Counterpart Studios 1973 (Shades 461)
Counterpart Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, 26th September 1973
CD (63:24) 1. Radio Announcer Introductions 2. Make It, 3.Somebody, 4.Write Me, 5. Talk and Sound Adjustment, 6. Dream On, 7.One Way Street, 8.Walking The Dog, 9. Radio Announcer Talk, 10. Pandora’s Box, 11.Rattlesnake Shake, 12. Radio Announcer Talk, 13. Train Kept A Rollin’, 14.Mama Kin, 15. Radio Announcer Closing Credits
Since playing their first gig with Brad Whitford on August 24, 1971 Aerosmith toured New England relentlessly the next two years but were relative unknowns outside this region when they got the gig in Cincinnati captured on this Shades label release.
There is some controversy as to the actual date of this show with the inserts of this release claiming it occurred on September 26th, 1973 while other sources place it sometime in early October.
The excellent “Right in the Nuts” fan site had this to say about the date of this recording:
There have been some doubts as to where this was recorded with some believing it could be the concert from Cincinnati‘s Music Hall on October 10, 1973. This broadcast was recorded at the Counterpart Creative Studios in Cincinnati probably between October 9-11, 1973 to coincide with their tour date supporting Mott The Hopple. Tyler also says on introducing Pandora’s Box, “we’d like to play a boogie from our new album, entitled Night in the Ruts” – which was the title Get Your Wings initially went under.
The website also documents this show as having been released at least twice previously on vinyl and two songs having been released officially on the 1991 Pandora’s Box 3cd box set:
We find that this was previously released as “Rattlesnake Shake” on a rare vinyl by a no name label which release details the date as Counterpart Studios, New York, 1974. It was reissued as Rattlesnake Shake LXXXIV N°18, on violet vinyl with approximately 100 numbered copies. To confuse issues further, the Ruthless Rhymes release seems to originate from Germany and carries the production date (P) 1971 which is hard to swallow since the session comprises all of Aerosmith’s 1st album apart from Movin’ out and this was the first track the band apparently wrote.
The booklet of Pandora’s Box, which carries Walkin’ the dog and Rattlesnake shake from this concert, says it is from 1971, and also details that it was broadcast live by WKRQ, Cincinnati and produced by Aerosmith. The recording is probably late 1973 as it carries Pandora’s Box which wasn’t recorded in studio until December 1973 / January 1974.
While this show has also been released before on CDR, by the Lost and Found label, I believe this may be the first silver disc release.
The sound quality is a very good stereo recording with the instruments well balanced and a nice wide sound stage. The guitars are forward and a bit in your face but do not overwhelm the rest of the instruments and there is nice warmth to the recording with all frequencies well represented. There is a also slight distortion during loud passages which reminded me of the effect you get if you set the recording level too hot on a cassette recorder overloading the tape but it is not obtrusive and can be noticed with a slight sizzle on Joey Kramer’s cymbals and Steven Tyler’s voice at times.
The other oddity I found was there were several very brief instances where the sound flutters, during “Write Me”, as if a radio station signal was fading in and out or there was tape damage but they are very brief and not too distracting.
The show begins with an announcer’s introduction:
“Welcome KRQ’s first radio concert tonight live at Counterparts Studio and being broadcast in 16 track stereo Columbia recording artists Aerosmith. KRQ’s phase three will feature more radio concerts with name artist but more on that later but now right now Aerosmith”.
There are 4 other instances where the announcer cuts in after several songs are played for commercial breaks and the closing comments. One of the interesting things about this recording is it seems to be the radio stations raw master tape of the performance as you get to hear all the commercial break in studio banter between the announcer and band where the radio audience would have heard a commercial.
The most interesting banter for me was after “Write Me” we hear the announcer call for a one minute commercial break and then ask someone if they are timing it from the one minute mark. We also get to hear a slightly annoyed Steven Tyler complaining of sound levels fluctuating and ask that they return to the previous level as the announcer counts down the return from commercial.
All the songs are well played but highlights for me were a rocking version of “One Way Street”, a rare version of “ Rattlesnake Shake” and the two not yet released songs “Pandora’s Box” and “Train Kept a Rollin” which would appear on the bands 1974 second album “Get Your Wings”.
The Right in the Nuts website noted the following on two of the songs:
“Pandora’s Box has different lyrics than the final version on Get Your Wings. And the rare live version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rattlesnake Shake”, is a forerunner of “Rats in the Cellar”.”
There is nothing fancy about the packaging of this release as it comes in a standard jewel case with glossy paper and cardboard inserts with period photos of the band.
Silver disc releases of early Aerosmith shows are extremely rare so Shades should be commended for finally releasing this show in that format. When you combine the very good sound quality with a great setlist, including the two unreleased songs, this is a title that is a must have for hardcore fans but will also be enjoyed by casual fans as well. Shades released this title back in January 2012 but it was still readily available on several bootleg vendors sites I checked so get it while you can.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)