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Rush

Rush Album By Album written by Martin Popoff

Review by Greg Olma

Martin Popoff has recently been putting out book faster than I can read them. Mind you, I’m not complaining because all of his books are worth owning.  His latest hardcover book, Rush Album By Album is a great companion to his previous two Rush hardcover books The Unofficial Illustrated History and the Updated Edition.  The reason I say that this is a companion book is that it a much different take on his previous books.  The previous books were written by Popoff and he injected his opinions on those releases, but here he has enlisted a number of artists, Rush fans/historians, and even Rush’s first roadie to help tell the tale of their studio albums.  Each record is explored with questions ranging from “So what were your impressions when you heard 2112 for the first time?” to “How would you characterize the production on Grace Under Pressure?” to fan reactions to certain releases.  We not only learn a little about Rush but we get a whole new perspective on the band from other people.  I didn’t know that Jim Matheos (guitarist with Fates Warning) saw Rush on their Caress of Steel tour in Seattle or that Grace Under Pressure is one of his favorite Rush albums.  Mike Portnoy also tells us that he covered “Jacob’s Ladder” live in Toronto with Dream Theater.  Other artists like Kirk Hammett, Paul Gilbert, and Michael “Away” Lanvegin lend their thoughts and stories about certain records.  People, who I must admit are bigger Rush fans than me, also answer questions about their reactions to specific discs and/or songs.  To make this even more well-rounded, Popoff doesn’t use the same folks throughout the whole book, but instead asks for their input in certain chapters (each chapter consists on one studio album).  This way we are not getting Mike Portnoy’s opinion on all the albums, just the one’s he has a connection with.  The book flows nicely, and while the text is interesting, visually we are presented with some great graphics of old advertisements, records, t-shirts, and some promotional items.  While this book will definitely appeal to the hardcore Rush fan, I think many casual fans will enjoy it as well.  Rush Album By Album not only gave me many hours of fun reading it but it also rekindled my love for some of those old records.

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