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Aerosmith - Rock in a Hard Place (1982)

Discussion in 'Album Reviews' started by Magic, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. Magic

    Magic Woman of the World

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    Aerosmith
    Rock in a Hard Place
    Released in 1982 by Columbia
    Hard Rock/ Heavy Metal

    [​IMG]

    Personnel:

    • Steven Tyler - lead vocals
    • Jimmy Crespo - guitar, backing vocals
    • Rick Dufay - guitar
    • Tom Hamilton - bass
    • Joey Kramer - drums

    with

    • Paul Harris - piano ("Push Comes to Shove")
    • Brad Whitford – additional musician (“Lightning Strikes”)
    • John Turi - saxophone ("Rock in a Hard Place (Cheshire Cat)")
    • Reinhard Straub - violin ("Joanie's Butterfly")
    • John Lievano - guitar ("Joanie's Butterfly")
    • Jack Douglas - percussion, production

    :tl:

    1. "Jailbait" Steven Tyler, Jimmy Crespo 4:38
    2. "Lightning Strikes" Richard Supa 4:26
    3. "Bitch's Brew" Tyler, Crespo 4:14
    4. "Bolivian Ragamuffin" Tyler, Crespo 3:32
    5. "Cry Me a River" Arthur Hamilton 4:06
    6. "Prelude to Joanie" Tyler 1:21
    7. "Joanie's Butterfly" Tyler, Crespo, Jack Douglas 5:35
    8. "Rock in a Hard Place (Cheshire Cat)" Tyler, Crespo, Douglas 4:46
    9. "Jig Is Up" Tyler, Crespo 3:10
    10. "Push Comes to Shove" Tyler 4:28


    The Album:

    This is the 7th release by Aerosmith and had some major personnel changes. These personnel changes were the result of disputes between band members. First big notable change is the absence of Joe Perry, who left the band in 1979 after a dispute with Steven Tyler immediately after a concert appearance. “Rock in a Hard Place” would be the only album ever recorded by Aerosmith without Perry. Another loss to the band was Brad Whitford, who left the band during the recording of this album in 1981, but still appears on the album in the song “Lightning Strikes” playing rhythm guitar and was given credits as an ‘additional musician’. I am reviewing this album for two reasons; one being my devotion to the band, and the other reason is this album was the only album during Aerosmith’s 10 year long hiatus (the period between 1977 and 1987) that had 2 key band members missing. This album demonstrates that Aerosmith had a magical chemistry between its band members that could never be reproduced with any replacements. “Rock in a Hard Place” is also the most studio-enhanced album that was ever recorded by Aerosmith.


    The Music:

    Jailbait This song is co-written by Tyler and new member Jimmy Crespo, and offers nothing but flat, bland music. The song is too repetitive and long, and Tyler’s vocals are screeching and really have no feeling whatsoever. The worst song on the album, IMO.

    Lightning Strikes This song is a hidden gem from Aerosmith, and if you listen to any song from this album, I hope it is this song. If this song had been on any other album than “Rock in a Hard Place” it would be considered an Aerosmith classic. This song has a funky groove, and some catchy hooks. One of the better songs recorded by Aerosmith that wasn’t written or co-written by Tyler. Whitford still has credit for playing on this song, which is an added bonus.

    Bitch’s Brew Another fairly decent song, but still is lacking the funk and spark that is so classic to Aerosmith. The tightness of the rhythm section of Hamilton and Kramer are very evident in this song. The lyrics are interesting but Tyler just doesn’t sing with the fire and brimstone that should have been seen with this song.

    Bolivian Ragamuffin The lyrics are random and sung in a “rap” fashion, extremely fast paced. The music is also fast paced, not in a bad way, there are still some catchy hooks, and the boogie feel lets you know you are still experiencing Aerosmith.

    Cry Me a River A cover of a jazz song written by Arthur Hamilton, originally intended to be recorded by Ella Fitzgerald but was first recorded by Julie London, and Joe Cocker did the first rock version of this song in 1970. This song is actually a beautiful song, and Tyler just didn’t sound good imitating a female vocalist. But I will give him credit for having clarity. The band did a good job with the music, which makes the song worth listening to.

    Prelude to Joanie This prelude is extremely psychedelic. Written by Tyler, and is the lead to the preceeding song.

    Joanie’s Butterfly This song mixes well with the prelude in keeping with the psychedelic feel. The song is strong lyrically and has some great acoustic effects. I found this song to be a pleasant surprise setting a melancholy mood. It is the one song on the album where the band seems to be cohesive in their music efforts.

    Rock in a Hard Place (Cheshire Cat) The title track, is another goodie from the album. A great groove, with tons of boogie. Tyler is in better form on this song. I consider this song a solid rock n’ roll song from the new Aerosmith line-up.

    Jig is Up I like this song, also. It is catchy and funky. The main problem with this song is it is too repetitive. There just doesn’t seem to be any creativity in this song, but I enjoy listening to it. I know it is just “fluff” for the album, but still gets a decent rating from me because it is a fun song.

    Push Comes to Shove Another non-creative song with Tyler attempting a “blues” style vocal. This song left me thinking what the hell? This song is actually funny, if you listen to the lyrics.

    In summation, I had to get this album just to experience Aerosmith when they were at their absolute destitute and worst moment of their career. I will give the new member, Jimmy Crespo, tons of credit for trying to make an impact not only with songwriting (he co-wrote 6 of the 10 songs), but with guitar skills. He tried to fill Joe Perry’s shoes, but just didn’t have what Joe had to offer. This album lacks imagination when it comes to lyrics and music, even the best song on the album, “Lightning Strikes” is weak lyrically. I don’t know how much Rick Dufay contributed to the album, I couldn’t tell when he played, to be honest. What I find amazing, though, are the songs co-written by Douglas seem to be the songs that “sound” the most like what you would expect Aerosmith to sound like. Douglas had to come into the game when Tyler was basically nonfunctional, just to complete the album. A very disappointing album, indeed.

    My rating for listening pleasure, 2.5/5
     
  2. Dave78

    Dave78 Dave's not here, man

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    Re: Aerosmith ~ Rock in a Hard Place (1982)

    You slipped the review for Draw The Line past me so I got some catching up to do, but what happened to 1979's Night In The Ruts?
     
  3. Lynch

    Lynch Rockin' Out

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    Re: Aerosmith ~ Rock in a Hard Place (1982)

    Probably the only song I've listened to on this album in the past 15-20 years. Never got into this album at all, although this track is fantastic!
     
  4. Magic

    Magic Woman of the World

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    Re: Aerosmith ~ Rock in a Hard Place (1982)

    I have not gotten to that one yet, KMET. I thought I would review the absolute Worst from the time period...then slip back and get the others :)
     
  5. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    Re: Aerosmith ~ Rock in a Hard Place (1982)

    I am so glad you mentioned that KMET, I was thinking I only have Draw The Line left and that ends my Aerosmith voyage...although I'll stop by to read Snoops always top notch reviews.:tup:
     
  6. Magic

    Magic Woman of the World

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    Re: Aerosmith ~ Rock in a Hard Place (1982)

    Just give me time LG, there is more to come from the Bad Boys, they made a comeback. They had lost a huge portion of their fan base, but the comeback is as good as the debut, I promise :)
     
  7. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim Senior Member

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    Re: Aerosmith ~ Rock in a Hard Place (1982)

    The best thing I can say about this record is it is better than it's reputation. I like it better than "Done With Mirrors".
     
  8. METALPRIEST

    METALPRIEST Senior Member

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    Re: Aerosmith ~ Rock in a Hard Place (1982)

    I love this disc!! A hidden gem and the only release that has "Prelude to Joanie/Joanie's Butterfly"

    :cheers:
     
  9. rtbuck

    rtbuck Senior Member

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    Re: Aerosmith ~ Rock in a Hard Place (1982)

    ^^^^ You know something...I love this disc too!!!!

    Great job as always Magic & while I can agree with your points about the album there's something about it that I love. It almost seems like they tried to give "Jailbait" a "Toys in the Attic" feel but it came up short & desperate. I actually don't mind the song despite that.

    I did see Aerosmith on this tour with Pat Travers opening the show & in my opinion Travers blew them away. He was supporting his Black Pearl album & he opened with "The Fifth" which was a rock version of the Beethoven piece from his new album.That was all he needed to win over the audience. Aerosmith came onstage after an extra long intermission between bands & if it wasn't for the mic stand Tyler would've been laying on the stage for the entire night. Aerosmith's sound was really awful that night as well with Crespo's guitar mixed way down low getting lost in the sound.

    I knew I wrote about it before here in the forum & I looked it up & found it. So I copied & pasted it here for those new faces here that may not have seen it but Around this same time I seen the Joe Perry Project twice in clubs in Buffalo,NY & here's my recollection of that show:

    "'I've Got the Rock & Rolls Again' had been released for a while & I loved it as well as 'Let the Music...'. Joe Perry Project was playing at a local bar so I decided to go. The small club was jammed but I was up near the front of the small stage.Talas w/ Billy Sheehan opened & their drum kit was pushed roght up to the front of the stage leaving about 5 feet on each side.Sheehan had always been pretty wild onstage & it was funny seeing him confined to a 5 foot spot.After Talas finished I noticed a guy deliver about 8 large pizzas to the dressing room which was right off the side of the stage.A few minutes later there was a ton of noise including yelling coming from the room & all of a sudden I see a cowboy boot kick through the door. The noise continued & then "Boom!" a fist went through the wooden door. Out on the stage walked the band with new vocalist Cowboy Mach Bell. The 2nd song they played was "Buzz Buzz" & during the first verse Bell clollapsed to the floor & was carried to the dressing room. Perry looked stoned out of his mind, looked at the rest of the band, & launched into a long instrumental of Hendrix's "Manic Depression". Bell returned later & finished the show but what a Trainwreck! I seen them about 8 months later at another club supporting their 'Once a Rocker' album & they were great. Perry looked to be in great shape at that show. "

    Also during the same period(I guess I really got my Aerosmith fill!!!) I seen Whitford/St. Holmes Group open for Blue Oyster Cult & Foghat.Brad Whitford & Derek St. Holmes(of Ted Nugent fame) worked well together & put on a decent show. They put out one album which I thought was a decent rock album but the band soon dissolved after the album was released.I thought the album kind of had a Rick Derringer feel to it especially
    the tracks "Shy Away","Sharpshooter", & "Every Morning"
     
  10. Magic

    Magic Woman of the World

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    Re: Aerosmith ~ Rock in a Hard Place (1982)

    Bucky,

    I am a die hard Aerosmith fan, and this album is their absolute worst. But as I noted in the review, there are good tracks on the album. "Lightning Strikes", "Prelude to Joanie/Joanie's Butterfly", "Bitch's Brew", and "Rock in a Hard Place" are all decent tracks.

    I have read some concert reviews, where Tyler actually laid on stage and sang, he was so messed up during the concert. I never saw this tour with Crespo/Dufay, all the tours I saw were in the 70's and I saw them after the release of Pump in 89.
     

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