Many years ago, I read a reviewer who compared Rush to Led Zepellin (not favorably). I had never understood that, but listening to their debut, I finally get the point. The boys are clearly inspired by Plant & Page. But they sure couldn't write songs yet.
Musically, the album is not bad. The production values are a bit primitive, so the sound is not the greatest. But there is solid musicianship (natch!) and some good stuff. FINDING MY WAY is a good musical start, and I've always enjoyed IN THE MOOD, a song that doesn't feel like a Rush song AT ALL, but I've seen them do it in concert several times, as a show closer, and it really makes a crowd "get up and dance." There are some slower "almost ballads" here as well that are okay, if uninspired.
But the lyrics...oi, the lyrics!! I practically felt myself blushing at the awfulness of some of them. From IN THE MOOD:
"Hey baby, it's a quarter to eight
I feel I'm in the mood
Hey baby, the hour is late,
I feel I've to to move...yes, I do"
Hmmmm. I didn't know 7:45 was such a magical time!!
And TAKE A FRIEND is truly, almost miraculously awful. After hearing it, I wanted to drop to my knees and thank God for sending Neil Peart their way. Geddy was simply not a lyricist! (In later years, another low point for Rush was the horrendous CINDERELLA MAN, with lyrics by Geddy.)
So, is the album even worth owning? A resounding: YES!! The reason: WORKING MAN. From the opening riff, this song absolutely soars. It can still put a chill in me. And on their latest tour, Rush ended with this song, and you'd be hard pressed to find a crowd go wilder for any tune. It is sonic magic. The lyrics are pretty bad, and Geddy's voice has been better...to put it politely. But my God, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson were kicking some serious, serious, serious butt!! The solos (there are several) are all terrific. Lifeson, in particular, really announced his presense on the scene with this song. Whew! It's a classic.
Now, I am a HUGE Rush fan. I'm almost always listening to some of their stuff at some point during the day. This album won't join my regulars, but even this primitive effort showed what skilled musicans Rush was. Just one album later, FLY BY NIGHT (with Neil Peart on drums and lyrics) made a huge step forward (although that album ain't perfect either). So don't dis my review because you think I hate Rush. Ask my wife...if stranded on a desert island, all I'd need are a limitless supply of batteries, a walkman, headphones and my Rush CDs. It's just that I have to be honest...a lot of this album just stinks.
But if you don't own WORKING MAN, then you still must own this album!
What did you think of this review?