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Saturday, June 03, 2006

HIGH VOLTAGE ROCK AND ROLL


High Voltage


A while back I blogged about my feelings about the Mutt Lange produced AC/DC records, and I might have given the impression that I thought 'Powerage' was the best AC/DC record. To be clear, 'Powerage' was thrown up as an example of a record that I like better than the Mutt produced gazzilion selling AC/DC records - 'Highway To Hell', 'Back In Black', and 'For Those About To Rock', which are great records without a doubt. I chose 'Powerage' mostly because of it's proximity, being the studio LP just prior to Mutt's entry into the AC/DC story, and also because I do like it quite a lot, as I often do with albums that are sort of looked over and lost in the wash, it's the underdog factor.

Clearly the best AC/DC album is their first U.S. release, 'High Voltage'. This isn't even debatable. This record is so superior to any record ever, that it sits alone on high and looks down at all the other records that wish they were as good as it is.

AC/DC first released a record in Australia and the U.K called 'High Voltage', which they followed with a record called 'TNT'. From these two records the American 'High Voltage' was begotten, and has reigned supreme since it's birth in 1976.

The record opens with 'It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock And Roll)', in which the tone is set, and the lay of the land is surveyed. Over the crispest of beats and tightest rhythm section known to man, Bon Scott tells us exactly how shitty life on the road is, and how dirty the music business is.

"Gettin' robbed
Gettin' stoned
Gettin' beat up
Broken boned
Gettin' had
Gettin' took
I tell you folks
It's harder than it looks

It's a long way to the top
If you wanna rock 'n' roll"


Almost before you begin to ask yourself why would anyone want to do it, they launch into 'Rock And Roll Singer' and tell you why - to stick it to the man.

"You can stick your nine to five livin'
And your collar and your tie
And stick your moral standards
'Cause it's all a dirty lie
You can stick your golden handshake
And you can stick your silly rules
And all the other shit
That they teach to kids in school
'Cause I ain't no fool

Gonna be a rock 'n' roll singer
Gonna be a rock 'n' roll star
Yes I are!"


(Aside: Jack Black will always have my respect for understanding the basic essence of Rock and the fact that AC/DC comes closest to making it flesh.)

Then it's the blues. It's where it begins - AC/DC knows this, this is why Keith likes them, they are a blues band who happen to deal in volume, lots of it, and intensity, lots more of it. 'The Jack' is as basic as a twelve bar blues can be, and Angus puts in a performance any blues great would be proud of. All the while, Bon is singing a very thinly veiled ode to venereal disease. It is quite simply a perfect song.

Throughout this record the band shows how ridiculously better they are than any other group of musicians anywhere at any time since the dawn of man, and all the while Bon is telling us that he's a 'Live Wire', and he's gonna set your town on fire. He's 'T.N.T.' - he's dynamite, he's a power load, he's gonna explode. He wants to sit next to you, girl, because your his 'Little Lover'.....

Saw you in the front row
Movin' to the beat
(Just movin' and groovin')
Killed me when I saw
The wet patch on your seat
(Wasn't Coca Cola)
Ooo baby
I hope you liked the show
When the band said good night
I had to say hello


And, as it turns out, 'She's Got Balls'. Yep. Bon let's us know why he does it.......

You ask me 'bout the clothes I wear
And you ask me why I grow my hair
And you ask me why I'm in a band
I dig doin' one night stands
You wanna see me do my thing
All you gotta do is plug me into high

I said high
High voltage rock 'n' roll

You ask me why I like to dance
And you ask me why I like to sing
And you ask me why I like to play
I got to get my kicks some way
You ask me what I'm all about
Come and let me hear you shout high

I said high
High voltage rock 'n' roll



Comments:
i'm a little fuzzy on my old ac/dc; does 'dirty deeds' not count as a proper release? I think it came out in the States after Back in Black.

Meanwhile, you continue to prove that the music that was made before you turned 16 is better than anything that came after.
 
Great post Jackson, and SR says it best, the music made before we were 16 has yet to be toppped.
 
'Dirty Deeds' does count as an official studio release, it was released, in somewhat different form, in Australia and the UK in 1976 - the US label wasn't interested, of course until anything by AC/DC became a guaranteed gazillion seller.

I turned 16 in 1981, so there are a few exceptions - the Mats, REM, U2, Jane's Addiction, Nirvana, and Appetite are serious contenders, but as a loose guidline I'd say Mike is right.
 
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