When I pulled up this album on Amazon I just automatically presumed that every AC/DC fan in the world had posted their 5-star review of this absolute classic. I am almost saddened by the sight of so many mediocre reviews of the album that perhaps best symbolizes the dirty and dangerous lifestyle and creed of my all-time favorite band. I had this album on LP when I was in college 20 years ago, it was an import. My fraternity brothers used to steal it out of my room and would take it to their own for their raucous “room parties.” I was forever tracking that album down for my own sinister parties. This album resonates true attitude and spirit; this is the album that proves that AC/DC is and always has been the “real thing” and not some contrived spit-up of a hair sprayed psuedo band that The Industry normally tries to sell. This is a road house band that turns it up as loud as the amps can go and then they just let loose. This album is perhaps a bit more “personal” than some of the others, and I’ve always liked that because it gives tremendous insight into the mechanics and thinking of one of the most intriguing bands of all time. The occasional moments of mellowness here merely let you catch your breath.If you’ve never seen AC/DC in concert then you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. If you have, then you do. This band, at least in their prime, had a menacing sound that was beyond comprehension. The first time I saw them was in 1978. Angus was 19. AC/DC was the “warm-up” band at Oakland Coliseum’s “Day on the Green” (they’d open up the green for a series of huge open-admission concerts). AC/DC came out. I knew them only from “TNT” which was getting some air play. Suffice it to say, it was the most incredible concert I’ve ever seen, and actually one of the most interesting sights I’ve ever seen: 19 year old Angus had perhaps 60,000 of his peers clenching theirs fists up in the air and chanting his name in insane hero worship as he belted out many of the tunes on Dirty Deeds and some of the others from that era. It was like seeing the boy-king Tutankhamen descending from the heavens. Bon truly looked deranged and maniacal. Angus went down into the crowd on the shoulders of a security guy and people were slapping his sweaty, pimply back as he did a prolonged and frenzied guitar solo. He didn’t miss a note. He was a frothing, raging, crazed riff- machine….the truest essence of rock and roll that I’ve ever seen. AC/DC stole the show from the balance of the big-name bands which followed during the course of that day. Every one of the hundreds of concerts I’ve seen since then has paled in comparison.Yes, AC/DC has had many other great albums since, and some less than so great. But this album really portrays them at their genesis, and you must have it to truly appreciate their legacy and evolution. They’ve just released “Stiff Upper Lip”–which I do like, but the hormonal and creative buzz of this Dirty Deeds era isn’t the same, and having this CD is the only sure way to recall the diabolical beginnings of this great band that has inspired many of us throughout the years. (AC/DC for years was somewhat of a cult band with a very limited, albeit loyal following; it wasn’t until Back in Black that they really hit mainstream, and by then Bon was gone.) It’s nice to see AC/DC now on the short list of All-Time Biggest Bands, they deserve it, but their initial up and coming days will always be what I find most interesting in their prolonged history. Final note: No one seems to mention “Powerage.” This is a truly savage album that will scald the enamel off anyone’s chompers. So, if you’re hungry for pure heat, do investigate. It also captures their early spirit, especially as it bristles with the confidence and audacity of a band that knows it’s magic.
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The AC/DC of Bon Scott was never ever matched by the Brian Johnson AC/DC. Johnson really did a heroic job in handling the job that Bon did, but he was never ever a shade from tha late Scott. Scott had a better voice, MUCH better lyrics, much more charm and tone variations in his voice.Johnson managed to be a part of the marvellous BACK IN BLACK album, but a few years later his voice was totally shot. He’s a very important part of the band, that lives like the Stones do, for example: an entity, a myth.DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP was released in Australia in 1976, but Atlantic shelved it for the American market and simply did not release it. THey simply tought it was not good enough. Only after Bon died and after the success of BACK IN BLACK, they released it in America, in 1981 (FIVE YEARS LATER!!). In doing so, they simply destroyed the original album, cutting from it possibly the best song: JAILBREAK. Go figure why…LOVE AT FIRST FEEL is a good song, but nowhere as good as JAILBREAK. And they added ROCKER, which was already available in the original Australian album T.N.T., sacking R.I.P (Rock In Peace).
I was incredibly to surprised to see many of the other reviews of this album. I’ve been a fan of AC/DC for many years now, but just got around to reading the reviews posted here. I have always considered this to be among the bands best albums. The first cut, the title track, is among the top rock songs ever, and its influence in the world of modern heavy metal seems almost painfully obvious. The other tracks are all filled with the same rambunctions rock ‘n’ roll that comprised their previous album(s). Rocker is great, as is Problem Child, Love at First Feel, and one of personal favorites, Squealer. On top of that Ride On, while not typical AC/DC material, is an incredibly powerful blues song granting the listener with some insight to the man that was Bon Scott. I wish they had done some more slow ones like this every now and then. On the other side of the musical coin from Ride On is Big Balls, which is incredibly stupid, but I’ve found it also draws some previously biased listeners into the world of AC/DC fandom. This album summarizes to me what the band is really like, its seems more personal than most of their records (namely Powerage), captures the fun of the band in the studio, while still holding on to the driving rock rhythym that they invented. This album is an absolute must.
Have you ever put an album on for the first time and then heard your very soul in the music from beginning to end? For me, this is the one.
Eddie Van Halen once said of AC/DC that “They play the same song over and over again. But it’s a great song.” Dirty Deeds, however, makes a clear departure from the rest of the AC/DC catalogue with both its colorful variety–for any band, and its intense musical portrayals of many distinct moods. It deserves a track-by-track review.
(1) “DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP”–The drums and rhythm guitar come crashing through your speakers at the same time–with no build up to warn the unwary! The distinctive pounding stickwork sets the theme for the boys as they hit the warpath with this mean rocker. The narrator is marketing his services right to you. The calm of the song, where Bon goes through the various execution choices, is pure evil. And he tops that off by yelling out, “High Voltage!”–a clever and funny alusion to their debut album: AC/DC music will fry you up crispy! If most of the song is boldly sinister, then Angus works up something no less than apocolyptic in the guitar solo. You’ve GOT to hear it!
(2) “LOVE AT FIRST FEEL”–Things calm down just a touch here where we get a pure rock and roll celebration of reckless cheap love! At one point in the song Bon’s lead vocals rise out of the gang chorus, and weave through it. The climactic guitar solo captures the glorious release of this kind of sexuality. Like the rest of Dirty Deeds, you’ve just got to hear it to understand what I mean.
I’d like to field some of the accusations–which over the years have fossilized into standard commentary–that this song and “SQUEALER” seem to generate. Some critics state it as a pure matter of fact that AC/DC glorifies or at least talks about sex with minors. But if you actually listen to the lyrics, you’ll find that there’s no reference whatsoever to school girls, and certainly not to sex with school girls–or minors. “SQUEALER” talks about a virgin, but lots of women keep their virginity into majority anyway. “LOVE AT FIRST FEEL” may in fact tease your imagination in various potential directions with vague lyrics. But in the end, anything you come up with here is, at the very least, your own imagination picking up where the lyics left off. Peoples’ accusations read something into the songs that just isn’t there. So listen and enjoy, with a conscience only as clean as your imagination.(But for those whose minds do seem to meander down that path, check out “JAILBAIT” [Motorhead-"Ace Of Spades"]. With that number, you’ll get a quick ticket to the real deal.)
(3) “BIG BALLS”–This song, along with the title track, play regularly on the local classic rock stations. This frustrates me in a way because DJ’s ignore so many of what have been the most popular songs across the band’s career. On the other hand, I have heard this song hundreds of times over the years, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t keep its freshness and make me laugh every single time! It’s a surprisingly clever and shameless in your face satire–right down to Bon’s exaggerated “classy” accent–of aristocratic society. Just the steady taunt of the ambling rhythm guitar alone heaps on the irreverance! The many original double entendres keep you laughing.
(4) “ROCKER”–This frenetic and fun track, with the choppy and impromptu feel of the lyrics, conveys the pace of a rock and roller’s often equally fast and spontaneous lifestyle. It speeds through and ends just as fast as it started.
(5) “PROBLEM CHILD”–At some points ominous and at other points glorying in defiance, this moderate paced mean rocker would definitely play more if Bon, rest his soul, hadn’t started things off with “F*** this.” But then AC/DC have never exactly bowed to popular acceptance either. I’d have you think of it as the problem song sung by the problem singer of a problem rock ‘n’ roll band. The exquisite guitar solo rages with the angst and aggression of a troubled youth, and is really something to hear.
(6) “THERE’S GONNA BE SOME ROCKIN’”–And, as long as AC/DC is around, you can hang your hat on that. Pure rhythm, pure rock and roll. You could absolutely hit the dance floor with this slower cruising track. (Personally, I think I might like to hook up with the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen” of the song.)
(7) “AIN’T NO FUN WAITIN”ROUND TO BE A MILLIONAIRE”–Bon drops the second F-bomb here! Apparently he was quite the sailor. The first part of the song carries the ironic tone of a band in good old fashioned self-deprecation. But then the rhythm picks up and the sun seems to come out–they start thinking that they might make big it after all.
In pace and mood, and topic, this track often resembles the previous one. And nothing could be more just pure rock and roll than what you get between the two.
(8) “RIDE ON”–This is the AC/DC ballad. It has a wistful, bluesy feel throughout and stands in a category all it’s own as far as “rock” “ballads” go. For me it calls up the image of a guy on a bus, looking out the window. He’s got all of his things next to him in canvas sack and he’s reflecting about his troubled life so far as he heads to a new city for a new start. Angus plays a melancholy–but often brisk–solo that weaves in and out of the rhythm guitar, his usual approach to soloing. His brilliant guitar work can capture moods like no other.
(9) “SQUEALER”–In many ways this is the most complex track on the CD. To start, there’s nothing fun or celebrational about it. The mood here is completely dead serious! It is the monologue of a seducer telling of a woman he seduces–more by her surrender to impulse than by her conscious will. The back-and-forth between the very simple, but aggressive, rhythm guitar and the sobering bass line, on the one hand, and then the restrained lead vocals and the jagged and explosive chorus, on the other, combine to render a powerful and chilling musical portrayal of the fear and excitement clashing within the woman (a virgin) being seduced. Again, the mood just comes out of the music in a way I can’t really describe.
I love and would recommend anything by AC/DC. But this disk in particular gives you that fleeting moment in their career where they not only serve up the rock and roll, but also demonstrate sheer mood mastery in the process. They resurrect it just two more times–first on their following US release, Let There Be Rock, with the song “OVERDOSE” and then again four albums later, with “SPELLBOUND” on For Those About To Rock–with Brian Johnson.
I just wanted to put in my two cents about the Australian version of “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. Despite its rather hefty price, it offers some bonuses not available on the U.S. or English versions. 1) The artwork is noticeably different, and almost gives the album an “underground” or “independent” feel. 2) The remastered version sounds terrific. Granted, this is probably not substantially different than the U.S. remastered edition, but it puts the two versions on similar sonic ground. 3) The song “Dirty Deeds” on the Aussie edition is a slightly longer version than on the U.S. release; you’ll notice it toward the song’s end where Bon sings the line “Dirty Deeds” a couple more times and also adds in a little extra squeal.4) The Aussie version includes all of the song lyrics in the CD booklet. Nice to know for sure what Bon was saying!5) Maybe most significantly, this album includes the killer song “Jailbreak” in lieu of “Rocker” (an excellent song in its own right, which is found on the Aussie album “T.N.T.” or the U.S. “Dirty Deeds”). “Jailbreak” was the reason I bought the Aussie vinyl album back in the early 80’s instead of the U.S. version. Great anthemic album closing track and delivers all of the goods you’d expect from the Bon-era AC/DC. (I realize that the “‘74 Jailbreak” EP was released in the U.S., it’s just kind of cool to have that song on the actual album from which it was originally taken.)To sum up, the Aussie CD is a worthwhile purchase for the diehard AC/DC-Bon Scott fan, who is looking for the version as it was originally released Down Under, which includes some noteworthy bonuses. I strongly recommend this CD. (This version is also included in the Aussie 6-CD Box Set No. 1, if you’ve got the $$). Whatever version you have or buy, enjoy!