Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Joe Perry Project-Let the Music Do the Talking; CBS, 1980

Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler has been in the mass media spotlight a lot during the past several months, primarily, it would seem, as the result of his sitting on the judge panel for American Idol. Disaster Amnesiac caught a bit of his 60 Minutes interview, in which he threw a few public barbs in the direction of his long-time songwriting partner, Joe Perry. Perry was given air time to retort, and the way in which his face screwed up tight when the interviewer read back Tyler's statements to him was pretty telling.
In purely musical terms, Perry's solo debut, Let the Music Do the Talking, is equally telling. It tells the tale of the more "silent" half of what was by then the hugely popular Tyler/Perry partnership striking out on his own, leaving the successful albeit drug addled Aerosmith orbit, and launching off into spaces of his own. The songs on this album show pretty clearly which one did the heavy lifting, at least as regards song writing.
The title track's opening salvo pretty much slams the message home, with a big-riffed, energetic post-Boogie Rock, Perry's snaky slide work slathering grime that Punk pretty much whole cloth wished it had (save for Ginn and precious few others). Similar goings on, of an even more unbridled nature happen on the amazing Shooting Star, which features hooks and riffs of earth moving weight and depth. Drummer Ronnie Stewart deserves special note here. What happened to this guy? His beats move and shake these two tunes, and all others on the album, with a non-bashing, yet hard, approach. Hopefully he continued drumming. Stewart's partner in rhythm, bassist David Hull, gives the tunes a buoyancy, snapping funky undercurrents on the almost Jazz-Rock Fusion feel of Rockin' Train or the classic Cock Rock of the Ready on the Firing Line (a total presage of the 1980's later Hollywood Power Cock Rock sounds). The quartet on Talking is rounded out by singer Ralph Morman, a fine front man in the classic (little c) Rock mold of Ian Gillan or Paul Rodgers, evocatively, unashamedly singing a Rock band's songs. His lyrics can seem a bit dorkily suburban at times, but Disaster Amnesiac finds no reason to be ashamed of his enjoyment of said lyrics. If you have too much taste to appreciate their simplicity and his vocal delivery, I understand but can't concur.
Let the Music Do the Talking is a rockin', rollin', blast of a great Hard Rock record. Every song is expertly crafted and played (even the pretty clear "in studio knock off" Break Song, equal parts Link '59 and Jimi '67), and the whole thing hangs together in a way that screams out partyin' good times and up from the ashes success. Perry would eventually re-align himself with Tyler and make Aerosmith even more of a conglomerate Rock behemoth a few years later, but in my opinion, he should have stayed his own course, with this band, and made more of this style of expert Hard Rock.

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