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Rush: ABC 1974

Longtime Rush fans were no doubt ecstatic when news that the legendary 1974 WMMS FM radio recordings of the band from the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio (called the ABC for short) were finally seeing the light of day on CD in the form of ABC 1974. Recorded just a few weeks into their first US tour (Neal Peart had just taken over the drum position in the band) and broadcast live over the radio, this set has long been of interest to collectors, and this CD release also features three tracks recorded a year later also at the ABC.

The majority of the set features songs from Rush's self-titled debut, as well as a couple of early renditions of songs that would later appear on Fly By Night, but of great interest are three tunes that were a part of the band's live set but never made it onto a studio recording. "Fancy Dancer" is a heavy, rock & roll/boogie track that sounds like Rush doing their best Foghat impression, a cover of Larry Williams' "Bad Boy", which is turned into a real groove laden, and also quite crunchy slice of hard rock/metal (with Alex Lifeson ripping into some hot Jimmy Page influences solos), and the excellent "Garden Road", which just might be one of the heaviest of all the early Rush songs. Featuring a killer riff from Lifeson, plenty of pummeling drums from Peart, and Geddy Lee's wailing vocals & booming bass, this is a gem that any hardcore fan will want to hear. It's so great to finally discover these very cool early Rush tracks. As for the rest of the set, the band cranks out rampaging versions of "Working Man", "What Your Doing", "Finding My Way", "The Best I Can", and "Need Some Love", and Mr. Peart also contributes a stellar drum solo for good measure. The quality of the recording is actually very good, with the band on fire and really showing their early heavy metal/hard rock side quite well.

The bonus tracks from the 1975 show don't carry the same audio quality however, and sound more like a mid-level bootleg recording. Performance-wise it's still red hot, as the band tears into Fly By Night songs "Anthem", "Beneath, Between & Behind", and the title track. All in all, this is a stunning archival document of just how good Rush were even at this early stage in their long career. If you love their first official live album All the Worlds a Stage and want to hear the band even earlier and heavier, then you need to check this out.

Track Listing
1) Finding My Way
2) The Best I Can
3) Need Some Love
4) In the End
5) Fancy Dancer
6) In the Mood
7) Bad Boy
8) Here Again
9) Working Man
10) Drum Solo
11) What You're Doing
12) Garden Road
13) Anthem-bonus track
14) Beneath, Between & Behind-bonus track
15) Fly By Night-bonus track

Added: April 10th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3629
Language: english

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