Sunday, 29 November 2009

CD Review: Let There Be Rock, by AC/DC (1977)

Not far removed from being a bar band, Australia's AC/DC take a few tentative steps towards the big leagues with this set of eight straight-ahead boogie-woogie metal tracks.

While Let There Be Rock, the band's fourth album and the first to achieve international success, was never going to set the world on fire stylistically, or in terms of originality, it does highlight AC/DC as a group that offers unfailing energy and commitment to their brand of simple anthems celebrating life, love and living hard. And when their songs hit the target, they were irresistible.

AC/DC's sound is defined by Angus Young wailing away with simple rock'n'roll riffs on the guitar, and Bon Scott matching him with his wailing high-pitched vocals. The rest of the band members provide good support, but very much in the background. Not a surprise that the international version of the album cover art features Angus in his school boy uniform at the front of the stage, Scott near the camera, and the other band members are rather invisible.

This was the last AC/DC studio album to feature Mark Evans on bass; he was replaced by Cliff Williams who went on to enjoy the band's glory years.

The songwriting and structures are basic in the extreme, something which generally endured throughout AC/DC's career, and which is both AC/DC's appeal and limitation.

Aiming squarely at blue-collar men and their younger brothers, AC/DC connected best with Let There Be Rock, which became one of their earliest big hits, and Whole Lotta Rosie, which is among AC/DC's best compositions and live performance favourites, and which shows just how much can be accomplished with a simple but brilliant guitar riff.

Another two tracks, Overdose and Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be are good, and both ominously foreshadowed Scott's early demise just two years later. Bad Boy Boogie is a showcase for whipping up a crowd with old-school guitar work.

The remaining songs are solid but unspectacular. Suitable to entertain the crowd down at the local pub, but really not much more. Problem Child, disappointingly repeated from Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, was a replacement for Crabsody in Blue which appeared on the original Australian release and was deemed too rude for international audiences.

This was the last AC/DC album produced in Australia by Vanda and Young, as it was apparent that the band's success trajectory was going to demand more professional and international attention. The raw, almost live feel of Let There Be Rock is very much suited to the content, and is a farewell to the first phase of their career.


Malcolm Young: Guitar
Angus Young: Guitar
Bon Scott: Guitar
Phil Rudd: Drums
Mark Evans: Bass

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Go Down - 7
2. Dog Eat Dog - 7
3. Let There Be Rock - 8
4. Bad Boy Boogie - 8
5. Problem Child - 6 (repeat track from Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap)
6. Overdose - 9
7. Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be - 9
8. Whole Lotta Rosie -10 *See Video Below*

Average: 8.00

Produced by Vanda and Young.

All Ace Black Blog CD Reviews are here.

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