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  • THE BAND: Geddy Lee (vocals, bass, synth), Alex Lifeson (guitars), Neil Peart (drums & percussion).

    THE DISCS: (2006) 29 tracks on 2 discs clocking in at approximately 154 minutes (78 minutes on disc-1, 76 minutes on disc-2). Included with the disc is a 6-page foldout containing song titles/credits, album cover artwork of each of the 12 albums represented here, one band photo, and what songs came from which albums. This compilation follows the band from 1974-87. Digitally remastered sound. Label – Mercury / Island Def Jam.

    ALBUM REPRESENTATION: Rush (2 songs), Fly By Night (3), Caress Of Steel (1), 2112 (2), A Farewell To Kings (2), Hemispheres (2), Permanent Waves (2), Moving Pictures (3), Signals (3), Grace Under Pressure (3), Power Windows (3), Hold Your Fire (3).

    COMMENTS: There are several Rush compilations out there – “Chronicles”, “Retrospective I”, Retrospective II”, “The Spirit Of The Radio: Greatest Hits 1974-87″ and this “Gold”. I choose Rush’s 2-disc “Gold” compilation over any of the others to date… due to track selection and superior sound quality. Disc-1 concentrates on the years 1974-80; disc-2 on the years 1981-87. THE GOOD: All the staples are here – “Working Man”, “Fly By Night”, “The Trees”, “Closer To The Heart”, “2112 Overture”, By-Tor & The Snow Dog”, Freewill”, “The Spirit Of The Radio”, “Red Barchetta”, “Limelight”, Tom Sawyer”, “Subdivisions”, “New World Man”, “Distant Early Warning”, “The Big Money”, Time Stands Still”, etc. An added bonus – surprisingly, all 11 minutes of “Xanadu” are in tact. Remastered and reworked sound is as good or better than the “Remastered” Rush individual releases from 1997. The early songs (specifically the songs from “Rush”, “Fly By Night” and “Caress Of Steel”) sound amazing given the fact that these were recorded 30+ years ago. Geddy Lee’s bass guitar practically jumps in your lap on “Working Man”. Liner notes are minimal, but sufficient I suppose. THE NOT SO GOOD: Even though I’ve been a Rush fan since the mid 70’s, a few notes about the band and more photos would have been a plus. Chronological order would have benefited this mix – so you could hear the band change/mature through the years. No live tracks from ANY of their live albums (“All The World’s A Stage”, “Exit… Stage Left”, “A Show Of Hands”, “Different Stages”, “Rush In Rio”). What compilation isn’t missing a few key songs – classic Rush tracks that did not make the cut – “Lakeside Park”, “Passage To Bangkok”, “Circumstances”, “Jacob’s Ladder”, “YYZ”, and “Digital Man” to name a few. For me, all the songs on disc-1 are deserving, however there are 3 questionable tracks on disc-2 that raised an eyebrow – “”Mystic Rhythms”, “Marathon” and “Mission”. 3 songs each from “Power Windows” and “Hold Your Fire” seems excessive (especially when compared to classics “2112″, A”Farewell To Kings” and “Permanent Waves” only having 2 songs from each). And, this is a Mercury release, so anything from “Roll The Bones” (1991) and after is not here due to the band moving to the Atlantic Records label. So there are some other outstanding tracks that need to be here, but can’t due to contract limitations – “Show Don’t Tell” & “The Pass” (both from “Presto”), “Dreamline” & “Ghost Of A Chance” (from “Roll The Bones”), “Animate” & “Stick It Out” (from “Counterparts), “Time And Motion” & the title track (from “Test For Echo”), “One Little Victory” & “Earthshine” (from “Vapor Trails”), and anything from “Snakes & Arrows” (released after the fact). OVERALL: A great collection of songs. Superior sound quality. Great to have so many classic Rush tunes all in one place. Perhaps the listeners will be treated to a 3-disc set sometime down the road (similar to Genesis’ 3-disc “Platinum Collection” from Rhino) that will be all-inclusive. “Gold” is a wonderful starting point for anyone not familiar with the first half of Rush’s now classic career (5 stars).

    Posted on February 11, 2010