Flashback Album of the Week

Jeff Yerger

Forget everything you know about Aerosmith.

Forget the rehab stints, the on-stage mishaps, Run-DMC, that “Armageddon” song and the recent “break-up.”

Before all the glitz and glam of rock and roll fame, Aerosmith was once a humble band starting out in the bars of Boston.

On their self-titled debut, they captured their on-stage energy and created a brilliant vintage blues-rock record. The thing about this album is that if you didn’t know any better, you might not believe that it was actually Aerosmith.

Usually, all you need to hear is one yelp from singer Steven Tyler to know who’s playing, but here he doesn’t sound very much like the Steven Tyler we know today; his voice is still young and raspy, having yet to gain confidence. Only on the ballad “Dream On” do we hear Tyler’s trademark shrieks.

Years before Aerosmith was formed, lead guitarist Joe Perry and rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford played together in a bar in New Hampshire.

Through these jams in the early days, they formed a unique chemistry which is apparent in the swaggering riffs that permeate much of this album.

Songs like the opener “Make It” and the loud hard-rocker “Mama Kin” display Aerosmith’s growing knack for creating catchy blues riffs, borrowing from the playbooks of the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.

Indeed, there are a few similarities between Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, but the main aspect that separates the two is that Aerosmith is very straightforward on this debut, using few overdubs. Aerosmith doesn’t nitpick their music to the very last detail like Zeppelin.

Instead they exert raw energy and power, which especially shows in the raunchy electric blues of “Walkin’ the Dog” and “Movin’ Out.”

The real highlight of the album, though, is the insanely catchy “One Way Street,” which is blues-rock at its best. It is sleazy, confident and rough, and the trade-off solos between Perry and Whitford are the icing on the rock and roll cake.

Aerosmith’s 1973 self-titled debut set the table for what was to become one of the most legendary acts in rock and roll history. Way before the song “Jaded” and way before the ego-trips, there was “Aerosmith.”

Be sure to catch this album and hear a young, hard-working, blues-loving American band rock their way out of the small clubs and into the history books.