Nov 11, 2009 Web Exclusive
One would think there would be a limited market for a box set like Backtracks. Collecting two discs of rarities (one studio, one live) and a DVD of promotional clips, marketed as an add-on to 2005's exhaustive double DVD set, Family Jewels, the box is mostly perfunctory. The live disc is unnecessary. The promotional video clips are mildly interesting, in a you'll-only-ever-watch-them-once kind of way. Even the studio rarities are just a handful tracks taken mostly from Australian-only LPs or singles, serving as somewhat of a disappointment for anyone hoping for a vault-clearing extravaganza.
Where this set does redeem itself, however, is in the first half of the studio rarities disc, which covers the Bon Scott years. Of the seven songs from that era, 1974's "Stick Around" is scuzz-bucket rock and roll, with Scott yelping, "Come on baby, sit on this!" with all of his trademark sensitivity. "Carry Me Home" features the choice lyric, "You ain't no lady, but you sure got taste in men," reminding fondly of the band that gave us all songs like "Big Balls" and "Whole Lotta Rosie." And to add insult to insult, directly following it is a track called "Crabsody in Blue" (I'll give you one guess what that one's about).
Showing their range (?!), the band incorporate the traditional Scottish folk song, "Loch Lomond," into the jumpy instrumental, "Fling Thing." And, still, the most interesting cut of the box is the Scott-sung "Love Song." After a skittering guitar riff opening (think "Thunderstruck"), the song morphs into a tender ballad, with Scott intoning lines such as, "If you leave me or make me cry/When I think of you saying goodbye/Oh the sky turns a deeper blue/That's how I'd feel if I lost you" and, at the end, practically weeping into Angus Young's shirt, singing, "I love you/Don't leave." It would be hard to argue that the set is worth its price (for true fans, the deluxe version comes in a working amp!), but even the most cynical could find a lot of value in downloading the first seven songs of Disc One from the digital music distributor of their choice. (www.acdc.com)
Author rating: 4/10
Average reader rating: 8/10
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