Ride On, Bon!

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Based in Luxemburg, bootleg specialists Kickass Records surfaced at the start of the CD-burning craze of the late '90s and specialized in AC/DC rarities. Released in March 1998 via the label's nondescript website, Ride On, Bon! was a two-disc set mixing rare studio and live performances, and featured a picture of singer Bon Scott reclining in a tour bus seat on its cover. Disc one kicks off with a 46-minute, December 6, 1976, live set from the Leigh Theatre in Edinburgh. At the time, AC/DC was, of course, a brand new commodity outside their native Australia, and the bulk of this set centers around their first album, High Voltage. The sound is good, not great, and the entire show is cut into one track on the disc, making a contiguous listen uncomfortably mandatory on standard CD players, but standouts include bagpipes-and-all version of "It's a Long Way to the Top" and an almost ten-minute blowout through "Baby Please Don't Go." Assorted live cuts follow, but the real treasure here is the long lost Dirty Deeds outtake, "Carry Me Home," which closes the disc -- pure gold! Disc two opens with another complete concert (also on one track, very good sound, 64 minutes all told), in this case, the by-now legendary March 9, 1977, Old Waldorf concert. Recorded during AC/DC's first major tour of America, this show captured the band at their electrifying best, fusing their typical late-'70s set (regular opener "Live Wire," "The Jack," "Whole Lotta Rosie," "Problem Child," etc.) with early versions of "Up to My Neck in You" and "Kicked in the Teeth." Both, but especially the second, feature noticeably different arrangements from the final studio versions heard on the following year's Powerage LP and will thrill collectors. And closing the disc are two additional rare studio tracks: 1976's lackluster instrumental "Fling Thing," and an incomplete, probably drunken jam session between Bon Scott and French rockers Trust, tackling AC/DC's bluesy ballad "Ride On" (more interesting than particularly good) -- billed here as Scott's last ever recording.

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