'74 Jailbreak



by ReturnToRock USER (303 Reviews)
June 6th, 2005 | 14 replies

Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

I am warning you right from the start: this review is going to be biased. Heavily biased. AC/DC have been my favourite band since around age 9, and even as I write this I am wearing an AC/DC t-shirt. So perhaps the final rating for this album will be boosted in a couple of half-points…

Anyway, on to the important stuff: the review. ’74 Jailbreak is an EP comprising five tracks that were originally in AC/DC’s two Australian releases, High Voltage and TNT, and that were left out when the two albums were merged into one and released overseas under the name High Voltage. Oddly enough, the vault cleansing did not re-surface the cover of Chuck Berry’s School Days, originally included in TNT. It did, however, re-surface the cover of Little Richard’s Baby Please Don’t Go, included here as a fifth track.

Other than that, the sound is typically early AC/DC: very bluesy but also full of crunching hard rock riffs from Angus’ Gibson SG. An attentive listen to the five tracks included here will help us draw several conclusions: that Mark Evans was a better bassist than Cliff Williams; that Bon Scott’s lyrics were much more serious and critical than Brian Johnson’s; and that, yes, in AC/DC’s case, even leftovers are good.

Take Jailbreak, for example. Sporting an incredibly catchy riff and chorus, this song quite fairly became an early hit for the band. The lyrics talk about a guy (allegedly Bon’s friend) who did murder and went to jail. He tries to break out but is killed in the process. Now I wouldn’t exactly see Brian Johnson writing this, would you" Bon had a critical edge to his lyrics that Brian sadly lacks, preferring to focus all his attention on girls and sex. Oh well, to each his own, I guess…Focusing on the track once more, I take the chance to tell you that this is the track the band usually use for Angus’ striptease (he usually does it during the drum-only part halfway through the song). As a result, live versions of this song can last up to nine minutes (vide AC/DC Live). All in all, this is a great song, and dead easy to play as well (5/5).

After Jailbreak ‘s more socially conscious lyrics, with You Ain’t Got A Hold On Me we’re apparently back to normal. And I stress the word «apparently». Actually, if you read into the lyrics, there are lines like «Just because I’m hooked on life/Doesn’t mean that I’m hooked on you», which can refer to substance addiction or to Bon’s well known drinking problem, which would eventually lead to his death, Or it might just be a song about a controlling chick… Either way, it’s a good song, very bluesy, without any major flaws, but a tad generic, both lyrically and musically. As a result, it does not achieve hit status, instead ranking as extremely good filler. (3,5/5) But definitely the best thing about it is that it gives way to…

Show Business, one of AC/DC’s early lost gems. This song is so good, I’m surprised it didn’t become a hit. With – once again . very insightful lyrics about the life of an up-and-coming rock band (which was what AC/DC were at the time), it has a fabulous start-stop pattern and features two awesome solos from Angus. It also has one of the best choruses in the entire AC/DC roster. All in all, then, a surprisingly forgotten song that should really have become a major hit. (5/5)

The next song, Soul Stripper, corroborates my statement that Mark Evans is a better player than Cliff Williams. Check out how he keeps the same line going all through the song, and it’s not as easy a line as the ones Cliff plays. This is not to detract from Cliff’s ability, of course, but the fact is, Mark was better. The song itself is not very interesting (apart from the bass part). Being once again slow and very bluesy, and boasting a mildly interesting chorus, it nonetheless falls into the «filler» category. (3/5)

The fifth and final track is the aforementioned cover of Baby Please Don’t Go, which shows why AC/DC seldom do covers. Their original material is so immensely superior, it is kind of a no-brainer. Still, this is a fair enough cover, made quicker and heavier. But I’d stick to their original material any day. (2,5/5).

All in all, then, a pretty fair little EP which is found at mid-price more often than not, and that is highly worth the buy if you0re an AC/DC fan (and even if you aren’t – after all, this was the record that introduced me to this wonderful band!) I grant it a very un-biased three and a half stars. (Biased rating : four :D )

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user ratings (202)

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 10th 2005


Go ACDC! B-Joh is my hommie, but B-Sco was my hommie (even though I was born way way after he died and by the time I knew what music was, AC/DC was getting pretty old).

July 6th 2005


Great review and great comment about show business , i was thinkin the same thing the other day , i wonder y it wasnt big ?

July 17th 2005


Great review on the album. The reason i think sow buisness
isn't big anymore is that with Bon Scott it was a big hit but you can't have someone like Brian Johnsen singing it. He's a good singer but would be awful for that song. IMO.

August 16th 2005


AC/DC are also my favourite band.

Bon Scott's well known hits were Let There Be Rock and Whole lotta rosie.
I agree with your comment about Brian Johnson, he is a great singer and has a brilliant rock voice.
When Bon Scott died AC/DC wanted a different sound, thats why they got Brian Johnson. Even if Brian Johnson tried to do Show Business well, i don't quite think he has the voice to do it.

PS. Gr8 review!This Message Edited On 08.16.05

September 4th 2005


Ah yes, one great album...

December 28th 2005


not bad album, show business is the best track on there

January 30th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

It's a good album, but only 5 songs? This is the one AC/DC CD I refuse to buy, I borrowed my friends copy. I know AC/DC probably didn't make the decision, but still, it irritates me.

August 6th 2007


This is album is fantastic. If it had more songs with the same quality of the rest I would give it a 5. All songs are great and I dont find it to be too repetetive at all. Anyone else think that Soul Stripper is one of the best AC/DC songs ever recorded?

August 10th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

^^ When I first heard Soul Stripper I fell in love with that song as well...did you know Malcolm does the second solo in that song? He also does the soloing in You Ain't Got A Hold On Me.

I love every song on this album. Pure Rock 'n Roll from a young AC/DC.

November 9th 2007


whoa - really?

malcolm soloing....hmmm...that made me want to go home and listen to the record again to see that....

March 20th 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

The last two songs are so good, people need to check this out.

Digging: And Also The Trees - (Listen for) the Rag and Bone Man

Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2017


Album Rating: 3.5

Absolutely. Solid album.

Digging: Legendry - Dungeon Crawler

February 28th 2017


t/t is a classic

i love baby please don't go as well

February 28th 2017


Album Rating: 4.0

great album, haven't jammed in a very long time

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