One Way Street

Maybe it’s the weather.

L.A. is hottest in September. It can be positively gloomy in June, overcast and cool, but in September, the sun bakes, and in October the Santa Ana winds usher in a season of wildfires.

But the light is different. The light is fall, but the air is summer. And maybe this contradiction was why this track sounded so good heading west on Pico, with the warm glow of the sun in my face.

Or maybe my mood was improved by how well my car was running. Just got it serviced. You know how you bring it in for $200 and it ends up being $1000? I don’t think they ripped me off, and you’re always best off owning rather than renting, repairs are part of the game, but at least Daryl is skilled, my car is running like a top. And when your machine is purring and the sun is shining you’re having a pure SoCal day.

Aerosmith broke through with their third album, "Toys In The Attic". "Sweet Emotion" was the hit, but the following track on side two was always my favorite, "No More No More".

But really my favorite is the second, "Get Your Wings". With "Lord Of The Thighs" and "Season Of Wither". But I bought the second because I bought the first. An album had to suck for me not to purchase the follow-up. And Aerosmith’s debut was not bad, but it was not perfect. Of course it had "Dream On", which is why I bought it, after hearing the track on the radio on the back roads of Amherst, Massachusetts. And of course the debut has "Mama Kin". But my favorite was always "One Way Street". Today I heard "One Way Street" on Sirius XM’s "Deep Tracks".

This is all the swagger Tyler is famous for, before he became a caricature of himself, before he was a judge on "American Idol". The way he throws off the words…it’s the essence of cool. That’s what our rock stars were selling. You just wanted to be closer to their charisma.

But really the star of the show is Joe Perry’s guitar work.

It’s a long track. Hang in there. The way the song gets suddenly soft at 1:30, the changes resonate in your gut.

But it’s the tone of Perry’s guitar starting at 5:09 that truly slays me.

Jack Douglas never got this sound, even though his production work with Aerosmith was far superior to that of Adrian Barber. With Douglas they were down and dirty. On their initial release the sound was a bit too clean, a little too thin. But it totally works on "One Way Street", you can’t help nod your head and you can picture yourself in the audience clapping your hands.

We used to be interested in where our bands were going, before it became a badge of honor to repeat yourself ad infinitum, giving radio what it wants to keep your perch atop the mainstream heap.

Aerosmith’s debut was a harbinger of what was to come.

We just didn’t know it yet.

Really, listen to this entire track. You’ll realize how we got from there to here:

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