeed stamp their identity on each track on their long-promised blues album, the atrociously named Honkin' on Bobo. They turn up the amps and cut loose, playing slick and sleazy blooze-rock that feels indebted to second-generation blues-rock instead of blues forefathers. That's the nature of the band. Honkin' on Bobo is something that could be close to anathema to blues purists, since it's a rock album pure and simple, but chances are the bandmembers don't care, since they're just here to have a good time playing songs they love. The song selection proves they're no purists. There are some warhorses with "Road Runner," "Baby, Please Don't Go," "I'm Ready," and "Eyesight to the Blind," but there's also a heavy dose of Fred McDowell, a Fleetwood Mac tune, a little-known Little Walter song, an obscure song from the obscure band Freedom, a Smiley Lewis number, and one casual original. While the warhorses are predictable, the rest is not, and the album itself is a bit of a surprise, too. Every indication, from the awful title and silly album art to the notion that the band was going back to its roots, suggests that this is going to be an embarrassment from a band that has been no stranger to embarrassment during the '90s. Instead, it's the best flat-out rock album Aerosmith have made in ages, ever since Joe Perry rejoined the band for Done With Mirrors.
Lyrics — 10
Aerosmith's "Honkin' on Bobo" album can be easly called tribute album to the best blues/blue bands. So, chances you've heard most of the songs are pretty hight. Having said this, put a rating for this category is just pointless.
Overall Impression — 10
They can still be tasteless and ridiculous, whether in Steven Tyler's vocal affectations or in the band's oversized riffs, but again, that's the nature of the band ? no other band does sleaze better. When they do it well, it can be irresistible rock & roll, and it's been a long, long time since they've sounded as good as they do here. Despite that awful title, Honkin' on Bobo is a real surprise and a real return to form for Aerosmith. It could be easy to find out a weak side of the album though. One would think an Aerosmith blues album would be a raw affair, with Joe and the rest of the band finally being allowed to breathe and just let go. Nope. The problem with this album lands squarely on the over-production and more imporantly on the shoulders of one Steven Tyler. The man just never shuts up. With the exception of a couple of songs (one that he doesn't sing on at all) it's "The Steven's Show" from start to finish. The band never really gets to open up and just jam. It's a blues album for Christ's sake!