This album should be taken for what it is, a debut of a group still in development. Many of the songs have a “live” feel, like Rush had been playing them on their bar circuit before hitting the studio, and that gives this album a fresh exuberance and less clinical feel.While Neal Peart may be missing, and the lyrics clearly demonstrate this, John Rutsey was a capable drummer. Check out his work on “What You’re Doing” and “Working Man”. Of course, you can then compare it to the live tracks on “All the World’s a Stage.” But, this is a rock album, not a progressive concept album, although there are some cool jams. This album was a good showcase for Alex Lifeson’s guitar chops, prior to Geddy Lee developing a more melodic approach on his bass.We kick off with “Finding My Way”, an excellent lead track with a cool guitar riff and some nice dynamics. Two other standouts are “What You’re Doing” with its rhythmic puzzles and “In the Mood” with it’s line “won’t you come and talk with me, I’ll tell you all my lies”. These are two of the first songs I learned when I picked up a bass guitar so many years ago. The best cut is “Working Man”, a tune built around a good guitar riff and some great jamming that provides a view of things to come from this band.The other songs are decent from an instrumental standpoint but not as memorable as the top four, although “Here Again” might be a sleeper.
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Rush – First formed of Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, and John Rutsey – put out this album which most Led Zeppelin fans thought of as Led Zeppelin’s newest album at the time. Many of the hard-core Rush fans today, like myself, see this album as an apparent lack of something. Something’s missing from this album. And what would that be? Neil Peart. He had not yet arrived to the band, but would during the same year as this album was released. The obvious absence of Neil Peart leaves us with “Ooh” and “Baby” lyrics that both Alex and Geddy composed at the time – some in only five minutes. While Alex and Geddy show their skill, John Rutsey is the odd man out. He’s no Neil Peart, that’s for sure, but he’ll remain in the band until Mr. Peart arrives. At this time, a general description of the band is that they were kids, having fun and with no certain forward direction of progress.
The hard-rockin’ debut album opens up with Finding My Way, an anthem that is great to listen to. Alex is on the guitar, and he would rival Jimmy Page. The music flows smoothly throughout this whole song, and it’s a great way to kick off a one-time-only album.
Need Some Love is next on the playlist. Played often during their first tour, but has been forgotten over time. It is the shortest track on the album, and is just as good as Finding My Way.
The third track in this Zeppelin-esque album is Take A Friend, which is among the very few Rush songs to have never been played live. This is full of guitar, and is an awesome song to listen to. You’ll get this stuck in your head for hours – maybe even days. Just remember, “Take yourself a friend, keep ‘em ’till the end…”
This is where side one of the album comes to a close, with perhaps the deepest song on the entire album. Here Again is one of two extended tracks (the other being Working Man) that would pave the way for future epics such as By-Tor & The Snow Dog, The Necromancer, The Fountain Of Lamneth, and so on. This seven-minute plus ballad is surprisingly excellent. Played often in the band’s early touring days, and was a crowd favorite.
Side two of the album kicks off with a furious hard-rocker, titled What You’re Doing. This song became a popular live show closer well into the late 80’s of the band’s touring years. The lyrics are fun to sing and listen to, and is a simple song which is just great to hum.
In The Mood is another live show closer for the Power Trio, often played in a medley form. Accompanied by Fly By Night on the All The World’s A Stage album, this song was one of the band’s earliest written, going back two to three years before the debut album was released. Like What You’re Doing, this song stuck in the setlist well into the 80’s tours and the lyrics are composed entirely by Geddy Lee.
Before And After is very Led Zeppelin-like, and is another song that has never been played live. It is almost like a cut-down version of Here Again, but just as good. The track kicks off with an acoustic intro, then plunges into hard-rockin’.
And finally, the album closes with what quite possibly could be the best song on the entire album, Working Man. This song appealed to the midwest of the United States, and with good reason. This is a serious hard-rocker, and it’s not hard to imagine Jimmy Page at the guitar of this one. The middle of the track contains a kick-ass solo, which displays Alex’s best guitar work. Good luck trying to play this song by yourself!
This album is an excellent way to begin a long career in the music industry. This is what built their fan base that stuck with them through more of their early albums. John Rutsey would leave the band before touring began, due to diabetes and the sheer workload of the extensive touring schedule. However, this would prove to be a blessing in disguise as the world’s most talented drummer would grace the presence of Alex and Geddy – which we shall see on the next album to come – Fly By Night.
I`m a BIG Rush fan. Alex, Geddy and first John Rutsy have started one of the many sestions of their career. What better way to start it then “Finding My Way”. EXELLENT DRUMWORK only to be picked up, and a little bit MORE added by Neil Peart. “What You`re Doing” is, and shall always be, a LEGEND in the Rush archives. “Before And After” starts out real slow, and picks up. “Working Man” STILL gets played on the radio!
While they were just getting their foot in the door with their 1973 self-titled debut album (1974 in the U.S.), Rush showed glimpses of what they could (and would!) evolve into on successive releases. Starting out as a blues-driven hard-rock act, Rush combined fantastic musicianship, integrity, and a love of music that set them apart from most bands. Combining the styles of bands like The Who, the Yardbirds, and Led Zeppelin, the resultant fusion was a great framework for the genre-defying progressive rock that Rush would create throughout the 1970s.
Rush is a fantastic release, though by no means their most solid work. Most of Geddy Lee’s lyrics on this album are a bit generic, and look almost comical when one views the lyrics that future drummer Neil Peart wrote on most of their songs once he joined the band before the Fly By Night album was released in early 1975.
1. Finding My Way – A solid and rocking opener to kick off the album, this track starts off with a bluesy riff, which increases in volume as the measures repeat. The intro lyrics sound quite a bit like something Robert Plant would belt out on a Led Zeppelin song, but I forgive Rush for this being their first album. Bands start off by playing what they know and love, and the bands that inspire them oftentimes find their way (no pun intended) into the early works of a new band. The solo is solid and the post-solo riff is tight. All in all, this is a great intro track and the recording sounds fantastic to this day: 11 out of 13 (84.6%).
2. Need Some Love – A short track with a fast tempo and cheesy lyrics. I dig the vibe of this song, even if the lyrics are sub-par. The drumline following the second chorus is simplistic but solid, and John Rutsey was not a bad drummer by any means. The guitar solo is short and sweet. This song: 10 out of 13 (76.9%).
3. Take A Friend – This track fades in slowly with a driving drum beat and a sweet guitar lick which repeats for many measures before the rhythm guitar kicks in to begin the first verse. The chorus showcases the seed of vocal harmony that would become an intregal part of Geddy Lee’s fantastic vocals in future releases. Yet another guitar solo graces this song, and it fits in nicely with the rest of the song. That’s one thing about Rush is that the individual parts don’t sound out of place, whether it’s a flashy drum, bass, or guitar solo. Rating: 11.5 out of 13 (88.5%).
4. Here Again – The longest track on the album, clocking in at seven and a half minutes, Here Again closed out the first side of the original vinyl album. A slow-tempo song with a groovy rhythm guitar line which graces a large portion of the track time. Geddy’s vocals sound more mature on this track, though it is spotty. You can tell that Geddy’s voice wasn’t fully mature, and may have still been changing from his teenage years. This song makes you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy some good rock music. The guitar solo near the five minute mark stretched out for a solid minute and a half, and is smooth as silk. It has a nice echo added, and doesn’t sound out of place at all. The second solo near the end of the song is great, and closes out the track perfectly. This song gets: 10.5 out of 13 (80.8%).
5. What You’re Doing – A neat little ditty with a cool guitar riff. John Rutsey’s drumming is solid in this track, and Geddy’s wisecracking lyrics aimed at naysayers are bang-on. The guitar solo is top-notch and Rutsey’s snare roll is solid as can be. The closing is a bit much with a few false endings, but the mini guitar solo makes up for it. Survey says: 11 ouf of 13 (84.6%).
6. In The Mood – This track is one of my favorite Rush tunes, and boasts a good intro guitar riff, which carries the rhythm of the tune during the verses. Lyrics are generic, but Geddy’s vocals are good. Drums keep up the beat, as usual, but nothing too flashy from Rutsey. Alex Lifeson belts out a shredding solo which is a fine tribute to blues form. This song gets: 12 out of 13 (92.3%).
7. Before And After – A peek into what Rush would evolve into in later albums, Before And After is a solid track which begins with a somber guitar riff and a slow tempo. Lots of harmonics and clean chords. Distortion kicks in at about a minute, and once the verse kicks in, the song shifts tempo up a bit. Geddy’s vocals are varied, and the simple chorus (Yeah…Yeeeeaah) is quite effective. Alex unfolds another fantastic solo in this song which sounds perfectly in place with the rest of the song. I give it: 9.5 out of 13 (73.1%).
8. Working Man – A classic Rush tune, which gets a lot of air play on classic rock stations to this day. The big hit song off this album, which is surprising since it clocks in at seven minutes. A good and heavy guitar riff opens the song and carries the verses. A groovy little breakdown cuts the song in half, and the closing guitar riff/solo are fantastic. The boastful conclusion bids you good tidings until the next release. All in all: 11 out of 13 (84.6%).
Overall, this is a great classic rock album, and a good addition to your collection whether you’re a casual or serious Rush fan. A more digestible form of Rush for the casual listener, and a glimpse into the roots of the prog-rock juggernauts they would become for the more serious music fan in the Rush spectrum. Overall rating of ‘Rush’: 10.8 out of 13 (83.1%).
I won’t pretend that this recording can come close to the majesty of Moving Pictures or the groundbreaking progressive metal of 2112, but I have a soft spot in my heart for this album. It was my introduction to all things Rush. I ordered it “cold” from Columbia House after reading a brief description (no sound bytes back in those days.) After turning- on some friends, before you know it, there was a Rush explosion in my high school! Sure there was no heroic, inimitable drumming per Neal Peart, but the compositions were some of the tightest pure rock songs I had ever heard (naturally Led Zeppelin came to mind.) I loved the ringing open chords and imaginative solos used by Alex Lifeson, that added a different dimension from the ordinary power chords so commonly used at this time (I quickly adopted this style of playing.) I personally think Alex was the most creative soloist since Jimmy Page, not relying solely on blues scales. This is a great rock album. It is raw and powerful,and contains NO weak moments, but don’t expect the grandeur of their later epic releases. Still one of my favorites!