Aerosmith – Part 4

Philadelphia, PA – Winter 1977

I remember coming off the wonderful summer and beginning the next chapter of my life at Frankford High School. It was so much better than where I was a year ago. I had grown and changed. Things were good. At 15 I was almost on the other side of puberty at this point.

It was Christmas morning and one of the presents I got that year was the following record. Of course, my mother had picked that up for me because she knew the rock and knew what I liked. She had also gotten me Heart’s last record called Little Queen which is an okay album. But it does have the song Barracuda on it which could have been a Led Zeppelin tune. But I digress…

Aerosmith – Draw The Line – 1977

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draw_the_Line_(Aerosmith_album)

At this point, Aerosmith could have put out a whole album of them just chatting and drinking at a bar and I would have loved it and listened to it. That’s how much I worshipped this band. The guys who helped pull me through my early teenaged years. Toys in the Attic and Rocks were such great back-to-back albums, it would be nearly impossible for the band to top them. But this a decent attempt. The cover was drawn by the great Al Hirschfeld. The most brilliant caricature artist I’ve ever seen, and I loved his pen and ink work. An artist myself, I loved his simple, elegant, and spot-on style. I would go on to draw replicas of his work on Draw the Line on all of my notebooks at school.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Hirschfeld

To be honest this is a band like many that had barely survived the 70’s mired in grueling tours and hard drug use. The band was tired and fraying a bit. But managed to crank out another decent record. Let’s go through this record.

  1. Draw The Line: This is the title track and the song that was played on the radio. I liked it well enough, but it’s not Walk this Way, or Back in the Saddle. This song would later be the first Aerosmith song I learned how to play on guitar and played it in my first band. I was also the only one who could figure out the words to the last verse of the song, where Steven just screams them out and they are not printed in any sheet music available.
  2. I Wanna Know Why: I love this song. It hits hard with a simple message. It’s probably my favorite song on this entire record. It would have been a welcome addition to Toys in the Attic.
  3. Critical Mass: A cool song but never my cup of tea. It just never lit me up. (Funny, it was the song playing on the cassette when I got in a car accident in 1986)
  4. Get It Up: Neither did this song. What’s it about? Are Steven and the boys having some ED issues due to drug use?
  5. Bright Light Fright: A crap Joe Perry song. Sounds like it’s about a hangover. It’s juvenile and I don’t really care for it.
  6. Kings and Queens: This is a great song. Not my favorite, but a strong medieval-themed tune and a solid progressive rocker.
  7. The Hand That Feeds: More tired crap.
  8. Sight For Sore Eyes: A funky, heavy, delicious song. This one could have been an extra for the Rocks album. For years it was my favorite from this record, but I Wanna Know Why ultimately won out.
  9. Milk Cow Blues: Like Walkin’ the Dog and Big Ten Inch Record before it, this was a cover. It’s just a jam at the end of the album because I’m guessing they just were out of creative work for this album.

So overall, this is a decent record, but the band is clearly slipping. They’re exhausted from touring and being stuck together for the last decade, and drugs and alcohol are taking their toll on this band creatively. But the good thing was, I could always go back and listen to Toys, Rocks, and the first album to get my Ya ya’s out if I needed to feel something.

Let’s move on.

Philadelphia, PA – Autumn 1978

I’m the singer in a band by now. Learning guitar and writing my own songs. We play Draw the Line, Seasons of Wither, and Train Kept a Rollin’ so I’m happier than a pig in poop. It felt wonderful to be part of a band and making the music of my heroes. I felt like I was joining an elite club that had special powers over me and especially the kids in the neighborhood. Especially to my delight… the girls.

The next album Aerosmith released was a live album. I didn’t buy it but our bassist, Larry was an avid music lover and collector and he brought it over. I was delighted that I had some new Aerosmith to listen to, and I’m hoping the band was relieved after Draw the Line to take a break and release this live record.

Aerosmith – Live Bootleg – 1978

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live!_Bootleg

As I noted in the last chapter, I bought a bootleg of a concert by Aerosmith, called Look Homeward Angel. Apparently back then bootlegging was a rampant practice among touring acts. Aerosmith was bootlegged so much, that when they put out their own live album they gave it the title, Bootleg just to mess with all of the pirates they knew were ripping them off for years. I liked that my favorite band still had a sense of humor.

It’s pretty much a by the numbers double-live album. It was okay with little surprises. I had already heard all of these songs and there wasn’t much new material here. The song, Chip Away The Stone was a good song, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t write it. I like it though. But there were a couple of really old songs from their early live days that really make this album special and worth a listen.

I Ain’t Got You and Mother Popcorn are the two stand-out numbers on this live record. They’re simple and to the point. The band was really young and they’re doing covers. This may have been recorded before their first album. I loved those two songs because they had a young fresh feel. The band was primitive but tough. Kind of like the band I was currently in. Both of these tunes touched me, and I love them both to this day.

 

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