Wondering which album should be my first review on MMA, it finally hit me - why not review the first album I ever owned that it is on this site! That honor goes to AC/DC and their 1976 release DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP.
After reading about it I learned that there are actually two versions. The first one was released only in Australia in 1976. The second (the one I have) was released the same year internationally but sadly not until 1981 in the US (where I live). The differences between early AC/DC albums in Australia and the rest of the world is dizzying in that some tracks never appeared outside of Australia, some appeared on multiple albums, some only internationally, some edited, some not. Yikes!
I hardly think it would be fair to review one or the other so I will do both as a 2-fer. The original version I had never heard before today and the second i've had for decades, so forgive me if the result is somewhat biased!
Australian version: Totally different song order. Title track is slightly longer, but hardly noticeable. “Ain't No Fun” is the second song and is also longer. I think this song works better extended a little. This Australian version seems like more of a compilation to me since I am familiar with the songs but not the order. I don't really care for how the songs are arranged. I have to say that “Jailbreak” is a better way to end the album though. I had never heard R.I.P. (Rock In Peace) before. It's ok, but I don't feel i've been missing out on too much. “Jailbreak” was released internationally on the EP '74 JAILBREAK.
International version: This is the one most of us have heard. What I love about this version is not only the songs themselves but the way they flow into each other at least up to the last part of the album where “Ride On” and “Squealer” which aren't bad songs just don't seem to end the album well. They should have kept “Jailbreak” as the album's closer. “Ain't No Fun” and the title track are edited on this version but I read some newer remastered versions have the longer cuts. Don't think it effects them too much. “Love At First Feel” never appeared on an Australian album but was released as a single.
What can I say? First of all, Bon Scott era AC/DC remains one of the best hard rock acts EVER! They had the sound, the look, the attitude, but it was all done tongue-in-cheek. Although this album is deemed immature and a novelty of some sort I find it epitomizes exactly what the band stood for. After all, how could a band with a guitarist who struts around banging his guitar in a school boy uniform wanna be called anything but?
I prefer the version I know so well. It just flows better song to song but it was interesting to finally hear the album as originally released. I guess I would give the original version 3.5 stars and the international 4.5 stars stars. So 4 stars overall.