Various Artists

Sweet Emotion: The Songs of Aerosmith

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Here are 13 Aerosmith songs -- or, in a couple of cases ("Train Kept a Rollin'" and "Big Ten Inch Record"), blues songs that many rock listeners identify with the band due to Aerosmith covers -- all done by blues artists. It's not a joke; these are real blues musicians, some of them (Joe Louis Walker, Donald Kinsey, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Otis Clay, Pinetop Perkins) quite well known. And yes, the blues has often had to struggle and compromise to reach a wider audience. But does covering Aerosmith songs really do that job effectively? No, it doesn't, though it should be said that for the most part, the acts do make the songs sound like blues songs, instead of totally demeaning themselves. Well, actually Pinetop Perkins and Rusty Zinn's stab at "Walk This Way" does sound silly, and Lou Gramm, who plays with Sugar Blue on "Back in the Saddle Again," should not be allowed within sight of a blues club, let alone a blues recording session. If you weren't listening closely, many of these would sound like generic blues songs rather than Aerosmith covers, although as Kim McFarland may have discovered by taking on "Dream On," no amount of rearranging is going to make that sound like a down-home blues tune. Call it the reaction of a stuffed-shirt purist, but this kind of thematic tribute album does little to please or educate fans of either the blues or Aerosmith.

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