the first album i ever bought: ac/dc – dirty deeds done dirt cheap

promo photos: slingshot cash

The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here.

I got a few records before this for Christmas & such, but the first one I went out and bought was AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. My next door neighbor who was older & cooler, with feathered late 70’s/early 80’s hair and a cool name (think Viking), had played me Back in Black the year before. I thought that was cool cause hey, the cover is ALL BLACK. The lettering was raised but otherwise, nada. Whoa man, like cool. And it was about the band’s dead lead singer. This was a source of both confusion & embarrassment, cuz like, how did they put out a record with a dead guy? But it was then explained it was a Tribute to him, and so okey. I dug it.

The next year though, they put out another album, an older one with the dead guy singing. It was then that I learned they were Australian or Scottish and drank a lot. All of the dads in the neighborhood were no stranger to the can curls, but these guys died drinking. I saw it at a friends house, and decided I had to have it.

The cover really is what got me. People in a parking lot of a bland motel, a cop, an old lady, a nurse, a dog – but all of their eyes were blacked out (Though oddly, or not so oddly, I can never decide, not the dog’s eyes) like words missing from the Nixon Tapes or some crazy shit (Yes, at nine I knew about the Nixon Tapes and redacted words, but not about the logistics of rock  stardom. Mine was a troubled and quirky childhood). It was odd and awesome and dangerous. To me it meant they were hiding something, and whatever it was, it was no good. In my dull childhood, that was exactly what I wanted to see. Or in this case, not see.

The record itself was alright I thought. The title cut was kinda cool in a stupid/catchy Rawk kinda way. It strikes me now as a bit silly, but I still think it’s catchy. It’s Done Dirt Cheap. Ahhhhha….. as they said as the song ended.

The rest of it wasn’t even as good as the title track except for one on side two. It was slow, like actually slow, one of about three such songs Acca Dacca has ever put out. It was bluesy and there was not much to it. Some vague blues-isms about evil and such… but Shit. Bon Scott’s voice. It got to me. The big one. Ride On.

Ride On? Hell yes. I want to get out of town, another town, another lonely town, another lonely night. Bon Scott stayed up late at night lonely and sad too, although much less sober than I was. At least at that age. That dead guy sounded so certain of something & resigned to it & sad. I didn’t know what Bon Scott seemed to know, but I wanted to. That impulse to Ride On, to know that which is darkest in you and not be able to do much about it other than try and outrun it, that impulse would and still does cause me a lot of grief. Bon didn’t out run it; I have for the most part. Though it’s still out there, right behind me, making me go to another lonely night.

I don’t blame Bon Scott for that, only for pointing it out to me. That it was in me. Well, what can you do? Sometimes the most seductive things are the most destructive. But you gotta Ride On, Bon. I’m with you man.

I call shotgun.

Jon Ackley fronts an Americana band that’s better than yours called Slingshot Cash. He writes other stuff, lives in Chapel Hill, and thinks music is very, very important.

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