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AC/DC Album By Album Book

By Shelly Harris, Chicago Contributor
Tuesday, January 2, 2018 @ 1:52 PM


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AC/DC Album By Album
By Martin Popoff
Copyright: 2017 Quarto Publishing Group USA, Inc.




Prolific rock and metal journalist and author Martin Popoff calls AC/DC Album By Album - the second in his "cool, drunken kitchen party" Album by Album series - an "action packed love letter to Australia's greatest export."

Certainly Popoff is correct that AC/DC are Australia's greatest rock 'n roll export, and he is not far off from the feel of the content of the book: the transcribed discussions he orchestrates with every album, each with a different set of commentators, does read like a spontaneous, late night after-party with musical buddies who pontificate or philosophize on their deep and enthusiastic knowledge of the subject matter (although a cool, drunken man-cave party might be a more apt description, since not one of the 17 "panelists" is a woman.)

In general, the book does go into great detail that only a true connoisseur of AC/DC would likely be interested in reading all the way through, but then there are literally millions who vociferously follow and love the band that much.

After the introduction, the book follows with 16 chapters: one each for all of the AC/DC studio albums from High Voltage through Rock Or Bust. Each chapter features an introductory sidebar with all the pertinent information such as the side and song listings, the length of each song, the composer of each song, the personnel actually playing on each recording, where the albums were recorded, the producers, and date of release.

With each chapter/album, Popoff also incorporates introductory, state-of-the-band history and back-story prose updates before launching into conversations with each of the panelists assigned to analyze the vibe, contemporaneous mindset, and technical/artistic aspects of each album. (Popoff notes that the taped discussions included an abundance of "talk and shout and laugh," and that he was forced to heavily edit much of it out.) Nevertheless, the book still fills up 256 pages, including the aforementioned introduction and album chapters, along with the following sections in the back: About the Author, Image Credits, About the Panelists, Complete Author Bibliography, and the extensive Index.

While the primary focus is on the commentary of the very diverse panelists - ranging from some very close, or even in the band at the time of each album (such as former drummers Phil Rudd and Simon Wright), or involved in the production (Mike Fraser), or high-profile musician fans of AC/DC (Dave Ellefson, Jay Jay French, and Joel O'Keefe), or various others involved in rock media in some way - the book's visuals, including loads of photos of the band and memorabilia, may be of equal or greater interest than the text.

In the end, although AC/DC Album By Album is physically on the small side (slightly less than 10 x 8 inches), making the corresponding typeface a little hard to read on certain pages, the abundance of high-quality glossy visuals, along with the insightful text, makes it serve well both for those more interested in actually reading it, or for those more interested in just looking at it. Either way, it is an entertaining book to have ready at hand on a coffee table or night stand.

4.0 Out Of 5.0


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