Rush: The (Partial) Series – Rush (1974)

Folks, I have to tell you: Mike, Our Brother Lebrain sent me this pile of Rush CDs in a Box Of Awesome, pretty much everything from 1974-1989, give or take a couple!! I KNOW! When they arrived, I fell over. As would anyone. So much greatness. I cannot thank him enough. And I am about to disappear into RushLand. Very very happily so.

Oh, and for the record (puns always intended), this was released in the year in which I was born.

So. RUSH. Let’s give ‘er!

Finding My Way is a classic. You know this song. And what a great track, by way of an introduction! It rocks, it’s bluesy, it has great energy. I love the bit at 3:40 or so. Just a great collection of elements.

Need Some Love is a short track, and comes right out of the gates with fast rock, simple chords and verve. The chorus rolls back a bit but that restless music underneath doesn’t relent. The instrumental bit at 1:30 kills. Yes! If you don’t play air guitar to this, something in you is busted.

Take A Friend is bluesy as hell, slinking along with menace. Lifeson shines, here. Those fills make the track, and then he takes off into the solo… yeah! It all sounds a bit southern rock, and a perfect snapshot of its era. Perfectly awesome.

Here Again is the obligatory slow song. Not that there’s anything obligatory with these guys, but it’s their first record so fair enough. Really bluesy late-night feel to it. It throbs. Real smooth. Love it.

What You’re Doing is another well-known classic. As I played this for (probably) the zillionth time (I’m more used to the live version on Chronicles), all I could do was rock the fuck out. Huge riff, great track. Pure rawk.

In The Mood is yet another bluesy rocker we all know well. The lyrics are a bit cheesy, but the tune is so burned into my brain. Cowbell! It’s a fun song, on the lighter side. Great guitar work again.

Before And After is exactly that. Before is a pretty instrumental, a sweet slow build. You could be forgiven for not even believing this part of the song was them. It all starts to get a bit heavier gradually, and then at 2:17 it takes off into a great, heavy chunky After part of the song. Yum!

And finally we have Working Man. What a massive track. MASSIVE. Even radio can’t kill this one with overplay. Always loved this one. It’s one of those songs. Check the guitar starting at 2:10, in fact the whole bit from there to 5:17. AWESOME. This was built for concerts.

Whew. Now, lots of people say they hear Led Zeppelin in all this, and that John Rutsey’s drumming is no match for Neil Peart’s, but whether the influence is there for real or not isn’t necessary information. As for Peart, well, I think Rutsey’s drumming here fits the songs perfectly. This was a completely solid band from the get-go. Hot damn.

In sum:    \m/  \m/

Thanks heaps, Mike!

15 thoughts on “Rush: The (Partial) Series – Rush (1974)

  1. Deke says:

    Oh yeah this is Rush the bar band banging out classics!
    Total rock guitar work out on some of these tracks.
    This is a great record I mean they basically go from In the Mood to the next record with By Tor!
    Gotta love it man……
    This is one album I tend to return to occasionally (and All The Worlds A Stage) when u just straight out rockin Rush!

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      You nailed it, Deke, that key thing I knew was missing from my thoughts on this record but that I couldn’t articulate – it’s like the best barroom rock ever. Yes! I love that sound, down and dirty and raw. And tight. So tight.

      Thanks!

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  2. Phillip Helbig says:

    More cowbell!

    I’ll have to listen to this again. I don’t have it on CD, but do on vinyl (I have all Rush on vinyl up through and including Power Windows. They lost me in the 80s, and I later bought some of the remastered CDs and all of the recent ones.

    It’s probably not bad, but not a hint at what was to come. For me, the height was A Farewell to Kings through Moving Pictures. Best song? Probably “Xanadu”. Wonderful cowbells! Did any other progressive band use cowbells? And the temple blocks. Tubular bells! Glockenspiel. Minimoog. Double-neck guitar. It’s more than 10 minutes long, and the vocals come in about half way through. The best snare-drum break ever. The best two-note guitar break ever. One of the best sounding albums ever.

    I’ll listen to Rush again. Maybe it’s fun for driving down the Autobahn, but the pinnacle was yet to come.

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      Thanks for chiming in Phillip! I really appreciate all of your comments. You’re right, TONS of awesomeness to come (this partial series will get to some of it)! Xanadu is an absolute killer, you’re right!

      I don’t know for sure if other prog bands used cowbells, but my thought is – probably all of them did, at some point! 😉

      I’m envying you, getting to blast along the autobahn with Rush cranked. Life can be so good.

      And if I’ve inspired you and HMO to revisit this album, my work here is DONE! Turn it up.

      Like

      1. Phillip Helbig says:

        I can be glimpsed briefly in the Rush30 DVD, which was recorded (I don’t like saying “filmed” if no film is involved) in Frankfurt am Main. This was before my chemotherapy, so my hair was longer than Geddy Lee’s in the 1970s! (The concert was just a couple of days before I went into hospital for a couple of months for cancer treatment, which had the side effect of thinning my hair, causing me to wear it short now (ironically, I cut it short just before I became an Iron Maiden fan; I try to invoke my inner Bruce when listening to Maiden, but even his short ‘do is thicker than mine, sadly). I was extremely ill at the time, but decided to go to the concert nevertheless. I got their early enough so that I could be at the very front, which allowed me to hang on to the rails; otherwise, I probably would have collapsed.) The Rush30 DVD is thus probably the last image of my former awesome hair!

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      2. Phillip Helbig says:

        “Wow, sorry to hear about your illness”

        That was 10 years ago (so I guess we have Rush40 now). After the first treatment, it came back a few years later, but the second treatment seems to have eradicated it—the second one is more than 5 years ago, so I’m officially cured now!

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      3. keepsmealive says:

        Very cool that you’re in the Rush30 DVD! You’re a part of history! 😉

        And I’m definitely glad you’re clear and healthy. Good on you, man. As I’ve heard others say, “FUCK CANCER!!”

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      Yep, I’m headed to RushLand and I won’t be back for a while.

      I would whole-heartedly recommend another listen to this one. It works, as an album, and the songs are strong. Full volume recommended – though I’m sure I don’t need to tell our HMO that!

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  3. mikeladano says:

    NICE SERIES!! Now I’m pumped. Will you try to review the albums I didn’t send you, eg: Hold Your Fire?

    I agree with this review. To compare Rutsey to Peart is missing the point. They didn’t know Peart existed when this was written and recorded. Rutsey was an integral part of the band, even speaking on stage etc. His drumming does fit the songs.

    And I think this is an underrated album, period.

    Sausagefest XI (I think) was the year Rutsey died, and we played the ENTIRE album as part of the countdown, in tribute.

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      Yes! I am so excited abou this series. I do love me some Rush.

      Underrated is an interesting thought I hadn’t considered. Who could underrate this? 😉

      Nice tribute, the countdown.

      I won’t review what isn’t here (I think Moving Pictures is another one I still need). I’ll review what’s here and, never fear, the ones I don’t have are on the Search List. 😉

      Like

      1. mikeladano says:

        Fair enough!

        For the record, I kept my Moving Pictures because I have the CD/blu ray edition with 5.1 surround sound mix. I kept Hold Your Fire because the new version is a slightly different mix (on some songs).

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