Life at 33⅓: Masters of tongue-in-cheek

Original Album release cover.
Original Album release cover.

AC/DC: Let There Be Rock (Albert/Atlantic)

If you check YouTube it’s easy to understand why the core fans of AC/DC prefer the Bon Scott-line up.  The guy radiates loads of charisma, sports a torso that made the girls drool (he rarely found time to put a T-shirt on it) and had a voice that makes Brian Johnson emerge as a sweaty, clumsily dressed howler robbed of any kind sex of appeal.

I’ve never cared much for AC/DC.  As a professional critic I did give them some nice reviews when the records were new, but I never played them again.  To me AC/DC belonged to the second generation of heavy rock, and I preferred the originals: Zeppelin, Purple, Sabbath.  The second generation sounded so limited, there was no variations to it, no surprises, no expeditions into undiscovered territory.  Even less so with later heroes like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Def Leppard.

In retrospect I do hear that the older AC/DC-recordings have got something going for them. The band is so unpretentious it’s a relief and there’s no fooling around, to hell with the epics, they don’t hesitate, they go for the kill: straightforward powerhouse guitar rock with a magnificent punch.  Bon Scott is made for these songs, he struts his stuff, as they say, the voice is strong, raspy and smells of leather.

The band’s tongue in cheek-attitude is refreshing – Scott’s torso posing has already been mentioned, but Angus Young is the master of tongue in cheek, his all-over-the-place-headbanger-brat-in-school-uniform is one of rock’s most memorable characters.  To see those riffs and solos prance around on a set of legs like sticks – even doing the duck walk – it’s so bizarre you gotta love him.

International release album cover.International release album cover.

“Let There Be Rock” is a solid album.  It’s got power and a good punch, it’s slightly seedy and not a single ballad is allowed, just some blues for a breather.  To put it this way: I would not be embarrassed to have this album in my collection.

Released: March 1977 (Australia)
All songs written and composed by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott

 Side 1:
1. “Go Down” 5:20
2. “Dog Eat Dog” 3:35
3. “Let There Be Rock” 6:07
4. “Bad Boy Boogie” 4:28
Side 2:
5. “Overdose” 6:09
6. “Crabsody in Blue” 4:45
7. “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be” 4:15
8. “Whole Lotta Rosie” 5:22

Later international edition:
Side 1
1. “Go Down” 5:18
2. “Dog Eat Dog” 3:34
3. “Let There Be Rock” 6:06
4. “Bad Boy Boogie” 4:27
 Side 2
1. “Problem Child” 5:24
2. “Overdose” 6:09
3. “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be” 4:21
4. “Whole Lotta Rosie” 5:24
Track 5, “Problem Child”, was originally released on “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” in 1976. This is a shortened version of the original.
For the original vinyl release, in all markets other than the USA and Japan, “Crabsody in Blue” was featured instead of “Problem Child”.

Bon Scott – lead vocals
Angus Young – lead guitar
Malcolm Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Mark Evans – bass guitar
Phil Rudd – drums, percussion
Producers: Harry Vanda, George Young

First published in Pattaya Mail on Oct 10,2013