[Review] AC/DC: If You Want Blood You’ve Got It (1978)

Okay, so this is technically a live album as much as Unleashed In The East was a live album, but it still rocks.

Kronomyth 6.0: AC/DC cums alive.

Now this is more like it: an electrifying AC/DC on stage (mostly in Glasgow) and on fire. Never mind that the band’s live performances never sounded this good; hell, even Powerage wasn’t this polished. So is this one of the greatest rock and roll live albums of all time? Not really. Guitar solos have been edited, tracks have been changed, the whole thing has been cut and coiffed. But for a band that never released a greatest hits album, If You Want Blood You’ve Got It may be as good as it gets.

This is Bon Scott-era AC/DC in top form getting lowdown and dirty with inspired performances of “The Jack,” “Whole Lotta Rosie,” “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be” and the best songs from their first five albums. In fact, these versions of “Bad Boy Boogie,” “High Voltage,” “Riff Raff,” “Problem Child” and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation” might actually outclass the originals. And who could argue that “Let There Be Rock” was made to be played live?

Unlike a lot of live albums, the songs on If You Want Blood don’t run considerably longer on stage. The album has the same succinct punch that Vanda and Young had delivered to date in the studio. The band pummels you with a few chords, Bon shadow boxes with his inner demons and Angus knocks you out with a short, fast solo.

More often than not, albums like If You Want Blood get “restored” to their original form with time; tracks are re-sequenced, added, unedited. That hasn’t happened yet. It remains today in much the same form: defiantly thin, unrepentantly perfect in places, with a veneer of sneer and a modicum of bonhomie. It may not be the perfect live album, but I wouldn’t change a thing after all these years.

Original LP Version

A1. Riff Raff
A2. Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be
A3. Bad Boy Boogie
A4. The Jack
A5. Problem Child
B1. Whole Lotta Rosie
B2. Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation
B3. High Voltage
B4. Let There Be Rock
B5. Rocker

All songs written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott.

The Players

Phil Rudd (drums), Bon Scott (vocals), Cliff Williams (bass), Angus Young (guitar), Malcolm Young (guitar). Produced by Vanda & Young.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and cassette on November 21, 1978 in Australia (Albert, APLP-034), the US and Canada (Atlantic, SD/CS-19212), the UK (Atlantic, K 50532), Argentina (WEA, 93305), Canada (Atlantic, KSD-19212), Germany (ATL 50 532), Japan (Atlantic/Warner-Pioneer, P-10618A) and Yugoslavia (Suzy, ATL 50532). Reached #113 on the US charts (RIAA certified platinum record) and #13 on the UK charts.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1979 in Brazil (Atlantic, 30.095).
  2. Re-issued on elpee in 1980 in Mexico (Atlantic, LWA-5408).
  3. Re-issued on elpee in Taiwan (Kelly, KY-1014).
  4. Re-issued on elpee in 1984 in Germany (Atlantic, ATL 50 532).
  5. Re-issued on cassette in Argentina (93305).
  6. Re-issued on compact disc in 1988 in Japan (Atlantic, 32XD-949).
  7. Re-released on remastered compact disc on October 18, 1994 in the US (Atlantic, 92447).
  8. Re-issued on remastered compact disc in 1995 in Australia (Albert, 477087-2).
  9. Re-issued on remastered compact disc in Japan (Atlantic, AMCY-6223).
  10. Re-released on remastered 180g vinyl elpee and compact disc in 2003 in the US and Canada (Epic, E/EK-80205) and the UK (Sony, 510763-1).
  11. Re-issued on remastered compact disc in 2007 in Japan (Sony, SICP-1704).

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