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RUSH Working Men CD (Atlantic 7567-89561-5)/
DVD (Eagle Rock EREDV775) (2009)


Why would we want yet another Rush compilation, of yet more previously released material. Are they touring? Is there an anniversary? Is it Christmas? Oh, how cynical of me.

Let's just argue that we can't get enough of these influential prog/hard rockers and in the hiatus before the next tour and album it's a chance to re-investigate recent glories.

'Working Men' is essentially culled from the band's most recent DVDs and in that context it makes a nice stocking filler for the Rush fan who has everything or the newcomer who wants an easy fix of classic tracks. It's a no-brainer.

The tracks are taken from 2003's Rush In Rio (2112, Closer To the Heart, and YYZ), 2006's R30 (The Spirit Of Radio, Dreamline, Subdivisions, the previously unreleased One Little Victory - i.e. it wasn't on the original DVD - and 'Working Man', whilst the most recent 'Snakes And Arrows Live' (2008) spawns 'Limelight', 'Freewill', 'Far Cry' and 'Tom Sawyer'.

An interesting inclusion is 'Subdivisions' from their synth period album 'Signals'. But 'Far Cry', a standout on the last studio album 'Snakes and Arrows' doesn't sound as good as the studio version.

The casual listener may want to use the opportunity to catch up on the live Rush experience they've missed but there may be better entry points, notably 2005's deluxe DVD/CD souvenir of their R30 anniversary tour, three tracks of which are included here, or better still 'Rush In Rio', a 3-CD set released in 2003 that can be picked up for the price of a standard CD and includes all tracks on 'Working Men'.

To top it all, for the real aficionado, all tracks on 'Working Men' are concurrently released on DVD. This is perhaps the format to go for as all the DVDs were well filmed and recorded as you'd expect and you get the benefit of surround sound if you want the ultimate armchair experience.

The absence of truly bonus and unique material, with the exception of that unreleased version, seems like a missed opportunity but suggests a hasty release and a festive cash-in. But, hey, it is Rush! And we're not worthy.


Review by David Randall

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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