Saturday, June 6, 2009

A - AC/DC - High Voltage (Australian issue)

AC/DC - High Voltage (original).

AC/DC was easily my favorite band during my teen years, and i still have a fondness for them, to the point where i think "Highway to Hell" is the second greatest record ever released. but here's their first, and it's a lemon. there are no "classic" AC/DC hits on this one, and for good reason. they sound like a bar band and had not yet developed the sound they would become known for. the tempos drag so much that they sound longer and more boring than they really are. in fact, the only element that's really in place here is Bon Scott's vocals: the lyrics are terrible, but Bon already has so much charisma that it makes (some of) the songs passable.

interestingly, once they signed to a major label, they released a totally different "High Voltage" (this time with the classic title song) that included only 2 of the songs from this one. in 1985, 4 of the songs were released on the "'74 Jailbreak" ep (none of which were particularly good), and 2 were not re-released until as hidden tracks on the Jailbreak CD. and for GOOD reason: these 2 may be the worst AC/DC songs of all time. "Stick Around" is a lame ripoff of Free's "All Right Now" - all that its missing is a cowbell. in fact "All Right Now" is somewhat of a prototype for what AC/DC would later make famous: a tight TIGHT rhythm section, simple yet expressive guitar, and great vocals. "Stick Around" has none of this. but then...hoo boy..."Love Song" is the WORST. it is an ACTUAL love song. from AC/DC. i don't know if it was sincere or a joke, but it's unlistenable. there's an acoustic guitar on it. holy mackeral, it's putrid. "oh Jean", Bon moans over and over again (yes, that is the chorus). he did a whole lot better love song with "Whole Lotta Rosie": sure it's about lovin' a large woman, but it rocks and it's funny. Jean must've been pissed to have been immortalized with this crap.

anyway, the 3 songs that make a somewhat positive impact are "Baby Please Don't Go" (the old blooze song - yeah its generic, but it's uptempo, and it sounds like Bon is having fun with it), "Show Business" (the one time on the album where it really SOUNDS like the AC/DC we all love, though the song itself is just alright, and goes on too long), and "She's Got Balls" (which i think is hysterical, cause what on earth is he going on about? Bon lists all the great attributes of his woman (spunk, funk, style, speed, soul, taste, etc) then leads into the chorus: "but most important of all...(let me tell you)...THE LADY'S GOT BALLS!!! SHE'S GOT BALLLLLLLLLLS!" awesome.

verdict: it will be awhile until i listen to this again.

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