REVIEW: Aerosmith – Aerosmith (1973)

It’s time for another series here at mikeladano.com! It’s been a while since I’ve tackled something this big, but for the last two weeks I’ve been writing and listening to a band that I hadn’t been spending a lot of time with in recent years. That band is AEROSMITH and it’s time to look at every original classic Aerosmith album on Columbia Records. The scope of the series is really simple: I’m reviewing all 13 discs in 1994’s massive Box of Fire collection — the entire box set from start to finish!

BOX OF FIRE THUMB

If you’re not into Aerosmith, I apologize, but that’s what I’ve got for the next couple weeks. To use the words of my friend Aaron, I just had to give’r.

You ready? As Steven Tyler might say, “Oooh-wha-ga-ga-ga-GOW!” Let’s go!

AEROSMITH_0001AEROSMITH – Aerosmith (1973 Columbia, 1993 Sony remaster)

Who woulda thunk that the band of young kids on this shitty album cover would become one of the biggest rock bands in history?  Nobody, that’s who!

I love this album.  I love its simplicity, its raw sound, basic production and youthful glee.  I love the built-in musical maturity that seemed to bloom fully formed.  I love the interplay of the whole band, their chemistry already intact.  Everything you love about the way that Perry and Whitford make their guitars mesh with bassist Tom Hamilton, and how Hamilton syncs in with Joey Kramer on drums — it’s already here.  Meanwhile, Steven Tyler had yet to discover all of his sass, but he was well on his way.   All Aerosmith (1973) is missing is great production, something the band would develop with Jack Douglas on the next album Get Your Wings.

It’s easy to draw comparisons between Aerosmith’s and Kiss’ first records.  Both records exhibited a more “rock n’ roll” vibe, and tame production values, with a band straining at the leash to really play like they do live.  Ultimately it took both bands a few years to capture that.

The two massive hits on Aerosmith are two of their best known and beloved:  “Dream On” and “Mama Kin”.  Think about that for a second.  One album with both “Dream On” and “Mama Kin”!  What more do you want?

You’ll also get six other great early Aero-gems.  “Walkin’ the Dog”, a Rufus Thomas cover, is one that Aerosmith still drags out in concert occasionally.  A decade later Ratt covered Aerosmith’s version, well before Guns N’ Roses made covering Aerosmith the cool thing to do, as they did with “Mama Kin”!

Hidden gem: “Movin’ Out”, based on a couple really cool Joe Perry riffs. There’s also a killer, even more raw alternate version on the Pandora’s Box set. Aerosmith recently dusted this one off again, and it sounded amazing.

I don’t think there is a weak song on the album.  There aren’t a lot that are “greatest hits”, but each one is great in its own way.  “Write Me”, “Somebody”, “Make It” and “One Way Street” are all catchy little blues rock tunes, nothing to write home about but plenty to shake your ass to.

Incidentally, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, Aerosmith also contains the greatest opening line of any debut album ever:  “Good evening people welcome to the show…”

Long story short: Aerosmith is a tasty blend of all the great Aerosmith ingredients that I love.  Electric rock and blues form a perfect blend, and Steven Tyler was the perfect singer to front this band.  Throw in some of his harmonica, piano and mellotron and you have a potent mix.  But keep in mind, greater things came in very short order.  Aerosmith, solid as it is, was only a precursor to true greatness.

4/5 stars

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31 comments

  1. This will be a great series! Really do enjoy the early sound of Aerosmith, very refreshing to go back and take it all in from the early albums. I’d love to find an early pressing of this one, apparently the cover has the spelling error, ‘Walking the Dig’.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. *insert smug face at getting the correct guess*

    Looking forward to this series Mike! I agree with your review. It’s a ballsy, dirty snot-nosed album that shows a number of indicators as to where the band would be going over the next decade (or 2!). My only criticism would be that Tyler affects a voice that isn’t his. Of course, that was due to nerves and doubts about his abilities, something he would overcome for the later records.

    Back in the day I had a friend who refused to believe that was ST singing until I forced him to read the ‘Walk This Way’ biog…. which is great read too.

    Looking forward to the next instalment!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heheh yessir, if there was a prize for guessing youda won it!

      Tyler’s voice…it doesn’t bother me so much. Obviously his style grows as we go forward. I look at this album as kinda a little anomoly.

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  3. Gotta admit to not being well versed with early Aerosmith and this was a great usual read thanks Mike, review was cool and already prompted me to search out some of this stuff so count me on board looking forward to this couple week series \m/

    PS – Thanks so much for the Sonic Temple review man, just love revisiting the old favorites and call me old fashioned but having new material to read along to while listening is icing on the cake (cause Lord knows I’ve read and re-read just about every article and review in my collection a million times over LOL)

    This should be couple good weeks ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No problem man, I’m, glad you enjoyed that one. I would love to get more Cult content happening in the future too.

      Hope you find some tracks here you enjoy. I think Movin’ Out is just primo!

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  4. Yup! And so it begins…..great first review! Love that opening line as well and for Aero there would be many more good lines to come! (Ahem!) musically that is!
    Whenever I listen to the debut I always think back to the Walk This Way book where Tyler says he wasn’t comfortable with his voice on this album. Nothing wrong with It to my ears!
    One Way Street though is my fav off of this just a rambling jam not worried about radio air play just jamming and jamming and harmonica!
    Ha….
    Awesome stuff Mikey….bring it buddy bring it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know what too, Pandora’s box had some outtakes from this album that were cool too. I almost prefer the alternate take of Movin’ Out. Pandora’s Box also has a longer version of Make It, with a false intro.

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  5. I guessed right! Got this box set so recognised those flames straight away. Cool review Mike. I really like this album. It’s a shame Tyler affected that vocal style but I like it anyway. Not a bad track on this album. The opening track always blows me away. That riff!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a “biggun” – worth the wait!
    There’s definite gaps in my Aerosmith knowledge so I appreciate this series, a baker’s dozen of LeBrain/Aerosmith posts!

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  7. OH MAN! Yessss. Not only was my guess correct (the other was AC/DC, Bonfire, ‘cos you’d sent that AC/DC track recently). But I’m REALLY going to look forward to this series, having (relatively) recently read the Joe Perry book. Great idea for a series!

    I don’t think I’ve heard this first album in its entirely. But you had me at “…its simplicity, its raw sound, basic production and youthful glee.” You sure that ain’t punk? ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great read, Mike. I haven’t heard this one. I got into Aerosmith a little back in the late 90s (thanks to Nine Lives, but I only picked up two other albums and the Pandora’s Box set. I’ll be following this series and making notes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pandora’s Box is really good. If you have that, you will have no problem at all following along here. Pandora’s Box will be a review of its own. I like listening to a box set like that in the car, for about a week, and then writing the review.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Toys in the Attic and Rocks are the only two I have now. Checked the CDs and the iTunes and Pandoras Box and Nine Lives are gone (I’ll look at obtaining them again at some point). Anyhoo, I shall be looking forward to discovering some other Aerosmith albums!

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  9. Yessiree, this is gonna be a great series! I think anyone that has “Box Of Fire” on a shelf nearby would’ve gotten the weekend’s hint to what was forthcoming. Looking forward to further posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The good thing for me was I was so young, I didnt care about production, or cover art…and hence love everything about this album. There is some great instrumental work on this album.

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  11. Hey, great review even though I might not agree with you. I must admit I haven’t listened a lot to this album much because of the fact that I didn’t really like it when I first heard it. I think the sound is really poor and I find it hard to listen to. Also, the songs – except for Mama Kin and Dream On – aren’t really that spot on. I even think that Ratt made a better version of Walkin’ The Dog – and they only did that cover because Aerosmith had done one…
    But, man did they look cool on the cover. These guys must have invented how to look rock ‘n’ roll…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are you being sarcastic about the cool look? I sure hope so! LOL

      I think these first Aero-discs are well worth a revisit. A nice casual listen. Sure the songs aren’t as flashy as the later ones, but there’s nothing that sucks here.

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      1. No, man. It was the beginning of the 70’s and I really dig that look. They were sleaze, a little glam and metal long before those terms were invented. I think they look awesome. :)

        No, I agree, nothing sucks, but too many songs just goes in one ear and out the other and the whole album sounds really… like a band of new beginners, which they were.
        I just think the got so much better. It’s a really big step between this allbum and the next, quality wise, I think.

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