Category: Rush

Rush – 2112

ARTIST: Rush                                                           220px-Rush_2112

TITLE:  2112

YEAR RELEASED: 1976

CHART ACTION: #61

SINGLES: The Twilight Zone, A Passage to Bangkok, The Temples of Syrnix (part of 2112)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: 2112 (of course), Something for Nothing

LINEUP: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neal Peart. Hugh Syme plays keyboards on the opening of 2112 and on another track.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Rush goes for it, and creates a side-long suite that locks in their fan base, and adds new converts. The second side is spotty.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: When older Rush fans think of Rush, they probably think of “2112”, the epic suite that sounds just as great live as on record (even if Geddy Lee can’t reach the high notes anymore). While that side-long epic has some down parts (especially some slow guitar wanderings), most of it is a great example of prog-rock done right.

Side two? Well, it starts off with the fantastic “Passage to Bangkok”, and a couple of other tracks are decent. The middle tracks, the songs Neal Peart didn’t write lyrics for, let the side down. I exiled one, even.

I have to downgrade it for side two, but seriously, if you like Rush or prog and you don’t have this record there’s something amiss.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: It may be coincidence, but probably isn’t. The ending has two lines: The first seven words are repeated three times (21) and the last four are repeated three times as well (12).

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, live cuts, and a bonus disc from the 40th anniversary.

GRADE: B+:  I just can’t look past side two, or the droopy parts of the suite. But, man, when it’s great, it’s fantastically great.

 

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Rush – Caress of Steel

ARTIST: Rush                                                        220px-rush_caress_of_steel

TITLE:  Caress of Steel

YEAR RELEASED: 1975

CHART ACTION: #148 US (and only #60 in Canada!)

SINGLES: Return of the Prince (part of the Necromancer), Lakeside Park

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Bastille Day

LINEUP: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neal Perst

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A prelude to their prog-suite phase, and a record that caused a career crisis due to its failures musically and commercially.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: I was dreading how to put my feelings about this record into words. First there are absolutely two classics here (“Bastille Day” and “Lakeside Park”). There’s an absolute failure of a song where they tried to lighten up.

Then there are the two suites. “The Necromancer” meanders a bit, and has some nice segments and some segments that seem unfocused or pretentious (oh, if they’d get rid of the narration that’d be great). Then the entire second side was “The Fountain of Lamenth”, which really just sounds like a bunch of stuff stuck together even though there’s a story line. There’s no flow between parts, no connection. It’s Part A, then Part B, etc…

That last suite just bums me out, seriously. Record buyers stayed away, too, even in Canada.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “I Think I’m Going Bald” was written for Kim Mitchell and his band Max Webster.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C:  Two classics, one song with some good parts, one absolute BS song, and twenty minutes of unfocused diddlying around. They’d rebound in due time.

Rush – Fly By Night

ARTIST: Rush                           220px-Rush_Fly_by_Night

TITLE:  Fly By Night

YEAR RELEASED: 1975

CHART ACTION: #113 US (#9 in Canada)

SINGLES: Fly by Night (#45 in Canada), Making Memories

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Anthem, By-Tor and the Snow Dog, Beneath, Between & Behind

LINEUP: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neal Peart

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Rush moves toward progressive rock with some lyrics evoking fantasy and a long, excellent suite about a pitched battle.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After parting ways with their original drummer, Rush found Neal Peart (or he found them, whatever) and set out on their long, storied partnership.

Peart immediately improved their lyrical content (Lee wrote the words to a couple of songs, and Peart’s are just so much better). Peart’s drumming also adds another dimension – he allowed Rush to expand their sound and their rhythms and really get into a progressive rock phase. In effect he allowed Lee and Lifeson plenty of room to explore their musical abilities much like Bill Bruford did for Yes and King Crimson. There’s no doubt that Peart is the reason they were able to pull off a great track like “By-Tor and the Snow Dog”.

We still have some issues, though. There’s one song that is just deadly deadly dull, side two is rather superfluous after the title track. Still, the first five tracks (never mind the lyrics to “Best I Can”) are improvements to their first album and showed Rush the way to the future.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: At the end of “By-Tor and the Snow Dog”, if you had the vinyl and a manual record player, the chimes would continue until you stopped the album.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B+: Four great cuts, one good cut (save the lyrics), two average cuts and one, well, not so good cut. (No, I really hate it…) It’ll do, Rush. Up a notch for “By-Tor”. That song rules.

 

Rush – Rush

ARTIST: Rush220px-Rush_self_titled
TITLE: Rush
YEAR RELEASED: 1974
CHART ACTION: #105 US, #86 Canada
SINGLES: Finding My Way, In the Mood (#31 Canada)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Working Man (of course)
LINEUP: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, John Rutsey
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The journey begins, but really this is just kind of a generic 70’s hard rock album with a couple of great songs.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Everyone knows “Working Man”, which is just a stellar, stellar hard rock song. “Finding My Way” is pretty darn good, too. “What You’re Doing” has an interesting guitar riff.

Amongst those are some real clunkers. Well, clunkers for Rush. They’d probably be decent REO Speedwagon songs (or Triumph, heh), but there’s nothing progressive or RUSH-like about them except Lee’s vocals. (“In the Mood” especially, a good rock tune but it’s not really Rush, is it? Be honest….) A couple of these songs didn’t make their 1974 tour – so you know the band really didn’t like them either.

The sound isn’t as clear and precise as other Rush recordings, but it’s what they had at the time. They were just winging it. Thanks to WMMS in Cleveland playing “Working Man”, they got their break. Then they got Neal Peart and started to write Fly By Night and there…you…go.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: John Rutsey was the drummer, not Peart, as you see. Rutsey wrote some lyrics but didn’t share them around – so basically Geddy and Alex wrote the lyrics. No snow dogs or aliens coming to destroy music or anything like that here.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B-: A fifty-fifty record. Normally that’d be in the C range but when one of the songs is Working Man I gotta raise it up a couple of ticks.