Rush: The (Partial) Series – ABC 1974

Let’s talk about the brilliance of this blogging community. We all read each other’s blogs, and comment, and much fun is had. I love it.

My (partial) Rush series was a real education, and a complete introduction to a band I thought I knew, but clearly did not. Most of those CDs I reviewed came to me via the generosity of Lebrain our most knowledgeable brother in rawk. True, I knew Mike way back in the mid-90s, when I used to visit his store. But we stayed in touch, and when I got back to Ontario, and he started up a blog too, the rest is history. If you’ve been following along in these pages in my Gratitude series, and on the blog in general, you’ll know Mike is a constant figure. That he sent all this Rush was beyond thrilling. It was… boggling.

And I’d thought my (partial) Rush series was done, for now (as reported yesterday). At least, until I buy the later albums, of course. But then, our Heavy Metal Overlord (with impeccable timing, truly) dropped another Rush goody on my doorstep yesterday. It all began with my requesting he order a book from the UK Amazon for me, since it is only available on Kindle here in Canada and I could not find it elsewhere. Later, I whinged about how my town would never get something like the ABC 1974 CD, and it was $30 on Amazon… well, Scott has a shop in his lovely city that had it for £5 and, being the brilliant dude he is, it arrived (unasked for but completely welcomed) on my doorstep yesterday, along with the book! Many thanks are due to our HMO. I am thrilled to have this one, too!

So not only do we read each other’s posts, sometimes we share things. Our Moms would be so proud.

So, despite this being a 2011 release, I am counting this among my early-years Rush reviews, as it was recorded in 1974/75. Neil Peart had just joined the band two weeks prior to the tour, and they were on friggin’ fire!

A note on the sound: for a bootleg of a radio broadcast, from 40 years ago, the sound is excellent. I did find it jumped from left to right speakers (and back again) occasionally. Someone may have been leaning on the switch, during recording? Who knows. It’s a minor note, but it’s occasionally there.

Now, according to the liner notes (and the cover itself), this was Rush’s first American radio broadcast. It contains 2 early versions of tracks from Fly By Night (before FBN was released – The Best I Can, and In The End), one cover tune and, mostly incredibly, two tracks previously unheard in their entirety anywhere!

Ready? I know I am! Let’s give ‘er!

From 1974-08-26*:

All of these excellent versions have GREAT energy, and Geddy’s vocals are at full wail. This is a very young Rush, and they’re not holding back AT ALL. This is one tight unit of superlative musicians! It was a total pleasure to hear. As for the tracks I mentioned (above):

Fancy Dancer is bluesy and a great rock stomper, to boot. The instrumental section in the middle of it is crazy-good. I loved this track!

The cover tune is of Larry Williamson’s Bad Boy, from the 50s, and it’s funky as hell. “Now Junior, BEHAVE YOURSELF!” Haha YEAH! And then, at 3:30 the track achieves friggin’ lift-off. Alex Lifeson’s guitar at the end is mind-blowing.

They really should have welded Working Man and Drum Solo together as one track, Drum Solo coming, as it does, at the hanging end of Working Man, acting as a track closer. Anyway, it’s 2:54 of Peart going NUTS on the drums before the band crash-closes it all out.

Garden Road should’ve been on the record (hell, Fancy Dancer should’ve too). It’s a great, bluesy rocker as good as anything else on the album.

Also, only the very best rawk live albums have “Hello, Cleveland” on them. 😉

Track Listing:

01 Finding My Way
02 The Best I Can
03 Need Some Love
04 In The End
05 Fancy Dancer
06 In The Mood
07 Bad Boy
08 Here Again
09 Working Man
10 Drum Solo
11 What You’re Doing
12 Garden Road

Whew! Now THAT was a concert! Completely, utterly fantastic. I’m fairly well-known for loving a band’s early years, when they are still full of piss and vinegar, when they’re still seeking to establish their sound and are hungry for a career. This concert is Rush right around that time – it’s bloody brilliant. But oh, that’s not all…

From 1975, we get these bonus tracks:

The sound here is of a lesser quality, but honestly, who cares?

13 Anthem
14 Beneath, Between & Behind
15 Fly By Night

In Sum: This is one amazing CD. I’ve heard three other live Rush albums, during my (partial) series, and they’re all great. But this one… this one may be my favourite, right now. It’s raw, it’s tight, and it totally fucking rocks.

My huge thanks to our HMO for getting this hot, hot, HOT CD into my hands!!


* I was exactly 1 month and 3 days old when this was recorded.

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

    1. Craig says:

      Its very raw, but very cool. It shows a side that wasn’t clear on the Rush album proper.

      I still don’t know how Garden Road and Fancy Dancer didn’t make the cut over tracks such as Take a Friend or Need Some Love.

      Wonders of the world, they have wrought….


      1. keepsmealive says:

        EMAIL NOTE: Also, to all who may be trying to reach me – I seem to be able to receive email, but not send it. I have no idea why a change has occurred, I’ve not touched any settings. Anyway. If you’ve tried to email me and I haven’t responded, this issue would be the reason. I’ll get it working again ASAP.


    1. Craig says:

      From what I can gather it’s a legal bootleg, I assume Rush is receiving some royalties from the recording, but they don’t seem to officially sanction this release.
      It’s really good though.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      My many huge thanks to you! This is awesome! I like the rough and ready sound.

      That is high [raise, but not meant AT ALL to diminish the glory of those three live records I heard. And I haven’t heard any other live records after ASOH, so I’m certainly no expert. But this one rocks. I’m playing it again right now.


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