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Marcus Hook Roll Band "Tales of Old Grand-Daddy" Album Review

The re-release of Malcolm and Angus Young’s first album, pre-AC/DC, circa 1973.


Marcus Hook Roll Band
Tales of Old Grand-Daddy

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.

Must-hear track: “Louisiana Lady”