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22 Sep 2016

Marcus Hook Roll Band ‎“Tales Of Old Grand-Daddy” 1973 Australia {Angus Young, Malcolm Young] from AC/DC











Marcus Hook Roll Band ‎ “Tales Of Old Grand-Daddy” 1973 Australia  {Angus Young, Malcolm Young] from AC/DC 
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It’s hard to imagine Angus and Malcolm Young pre-AC/DC. I always assumed that AC/DC sprang fully formed from Beelzebub’s head while blasting Highway to Hell. Turns out, the young Young brothers’ first foray into professional music was the Marcus Hook Roll Band, featuring their brothers George Young on vocals and Alex Young on sax. In 1973 (Malcolm at the tender age of 17, Angus at 20), the brothers Young released their first album ever—Tales of Old Grand-Daddy, which immediately sank like a stone into the ocean of obscurity. But like a starlet sex tape, given enough time and fame, this hidden gem is now available for the masses. The album was made in Australia after George Young met guitarist Harry Vanda at a hostel and the musicians spent the summer boozing it up on Old Grand-Dad bourbon. (Except Angus, who was too young and reportedly drank milk.) 

Admittedly, it’s odd hearing Angus and Malcolm mixed with sax, boogie-woogie beats, and straight I-IV-V chord changes, but it works beautifully. Perhaps Malcolm became the melodic player we all love rather then a dweedlely dweedle player (like so many of his peers who’ve come and gone) because he cut his teeth working with a horn that blew melodious lines. Even the ragged tone of Angus’ SG sounds a bit like the snarl of a classic soul sax. Malcolm’s driving rhythm propels the tracks forward, a premonition to his important contribution to one of the greatest rock bands of all time…… 

A midpoint for the collaboration of Harry Vanda and George Young and the missing early chapter in AC/DC’s career, the Marcus Hook Roll Band was an Australian studio creation of the early ‘70s. Despite the heavy connection to AC/DC – it features Malcolm and Angus Young on guitars while some of the songs contain musical elements that would later resurface on AC/DC albums – it sounds very little like that sleazy heavy rock band and, despite boasting a song called “Goodbye Jane,” it doesn’t even sound as nasty as the big-booted Slade. Instead, this is very much in the vein of the Sweet, tempered with a little bit of the garage rock of the Easybeats and a lot of slicked-up, radio-ready studio sheen. Tales of Old Grand-Daddy shows bits of album rock indulgence – “Silver Shoes” marches like the second side of Abbey Road – but it’s best when it’s all about trashy riffs, big beats, and singalong vocals. Strictly speaking, it’s not glam – compared to all the glitter emanating from the U.K., it’s not as sexy or cheap; it’s polished and assured – but it’s a kindred spirit and a whole lot of fun….by allmusic ……. 

Marcus Hook Roll Band wasn’t a long-lived band, nor did they get much attention when they were active between the years of 1972 and 1974. Nevertheless, the studio-based group occupies an important place in Australian rock & roll history because this creation of famed producers Harry Vanda and George Young also featured George’s brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who would go on to form AC/DC after the dissolution of Marcus Hook Roll Band. Musically, MHRB didn’t sound much like AC/DC at all. There were echoes of the Easybeats, Vanda/Young’s big '60s success, but they were closer to the fizzy bubblegum of the Sweet, only with heavier guitars. That was all evident on their lone album, Tales of Old Grand Daddy, which appeared in Australia in 1973 and was succeeded by several singles. None of the recordings were a hit and soon the project came to an end, with Vanda/Young pursuing a very successful production career highlighted by the early AC/DC records. Tales of Old Grand Daddy got its first wide international release in an expanded edition in 2014 via a CD that also contained the non-LP singles. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine 

The Marcus Hook Rock and Roll Band, an obscure but significant persona of the legendary partnership of Harry Vanda & George Young (The Easybeats/Flash and the Pan) only ever existed in the studio, releasing three singles and their album Tales of Old Grand-Daddy in the early ’70s. These rare songs, composed and performed by Vanda and Young, fetch great amounts on internet auctions, not only for the musical brilliance, but band members include 4 members of the Young family; brothers George, Angus, Malcolm and Alex. 

Following The Easybeats split in 1969, Harry and George remained in London where they released a string of very good singles under a number of odd pseudonyms: Eddie Avana, Moondance, Paintbox, Tramp, Grapefruit, and Haffey’s Whiskey Sour. In 1972 Alan ‘Wally’ Waller (aka Wally Allen) who was working as a house producer for EMI Records heard a Harry and George demo and brought them into Abbey Road studios to record.Even though the the song ‘Natural Man’ was not a great seller it caught the attention of the right people. A second single, ‘Louisiana Lady’, was recorded in November. When considering what to call the project they somehow settled on Marcus Hook Roll Band. 

Tales of Old Grand-Daddy was not made until the following year, and on the other side of the globe. Vanda and Young had returned to Australia after accepting an offer from Ted Albert, record producer and founder of Albert Productions that had launched The Easybeats, to return to Australia to kick start the solo career of their Easybeats band-mate Stevie Wright. The plan was to build a new studio in Sydney but a frantic call came from Waller announcing that Capitol Records in the USA was interested in the single ‘Natural Man’ plus an album. 

Harry and George had just resettled in Sydney and had no intention of returning to London. So Waller made the trip to Australia, and was delighted to find engineer Richard Lush working at EMI’s Castlereagh Street studios. A fun time ensued in studio A over July/August 1973. A key ingredient was the duty free booze supplied by Waller—Jim Beam Old Grand-dad bourbon whiskey — hence the album name. 

It was decided not to use any of the London tracks but to start again with a new batch of songs and a new line-up. 

In a rare interview for Bomp magazine in 1978, George Young explained the philosophy behind the Marcus Hook Rock and Roll Band, “We thought it was hilarious, it had just been a joke to us… We had Harry, myself and my kid brothers, Malcolm and Angus. We all got rotten, except for Angus, who was too young, and we spent a month in there boozing it up every night. That was the first thing Malcolm and Angus did before AC/DC. We didn’t take it very seriously so we thought we’d include them to give them an idea of what recording was all about.” 

Richard Lush recently told me, “The sessions were great fun, fuelled with plenty of Old Grand-Dad bourbon. Angus Young drank milk. Angus and his brother Malcolm played guitars as well as Harry.” 
Vocal: Harry Vanda, George Young 
Backing vocals: Harry Vanda, George Young, Wally Waller 
Guitar: Harry Vanda, George Young, Malcolm Young, Angus Young 
Bass Guitar: George Young, Ian Campbell, Wally Waller 
Piano: George Young, Wally Waller 
Drums: John Proud, Freddie Smith 
Saxophone: Alex Young, Howie Casey 

Tracklisting: 

Can’t Stand The Heat 
Goodbye Jane 
Quick Reaction 
Silver Shoes & Strawberry Wine 
Watch Her Do it Now 
People and the Power 
Red Revolution 
Shot in the Head 
Ape Man 

Cry For Me 
One Of These Days 
Natural Man 
Louisiana Lady 
Ride Baby Ride 

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