[ep review] AC/DC | ’74 Jailbreak EP

Forgive me for this one, but I dislike ’74 Jailbreak‘s existence for nerdy reasons.  It is part of what makes collecting early AC/DC tunes more difficult than it should be. *pushes up glasses*

The confusion begins with its title.  It is incorrect.  The song ‘Jailbreak‘ wasn’t released or recorded in 1974.  It was part of the original Aussie version of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap recorded in 1976.  With the rest of the EP was recorded in 1974 for the Aussie version of High Voltage.  A more accurate title would be:

’74, Jailbreak

Meaning there are some songs on here from 1974 and ‘Jailbreak’.  But ‘Jailbreak’ is first on the track list.  So an even more accurate title would be:

Jailbreak, ’74

Just to be clear though, this EP wasn’t released in 1974.  It was released in 1984.  So I think a more accurate title would be:

Jailbreak, ’74, in ’84

Ah, but the cover photo is of Angus from no sooner than ’83.  I can tell because his Gibson SG with a vibrato bridge and a “zebra” pickup in the neck position.  This is a guitar he used almost exclusively during the Flick of The Switch tour.  See the following video (or just look at the thumbnail) and compare it with the the album cover:

'74 jailbreak

So really, the title should be:

Jailbreak, ’74, with a photo of Angus from no sooner than ’83, in ’84

OK, I’m taking the piss but I have to ask why does this bewildering EP exist?  Well, its premise is innocent enough.

With AC/DC’s Flick of The Switch released ’83, ’74 Jailbreak was designed to cover a gap before the band’s next album Fly On The Wall in ’85.  Ideally, what their label Atlantic should have done at this point is retire all international versions of AC/DC’s albums and made the Australian ones world-wide.  Maybe hold off on Dirty Deeds for a bit since its international release in North America just happened in ’81, but Aussie High Voltage and T.N.T would have been fair game.  And at least the mess would have begun to clean itself up 35 years ago.

But if we couldn’t have that, well… I suppose putting out some previously unreleased “rarities” isn’t the worst idea.  And it does makes sense to feature the song  Jailbreak.  Not only is it a solid rocker, it already had a video made in ’76 for Australian telly.  So, that would get them something for the MTV on the cheap.

But I can’t understand why they settled on an EP that only used 5 tracks:

  1. Jailbreak
  2. You Ain’t Got A Hold On Me
  3. Show Business
  4. Soul Stripper
  5. Baby, Please Don’t Go

…since they left 4 more still in Aussie limbo:

  1. Stick Around – Aussie High Voltage
  2. Love Song – Aussie High Voltage
  3. School Days – T.N.T.
  4. R.I.P. (Rock In Peace) – Aussie Dirty Deeds

Heck, add Cold Hearted Man, a track stuck in European limbo and we have a fairly solid album here.  By 1984 AC/DC were world-renowned so there was no excuse to hold back.

Anyway, I’ll eventually get reviewing the Aussie albums and I’ll go into more detail about the music then.  For now, I’ll just say the tunes picked for ’74 Jailbreak are a mixed bag of awesome and some forgivable “early band awkwardness”.  Jailbreak and the cover of Big Bill Broozy’s Baby, Please Don’t Go are solid tunes.  The others are the better ones from Aussie High Voltage that I dig as an AC/DC fan.  Your mileage, however, may very.

As an AC/DC EP: 2/5
As a collector of all things AC/DC: Why does this exist?
Compared to everything else: It’s got Jailbreak on it so… 3/5

14 comments

      1. I always had a fondness for that early rock and roll side, and while it’s not their best in that genre, it was short enough that it never weared out its welcome at home. I think I got it around summer 87. I definitely taped the music video in summer 87, because I have the tape.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Yeah as an ACDC collector in high school I refused to buy this one for the longest time due to its short run time, but Jailbreak the song has possibly my favourite groove of all. You can just sink your teeth into it!

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  2. I still remember when this was released. I never bought it and still don’t own and at this point probably never will! Hahaha..
    I always thought of it as the corporate cash grab. Now I like your full track listing and if that had been the case I would have been all over this album!
    Great detailed review down to the Front Cover! Its like I’m reading a post called Front Covers! hahaha
    Great stuff Kev..keep em coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol, Front Covers, eh? Hmmmm… mayber there is a new series there…

      Thanks, man. I don’t blame you for passing on it. This and Blow Up Your Video are the only two “albums” I’ve only purchased once. Both CD copies in the 90’s.

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        1. I’m with you on Twos Up. It’s one of the better tracks. But overall there is something off about that album. The first two tunes are good but better on the extended version of Live, IMHO…. Hey, I’m spoiling my review!

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  3. Thoroughly enjoyed this – I think all titles should be changed in any reissues.

    Anyhoo, I like the title track a bit and Baby, Please Don’t Go, but I could leave the others.

    Liked by 1 person

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