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Sunday, 22 January 2017
"Rocks" by AEROSMITH (1993 Columbia CD Reissue - Vic Anesini Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...
This Review Along With 100s Of Others Is Available in my
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CLASSIC 1970s ROCK On CD - Exception Remasters
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"...Back In The Saddle Again..."
In 1975 - Aerosmith's 3rd
album "Toys In The Attic" was a vinyl monster stateside - clocking up
over 8-million LP sales and a two and half year chart reign (128 weeks in
total). Their 4th platter "Rocks" went one better – jumping the Top
Ten and eventually peaking at No. 3 amassing quad-platinum status with indecent
haste – a paltry four million albums sold amidst a blizzard of questionable
underwear, white powder lines and thundering riffage. In 1976 Aerosmith were literally
Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll incarnate.
Yet over here in Blighty
most Rock lovers seemed utterly indifferent to their excess and musical
success. Aerosmith didn't hit the UK charts until 1987 with "Permanent
Vacation" – another anthem - only this time on Geffen Records and not
their 1970ts spiritual home of Columbia. Even the mighty - and let's call it
what it is - damn cool strut of "Walk This Way" didn't sell on 45 in
the UK (CBS Records 4878) on initial release – it was stumbled on much later as
90s radio re-discovered its swagger for a generation already looking back.
Forty-one years on and
"Rocks" is cited by everyone from Soundgarden, Guns n’ Roses, Motley
Crue, Metallica and a whole host of other hard-hitting Rock ‘n’ Roll bands as
one of their seminal influences – a boozy debauched little whippersnapper with
bad hair and enflamed nostrils - naughtily leering at the big pucks of the
lithesome hockey team in the locker-room. Which brings us to its digital
This 1993 Columbia CD Reissue/Remaster
celebrates that Rock beast with a stunning Don De Vito/Vic Anesini Remaster
(shame about the lack on Bonus Tracks though). Back in the saddle again indeed – here
are the diamond details...
UK released 8 November 1993
(reissued several times since including September 2011) - "Rocks" by
AEROSMITH on Columbia 474965 2 (Barcode 5099747496523) is a straightforward CD
Remaster of the 1976 album and plays out as follows (34:35 minutes):
1. Back In The Saddle
2. Last Child
3. Rats In The Cellar
5. Sick As A Dog [Side 2]
6. Nobody’s Fault
7. Get The Lead Out
8. Lick And A Promise
9. Home Tonight
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 4th
studio album "Rocks" - released May 1976 in the USA on Columbia PC
34165 and June 1976 in the UK on CBS Records S 81379. Produced by JACK DOUGLAS
and AEROSMITH - the album peaked at No. 3 in the USA. "Home Tonight"
written by Steve Tyler - "Combination" written by Joe Perry -
"Back In The Saddle", "Rats In The Cellar", "Get The
Lead Out" and "Lick And A Promise" written by Steve Tyler and
Joe Perry - "Last Child" and "Nobody’s Fault" written by
Steve Tyler and Brad Whitford and "Sick As A Dog" written by Steve
Tyler and Tom Hamilton.
STEVE TYLER - Vocals,
Keyboards, Electric Bass on "Sick As A Dog"
JOE PERRY - Lead and Rhythm
Guitars and Vocals
Six String Bass on
"Back In The Saddle"
Lap Steel Guitar on
Electric Bass on "Sick
As A Dog"
BRAD WHITFORD - Lead and
TOM HAMILTON - Bass and
Electric Guitar on "Sick As A Dog")
JOEY KRAMER – Drums,
Percussion and Backing Vocals on "Home Tonight"
Paul Prestopino – Banjo on
The mediocre double-sided
four-leaf foldout-inlay of "Toys In The Attic" gets extended for
"Rocks" into a six – a six-square long concertina effect (twelve
leaves of photos on both sides in total). They repro 'The Record Plant Studios'
Tape Boxes - the rear sleeve with its recorded data and throw in new colour
collages of Aerosmith memorabilia. But there's no new liner notes for something
that clocked up four million sales in the USA alone - a trend with Sony when it
comes to anything that isn't a Deluxe Edition (visually their releases are o.k.
rather than great). And surely someone could have located outtakes or live
stuff and made this an 'Expanded Edition' with some decent Bonus Tracks to
please long-suffering fans. But alas...
What we do get by way of
compensation however is a stunning new 24-bit digital remaster from original
tapes by DON DeVITO and Mastering Engineer supremo VIC ANESINI - an Audio
transfer name I actively seek out when looking for exceptional CD Remasters.
Anesini has had a long association with Sony and all things Columbia - Santana,
Simon & Garfunkel, Elvis Presley, Mott The Hoople, Janis Joplin, Carole
King, The Jayhawks, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Mountain, Nilsson and many more.
Bringing out the power of those riffs and just how tight the band were was
always the priority with this most 'Hard Rock' of LPs - and the team behind
this transfer have achieved that.
Having established speed and
attack on the mission-statement album "Toys In The Attic" the year
prior – "Rocks" is even more down and dirty – returning with a 1976
big-arena swagger that's exemplified in the amazing opener "Back In The
Saddle". This thing is HUGE and immediately you’re hearing Van Halen's
self-titled debut in the two-year future – G n' R's "Appetite For
Destruction" 11 years after that – all screaming vocals and fantastic
rocking guitars with Joe Perry riffing away like a demented golem in search of
some shinny ring. That's followed by the funky chug of "Last Child"
where a Tallahassee Lassie is getting to the boys. That 'punk in the street'
anthem is followed in turn by the very Ronnie Montrose blasting of "Rats
In The Cellar" - rapid-fire rock that makes you want to do indecent things
to a floor mop as you pose in the kitchen - lead guitarist by the soap suds.
Side 1 ends on a typically great Aerosmith rocker "Combination" -
talking about the shape I'm in - always moving on - restless - one step away
from something - guitars wailing as Tyler sings "...I traded you for
Side 2 opens with a melodic
"Sick As A Dog" with more than a hint of a Boston/Foreigner combo
sound - Tyler singing 'please' like he's begging a dealer for mercy. Or is he
slagging off some socialite that thinks she's hot to trot when the truth is that
life has taken its toll and you're not that young anymore. And just when you
think they must be running out of killers – they roll out the Ted Nugent
assault of "Nobody’s Fault" – an ultra-Produced wall of Hard Rock –an
aural Chieftain Tank of guitars and voices trampling your living room with
squeaky wheels and a mad driver with weeks of greasy stubble - giggling as he
chews on his half-smoked Havana. "Get The Lead Out" threatens to do
just that – strip your bathroom bare – and don't you just love those
guitar-sounds Perry produces as the song fades out. Back to Rock 'n' Roll and
Gurls with "Lick And A Promise" – a wall of rock sound that actually
reminds me of The Sex Pistols debut - the kind of sound that would destroy the
world in 1977 (well over in the U of the K anyway). It ends on the only
concession to pace – the 'say goodnight to you' of "Home Tonight" – a
tearful goodbye that for me is the least convincing song on an otherwise
flawless Rock LP.
Boston's Aerosmith would
tear it up yet again with their 5th platter "Draw The Line" in the
lead up to Christmas 1977 - another winner that like “Toys In The Attic” went
to No. 11 on the US album charts. But this is where their locker-room legend
and guitar mayhem really started. Dude looks like a winner - and the CD
Remaster is dirt-cheap too...