Sunday, 21 October 2012

CD Review: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, by AC/DC (1976)

AC/DC's third album from their local Australian days, belatedly re-released world-wide after the massive success of Back In Black, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap showcases a band having fun and loving it. Simple yet infectious songs about sex and...well mostly about sex, with nods towards the thrill of rocking out and living the life, hoping to make it big. The ethic is the local pub, but the message for scruffy teens is global.

Angus Young's heavy rock guitar playing is magnificently raw, his solos on tracks like Problem Child and There's Gonna Be Some Rockin' just pure shredding pleasure. Bon Scott personifies the band's attitude, delivering the lyrics like he means them today having experienced them last night, although his exact recollection might be a bit hazy through the bottom of the bottle.

The anthemic title track nails the album's message of letting loose to enjoy the shady life, making the illicit acceptable by emphasizing the buzz. Problem Child is the most sophisticated selection on the album, an early indicator of where the band will go on future records, developing the simple rock and roll foundation towards more metallic structures filled with dangerous density. It's almost impossible to listen to Problem Child without maximizing the volume, as the opening riff drives a rusty steel pipe into the ground and Scott takes it from there, building a foundry until Angus returns with not one, but two manic crazy guitar segments, closing out the track with 90 seconds of manic destruction.

Big Balls summarizes where the band's heads (both) are at, a low-brow, high society celebration of balling, Scott mimicking with elevated mockery an upper class accent while insisting that his ballsy celebrations are the biggest. The most ridiculous aspect of Big Balls is that it actually works. Ride On suddenly slows the pace down and injects soul, AC/DC allowing surprisingly mature thoughtfulness to break through, but Angus still managing to add quietly hypnotic guitar shadings.

It's quickly back to form on album closer Squealer, as we head back to another celebratory chapter from Scott's lust life, Angus providing the guitar-drenched musical accompaniment. There is very little that is legal going on with Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, and that's just how AC/DC like it.


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


1. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap - 10
2. Love At First Feel - 6
3. Big Balls - 8
4. Rocker - 7
5. Problem Child - 10
6. There's Gonna Be Some Rockin' - 7
7. Ain't No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire) - 7
8. Ride On - 8
9. Squealer - 8

Average: 7.89

Produced by Vanda and Young.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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