This is where it all really began for AC/DC. Formed in Sydney, Australia, the band that was AC/DC was led by fellow local Australian Bon Scott who was not just a decent singer, but also a wild frontman as well. Note that this, of course, wasn’t the first-ever AC/DC release, but instead was their first international release with combined tracks from their first two Australian only albums. Still, this album made a direct impression on people wanting to hear a newer style of sexually driven music that wasn’t anything at all like the Progressive Rock of the day, or the proto-Disco that was around at the time. In fact, these guys drew a somewhat Punk like Rock music spirit into their music. Although AC/DC are basically the anti-Radiohead in terms of style and experimentation, their music is still well-loved and widely popular to this day. Without further explanation, let’s take a listen to this debut album and hear if it is still an essential listen.
It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll) is the grand opening statement by AC/DC. With awesome guitar riffs, both rhythm and lead guitars, and the rest of the band following, this is an interesting and exciting listen. Bon Scott sings in a proto-Axl Rose way and sings about Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. This is a really lively and exciting song and a great introduction to the wonderful sound of AC/DC. Bagpipes (probably the most annoying instrument in the history of music) are played wonderfully and excellently and fight for the spotlight with the guitars. A truly awesome and wonderful piece of music, and everything is spot on to listen to. The intensity, simplicity and bad Rock star attitude on this song is wonderful listening. Sure, it is very dated today, but this does not destroy the intent and purpose of this music. The lyrics are interesting, and this does sound fantastic overall. A great song to introduce a great group of talented musicians, AC/DC do exceptionally well. The outro has bagpipes galore and rhythmic guitars to match, all the way through to the fade-out. Great work.
Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer begins with another loud and rocking set of riffs, with the rest of the band quickly following nicely. This is music with simplicity, power and attitude. Sure, it’s not for those who take religion very seriously, but it is intended for audiences who like to drink, smoke and have a good time. It is a very autobiographical song delivered perfectly by Bon Scott and just sounds really wonderful, interesting and exciting. Singing about realistic dreams and aspirations, it sounds like AC/DC really did mean what they planning on doing. Excellent listening, and another straight-up great song by AC/DC. The guitar solo sounds very interesting and raunchy, something that those guitarists listening took easily a big note of. The suspense and awesome breakdown is proto Pink Floyd’s The Wall attitude, but much clearer and plain than Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2. This is really simple and fantastic, great effort guys. A fantastic lead guitar break is at the end here, a must-listen.
The Jack begins with heavy bass guitar and crunchy electric guitar riffs. It quickly evolves nicely as a piece of music, leading into a musical story that is really interesting and out there. It is a very James Bond-style piece with references to gambling and the nature of it. Musically, it is simple, loud and raw. A really amazing and fine listen and very different to today’s autotuned and compressed standards of music. Another raunchy guitar solo is in this number, and Angus Young plays some very decent lead guitar on this song. Singing about a lady who holds a poker face when playing cards, and who has an amazing hand. For anyone who has watched the infamous 1999 movie Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, you will understand the logic behind this song. A really cool, calm and steady piece of music. Very simple music, but really an excellent sounding listen, this is a great effort for a major debut album release. The lead up towards the end is amazing, and at the end, the band falls semi-apart before ending. Some mock booing is at the end, and Bon Scott finishes it up addressing that beautifully. Interesting tune.
Live Wire begins with a repeated bass guitar note being played, followed quickly by some subtle guitar riffs. The music is very nicely driven and sounds great. The guitars eventually become more pronounced and kick in properly, sounding really nice and amazing. Bon Scott begins singing about sexual desire and all that comes with it. Note that the lyrics cannot be taken hugely seriously, but all the same, the music is really awesome. A lively and powerful piece of music, with Gibson SG guitars being played through Marshall Amplifiers, this sounds punchy, loud and dramatic. The guitar solo is very manic and these guys obviously were having a great time making their music. In the second half of the song, a repeated guitar riff gains some airtime on its own, before feeding back and the band returns again to action. Another decent and wonderful listen, this sure sounds as good today as it did in 1976. Great job by AC/DC, and another memorable and catchy song by the group. The guitar soloing is very decent towards the end, and this sounds very lively. Powerful guitars and thunderous drums complete this song, all the way to the fade-out.
T.N.T. is a famous song that is very beloved by AC/DC fans and Rock fans in general. It begins with crashing guitar chords, pounding drums and chanting simply stating “Oi!”. This is without a doubt, a real classic of Rock history and very exciting listening, too. The music is simple and powerful, which is exactly what Rock should be. The chorus is singalong and wonderful, with one of Bon Scott’s finest vocal deliveries ever. A really brilliant and energy-driven piece of masculine and hairy-chested era songcraft, this is something that particularly those in Australia recognise. After all, AC/DC originate from there. A loud and powerful guitar solo is in the second half of the song, before the chanting returns and Bon Scott delivers a great vocal performance. Awesome and different, it builds up to a sped-up chaotic frenzy at the end, before finishing with some great drum rolls. A real classic song right there.
Can I Sit Next To You Girl begins with some cheerful sound chords, and some guitar feedback tinged playing as well. This song then builds up to a brilliant and rather Poppy sounding piece of music. Bon Scott sings brilliantly about a girl he is seriously lusting after. The lead up to the suspenseful pseudo-chorus is really brilliant, and the song title is an interesting lyrical line that is repeated throughout this awesome tune. A really wonderful and fine piece of Rock delivery, this is a great tale of chasing a particular woman. The second half builds up the song in an even more prominent way before reaching a guitar-driven and subtle key change climax that supports the song. Brilliant and cool, it ends with a shred guitar solo by Angus Young. Awesome.
Little Lover follows and is a more straightforward piece to listen to. It is at a slower tempo and just sounds great and groovy, with the bass guitar being fairly prominent. This is obviously a piece of music devoted to female fans of AC/DC, and it sounds downright politically incorrect and dirty. This is not a million miles away from Punk Rock in a strange way, it doesn’t sound very conventional in its lyrical intent. Nonetheless, a brilliantly crafted and delivered piece about macho male sexual pursuits. The music of AC/DC is perhaps the direct opposite of the pseudo-feminist nature of postmodern singers such as Ariana Grande, for example. A nicely hammered on style guitar solo is in the middle of the song and just sounds really awesome. A dirty, down and direct sort of piece of music, AC/DC does very well to impress on this album. The song lyrics are interesting, and this all sounds really gloriously good. A good solid piece of music that is impressive, but fairly dated in its male sexual bravado delivery. There are several seconds of silence just before the outro, which is a sleazy outro piece with guitars to match. Nice stuff.
She’s Got Balls begins with loud, overdriven guitars that have a strange groove about them, before the bass and drums kick in. A really lively and interesting piece of music, this sure sounds simple, but great. Obviously, the song is about a woman with a male like assertiveness which is interesting. This is a singalong piece of music with a chanted chorus that is very politically incorrect. This was the 1970s: an era of overtly male raunchiness that perhaps will not be returned to ever again in that sense. Regardless, AC/DC does a brilliant job, once again. The searing guitar solo supports the music perfectly and just sounds really cool and cleverly played. This sort of music sounds perfect to play in bars and the pokies, although you don’t have to drink alcohol or gamble to enjoy it. Straight up nicely played and delivered, this is a good song that is nicely crafted. Good tune. It ends suddenly.
High Voltage is the last song on this album. It sounds a little more upbeat from the start and goes into a fairly standard sounding AC/DC song. This is left last and honestly lacks a little compared to what has come before on this album. Nonetheless, this is another good song and this album no doubt left a huge impression on the Rock scene for years to come. The chorus is noticeably better than the verses, and this music still delivers when it does. An upbeat, powerful and energetic song devoted to Rock and Roll, this shows that even on lesser tracks, AC/DC could do their thing very well. A good way to finish off a major international debut album release, and something to remember the 1970s well by. Good song to listen to as well.
This is not the best AC/DC album. Still, this is an amazingly strong start to a career in music that other bands would fail to match. It shows the group in all their gutsy glory and male pride, ready to dominate the world of music in their own way. Should you listen to this album? Yes, particularly if you are a Classic Rock buff, a Heavy Metal fan or just a musical historian in general. Sure, the best was yet to come, but this is a good starting point. Nice effort AC/DC.
Reflections of an era long gone.
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