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.