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AC/DC: Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

AC/DC: Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

30/07/10  ||  Khlysty

Introduction

Back in 1976, when this album came out, AC/DC was considered to be a
“punk” band. Maybe it was the simple blues-twelve-bar derived songs,
played with cheerful and probably inebriated abandon and unheard-of
intensity. Maybe it was the outrageous on-stage/off-stage antics of the
band members (Angus had already established his
schoolboy-from-Hell-or-somewhere-near persona, while Bon Scott was
appearing live dressed as a nurse or a ballerina and everybody in the
band drank, as if the thing was going out of style fast). Maybe
it was the provocative lyrics that, although dealing with the usual
themes of rock’n’roll (sex, booze, drugs and general antisocial
behavior), they seemed to cut a little deeper than most. I don’t really
know the reason why, but, back then, AC/DC was supposed to be a punk
band.

And then came “Dirty Deeds…” and things changed fast for the band.
Suddenly, AC/DC weren’t just punks anymore, but a bunch of dangerous,
dastardly devilish ruffians, set out to mock and ultimately destroy the
status quo worldwide. Maybe it was the dark anti-establishment lyrics
that were used (“Dirty Deeds…” talks openly about murder and sexual
deviation, “Big Balls”, under a funny façade, hides a deep derision for
the higher classes of the society, “The Rocker” celebrates the darker
aspects of the rock’n’roll life and there’s real anger towards failure
in “(Ain’t no fun) Waiting round to be a millionaire”). Maybe it was the
music that was catchier than H1N1, H1N5 and Hepatitis C viruses, all
wrapped up together. But I think that what was scarier was the fact that
AC/DC made an attitudinal and musical leap of cosmic proportions, only
two years after their first record.

To understand the impact this record had when it hit the streets, you have to know that until 1981, the Americans could NOT listen to “Dirty Deeds…”, unless they were ready to pay exorbitant prices to import it in the USA.
Anyway, in my not-so-humble opinion, this is not only one of the best
records AC/DC ever produced, but also one of the best hard
rock/rock’n’roll/punk/fun/party records ever to grace this pair of ears.
This is not just great music/great fun, folks; this is the record to
make you wanna smash things and do harm and REALLY BE HAPPY ABOUT
IT! I really am not sure about how these diminutive Aussies made it
possible, but here it is, in full deprived glory, to be adored and
rained with burnt offering to time end.

Songwriting

9,5. As I said before, the songwriting is simple. But, AC/DC, along
with a few other bands like The Ramones or Motörhead, belong to the
Einsteins of simplicity and catchiness. Taking the basic dogmas of da
blues, boogie and rock’n’roll, the Brothers Young super-boost them with
huge guitars, a rock-hard rhythm section and tasteful solos, while
always finding the best way to write simple –but never simplistic- riffs
that hook themselves into the minds of the listeners. Please, just
listen carefully to the opening riff of “Dirty Deeds…”: just four
fucking chords, but the majesty and menace they exude is
un-fucking-believable. Or to the totally derailed twelve-bar of “The
Rocker”. Or to the infinitely tender and surprisingly introspective
Texas-blues-influenced “Ride on”, one of the best blues tunes the band
ever wrote. Hell, buy it and listen to alla them songs, each and every
one of them is a winner. What’s more important, though, is that the band
displays a great maturity in songwriting, giving every song a menacing
and dangerous edge and going for variety (you gots yer speeders, you
gots yer boogie-downs, you gots yer uptempo rockers, you gots yer blues,
so whaddafuck else do you want, huh?…).

Production

10. They don’t make ‘em anymore like they used to, in the good ole
days. Harry Vanda and George Young (the duo behind The Easybeats and the
huge ‘60s hit “Friday On My Mind”) produce this beast in all its hairy
glory. The beefed-up guitars shine and crackle lively from the speakers,
the drums sound organic and yummy, the bass is a constant thunderhead
rumble and the vocals are recorded in such a lively manner as to make
you feel that Bon’s really close and that you better hide the booze, the
drugs and your girlfriend. Y’know, just in case…

Guitars

9,5. I won’t comment on Angus’ playing. If you don’t know his style
–a combination of Chuck Berry and grizzly bear- you have no place being
here, so go back and listen to U2 or whatever the fuck else you’ve been
listening to. What I want to underline is how important is Malcolm to
the AC/DC sound. Mal is a real rock, a riff-meister extraordinaire and
the guy who anchors everything down with his dominating licks and barbed
riffing; the guy who propels the music and coordinates everyone in the
band. Let’s simply say that Mal is the center of AC/DC and a rhythm
guitar god and stop at that, okay?…

Vocals

10. Bon Scott’s inimitable style here finds the perfect vehicle
(=songs) to shine through and through. From the menacing approach of
“Dirty Deeds…”, to the faux-posh accent of “Big Balls”, to the soulful,
self-examining performance of “Ride On”, to the attitude-driven,
rowdy-boy, don’t-give-a-flying-fuck rendering of “Problem Child”, Bon
Scott has already turned into one of the best singers in rock’n’roll,
powerful, nuanced, extremely expressive and totally embodying rock’s
best and worst qualities. It’s a damn shame that within three years he
would go and die.

Bass

8. Mark Evans was never a guy that shined alone within the band. But he is one of the most dependable bassists EVAH! A rhythmic Rock Of Ages, Mark is the bassist you want, if you wanna play RAWK,…

Drums

9,5. …Along with drummer Phil Rudd, whose no-frills, steady-as-shit
drumming is one of the propulsive elements of the songs. Phil is no
show-offy musician, just a mean bastard without whom AC/DC would’ve
never achieved stardom

Lyrics

10. “Well I’m upper upper class high society/Gods gift to ball
room notoriety/And I always fill my ball room/The event is never
small/The social pages say I’ve got the biggest balls of all”.
Pure unadulterated poetry, if there ever was such a thing.

Cover art

7,5. A bunch of “common people”, with their eyes covered with black
bands. Who are they and, most importantly, what do they hide?…

Logo

6. No logo, just the “AC/DC” in a simple font.

Booklet

6. I got the old vinyl version of it, ergo no booklet. Live with it, okay?…

Overall and ending rant

“Dirty Deeds…” is one of the records that played a significant part
in my formation as a hard rocking music aficionado. It’s also my
best-loved AC/DC record. I know, of course, that there might be better
AC/DC records that this, but I don’t give a fuck. This is where my heart
belongs and this is the record that made me realize the importance of
this band. In “Dirty Deeds…” AC/DC is not yet the burly behemoth of,
say, “Highway To Hell” or “Back In Black”, sounding more like an
extremely rowdy rock’n’roll/punkish band. No matter, though. The songs
are great, the performances exemplary, the style impeccable, the
attitude too real for comfort. This is a chances-taking band and this is
a great record and if you don’t have it, you better remedy this real
fast.

9

  • Information
  • Released: 1976
  • Label: Atlantic
  • Website: www.acdc.com
  • Band
  • Bon Scott: vocals
  • Angus Young: lead guitar
  • Malcolm Young: rhythm guitar
  • Mark Evans: bass
  • Phil Rudd: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Dirty deeds done dirt cheap
  • 02. Love at first feel
  • 03. Big balls
  • 04. Rocker
  • 05. Problem child
  • 06. There’s gonna be some rockin’
  • 07. (Ain’t no fun) waiting round to be a millionaire
  • 08. Ride on
  • 09. Squealer
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This entry was posted on August 8, 2015 by in Class6(66) and tagged , .
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