In my opinion, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry are the Yin and Yang of Aerosmith. The band can not succeed without both members. Joe Perry is one of the best rock guitarists of all time, and Steven Tyler is one of the best singers to grace hard rock music.
With that being said, the early eighties was a dark period for Aerosmith, and the band forged ahead without Joe Perry or Brad Whitford (although Whitford did play on “Lighting Strikes”). The rhythm section of Aerosmith was securely in tact for this album, as Joey Kramer and Tom Hamilton were still in the band. “Rock In A Hard Place” still has quite a bit of that Aerosmith groove, but this disc is far from the band’s best effort.
When it comes right down to it, the great thing about Aerosmith is their vast collection of great hard rock songs. When I dusted this disc off to give it another chance, I hoped to find a couple of classic Aerosmith tunes on this disc. After two or three plays, none of these song stick with me very much. It isn’t that they are band, they just aren’t very memorable. The best cuts are “Jailbait”, “Lightning Strikes”, and the title track “Rock and In A Hard Place (Cheshire Cat)”. While I like the music, even the best tunes don’t live up to Aerosmith’s past works.
“Rock In A Hard Place” isn’t the worst Aerosmith album, but in my opinion it is just an o.k. disc, and one for the Aerosmith diehard fans only.
2. Lightning Strikes
3. Bitch’s Brew
4. Bolivian Ragamuffin
5. Cry Me A River
6. Prelude To Joanie
7. Joanie’s Butterfly
8. Rock In A Hard Place
9. Jig Is Up
10. Push Comes To Shove
Steven Tyler – Vocals
Jimmy Crespo – Lead Guitar
Tom Hamilton – Bass
Joey Kramer – Drums
Rick Dufay – Guitar
Brad Whitford – Rhythm Guitar on Lightning Strikes
Paul Harris – Piano – Push Comes to Shove
John Turi – Sax – Rock In A Hard Place
Richard Struab – Violins on Joanie’s Butterfly
John Lievano – Guitar O.D. on Joanie’s Butterfly
Jack Douglas – Percussion