Rush (1974)


1.Finding My Way
2.Need Some Love
3.Take A Friend
4.Here Again
5.What You're Doing
6.In the Mood
7.Before and After
8.Working Man

 

Rush's very first album, released when some of the guys were barely out of their teens, is undoubtedly the hardest thing that they've ever released. Not the best, just the hardest. This was the only album that featured original drummer John Rutsey. Along with mainstays Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, the trio proved that they could generate some powerful, formidable riffs that quickly made them synonymous with the likes of bands like Creem and Led Zeppelin.

When an advanced copy of this album arrived at a station in neighboring Cleveland (the band themselves are Canadian – as if you didn't know), the disc jockey picked the longest track, Working Man, to play since long songs are good "bathroom breaks". The phone boards soon lit up. People were wanting to know how they could get their hands on what they thought was the "new Led Zeppelin" record. Fortunately, Working Man is the best cut on the record, but there are several other fine pieces as well. The opener Finding My Way is pretty incredible – Alex plays a mean, if ordinary screaming guitar intro. They also choose one of the best tracks What You're Doing to lead off side two of the record. The remainder of the cuts aren't as forceful as these, but the majority sound well enough to justify their place on the record.

There are several instances where the band's youth and inexperience creeps in, but when you take into consideration that the guys probably weren't even shaving every day yet, it should be quick to forgive. Example: The opening riff to Finding My Way starts off audible only in the left channel. It then slowly fades into both speakers – then keeps going to where you can only hear it in the right channel. Seems a bit silly, but they were obviously having fun and "experimenting" with the knobs and buttons in the record studio.

Because of illness, Rutsey was forced to leave the band before they even began a tour to support this record, and Neil Peart was quickly recruited to hammer away at the drum stool. Although Peart would soon evolve as one of the best drummers in the business, he would also become the band's premier lyric writer. His lyrics would be mighty heavy, which would force Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson to write some significantly more complex arrangements. Since this type of music writing would essentially become part of the band's signature sound (that most would love, but some would hate), it's important to note that none of that complexity is here on this record without Neil Peart. This is just straight forward, hard rock and roll. Maybe that's why there are some naysayers that say this was the band's best album?

Spinal Tap Moment: This record comes with a disclaimer on the back cover that says something like "This record sounds best when played loud". Ironically, it's true. It's very very true.

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