Mission: Immersion 3.0 – If You Want Blood…You’ve Got It by AC/DC

Atlantic 1978

AC/DC have been getting unfairly lumped in with a lot of inferior dumb rock bands recently, and younger generations are seemingly starting to devalue them. I am here to reiterate the importance of AC/DC. Sure, they are a dumb rock band, but only in the most organic and unpretentious sense. If they weren’t the first of their breed, they were certainly the first that really did it right and set a solid precedent for what good, hard rock and roll should sound like. If You Want Blood…You’ve Got It is the band’s definitive album because it’s the only solid live portrait of the Bon Scott era – the best era – and the live setting is so important to the AC/DC experience.

The song selection is nearly flawless, and though it’s disheartening that, since this album’s release predates Highway to Hell by two years, we don’t get a good chunk of Bon Scott classics, very little is left to be desired in that area. One gripe is the inclusion of “The Jack”, which is surely better experienced at a live show for audience participation related reasons, but the indomitable spirit of the band saves them – they know how to transfer their sense of fun through speakers alone. The fact that you can’t see any of them doesn’t detract from the experience at all – even if we haven’t seen AC/DC live, we’ve all heard the drill. You know Angus is up there is his schoolboy outfit, busting the Chuck Berry moves and shit-kicking like a little kid all over the place. You know Malcom Young, under-appreciated chief riffmaster, is hanging back, chugging along mightily in patented palm-muting glory. You can FEEL Phil Rudd, the backbone of it all, keeping the beat with an ogre-like intensity. And finally, even just hearing Bon Scott’s pure-attitude-drenched howl is enough to make you feel like you’re there. He’s as real as it gets.

The graphic nature of the album cover probably helps to channel the intended experience as well, and really, it’s one of the best live album covers out there. It’s an amazing album overall, but I can only imagine what kind of live album AC/DC could have made had Scott lived even another two years. The songs would have been better, the band would have been even tighter, and a live record like that would have been untouchable. But if If You Want Blood is all we’ve got, that’s OK, because it’s thrilling stuff. It’s the kind of record I bust out when I start getting bored with music, and it has a tangible electricity to it that jolts you awake and reminds you that music can come alive. ****1/2

Listening Again? Regularly

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