Friday, January 30, 2009

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap Review

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976) Review

“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” is AC/DC’s second international album. Like the previous album, “High Voltage”, changes were made from the original (although not as drastic). Two songs, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Ain’t No Fun, had their length shortened. Two other songs, R.I.P. and the incredible Jailbreak were removed from the international copy, replaced by Rocker, from the Australia only T.N.T., and Love At First Feel, which was never released in Australia at all.  For some reason, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was never released in North America when it should have been. Europe received the album on time, but we didn’t actually get it until 1981.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap starts off the album with a great riff and pounding drums, making for one of the best songs ever recorded with Bon Scott.  The chorus, “Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap/Dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap” just about sums up what AC/DC is all about; dirty, hard rockin’ songs.  Love At First Feel, in similar fashion to the album opener, features a cool riff and pounding drums.  I’m really glad AC/DC pulled this song out for the international release; it and Dirty Deeds make for a great one-two punch to start off the album.  Next up is a song that can only be described with one word… hilarious.  Big Balls is a giant double entendre that compares social gatherings with Bon’s junk.  Rocker goes about it’s business in a way similar to Can I Sit Next To You Girl; with a real 50’s vibe to it.  Problem Child starts off with the basic three-chord riff you will be accustomed to by now and the immortal first line, “I am hot/but when I’m not/I’m cold as ice”.  There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’ is nothing special, but overall a nice bluesy tune.  Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionare) is a song that drags on for far too long, really testing my patience.  The only thing even remotely interesting about it is the guitar, which sounds eerily like You Shook Me All Night LongRide On is regarded as one of the most unique and interesting AC/DC songs.  With only gentle strumming from the brothers, the real star hear is Bon, who really gets to showcase his vocal and song writing ability.  The band is definitely a lot more restrained on this number; just as it’s building up and about to explode, it calms back down.  The album finishes off with Squealer, a song that features one of best basslines in an AC/DC song.

High Points

  • Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Love At First Feel, Problem Child, Ride On
  • Awesome album artwork
  • Good combination of bluesy and hard rocking tunes

Low Points

  • Some filler songs
  • No Jailbreak

Bottom Line

“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” is an excellent album, featuring a good mix of songs, including one instant classic (in the title track).  The biggest problem is the abundance of filler, but to be honest, it doesn’t bother me much.  A filler for AC/DC could be a hit for any other band.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

High Voltage Review

High Voltage (1976) Review

AC/DC’s first international album, High Voltage, was not well received by music critics when released in 1976. Rolling Stone even called it an “all-time low” in the hard rock genre. However, this album was the starting point for AC/DC, one of the greatest rock bands of all time, so it can’t be all bad. Before High Voltage was released internationally, AC/DC had already recorded two albums in Australia, a different “High Voltage” and “T.N.T”. However, our “High Voltage “ only shares two of its nine tracks with the original. Basically what we got was “T.N.T”. with a little “High Voltage” thrown in.

It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll) is the rousing album opener.  Featuring a fantastic riff that would be the basis of many more guitar licks to come, this song is pure classic.  It’s A Long Way is really the only time I can stand bagpipes.  Next up is Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer.  It’s nothing fancy, but it does what it needs to do and does it well.  The Jack features some of Bon Scott’s best lyrics, comparing a card game to a venereal disease.  Combined with a great, bluesy guitar riff, The Jack makes for one of the best numbers on the album.  Starting out with a pounding bassline, Live Wire builds up the tension nicely.  It’s no wonder why it was used as a concert opener in the early days.  T.N.T. is the AC/DC song every knows.  Malcom Young pounds out one of the greatest riffs of all time while Bon Scott screeches his heart out.  Can I Sit Next To You Girl has that excellent 50’s rock ‘n’ roll style to it that almost warps you back in time.  After several fantastic songs, we reach the low point of the album, Little Lover and She’s Got Balls.  I love bluesy songs, but these two are just so boring I can barely stand to listen to them.  The only redeeming factor is the jokes about balls in the latter.  Disheartened by the last two snore fests, I was really hoping the album would end on a high note.  High Voltage fits the bill.  With a great riff and a cool gang chorus, I couldn’t have dreamed up a better closing number.  Simply brilliant.

High Points

  • It’s A Long Way To The Top, The Jack, T.N.T., High Voltage
  • Great start for a great band

Low Points

  • Little Lover, She’s Got Balls
  • Not enough original “High Voltage” songs

Bottom Line

“High Voltage” was a solid start for AC/DC, providing three classic songs (The Jack, T.N.T., and High Voltage), two if which are still performed at AC/DC concerts today, thirty three years after the album’s release.