Where better to start with the recently released deluxe edition edition of one of my all time favourites, Moving Pictures by Rush. In fact, it is a particularly good place to start as I will be seeing Rush at the SECC in Glasgow this weekend as the European leg of their Time Machine Tour gets into full swing. A tour which sees the band play the whole Moving Pictures album live. As you can imagine (though it’s probably safer if you don’t) I am practically foaming at the mouth with excitement at this prospect.
To the album itself … It was released back in 1981 and was all about the synths and sequencers, which were really brought to the fore as Rush pushed the technological envelope and delivered an outstanding collection of songs, three of which remain key parts of modern Rush performances. These being the anthemic Tom Sawyer, the ultra-catchy Limelight, and one of the finest instrumentals ever – YYZ.
I purchased the LP as soon after it was released as possible which, if I remember correctly, meant I had to order a copy through that fine old Stornoway emporium Maciver & Dart. A lot of my early collection of LPs, tapes and singles were bought in this way and I dread to think how much money I spent in there. Anyway, I got the LP and it quickly established itself as a soundtrack for pretty much everything I did. To begin with my favourite tracks from the album were:
Red Barchetta (I love that song’s sci-fi overtones and all I wanted was a red, open-top sports car of my own to listen to it in);
Limelight (that opening guitar riff is one of my all time favourites), and;
The Camera Eye (which left my remembering London and wishing I could visit New York).
The others took a little longer to grow on me but it soon became clear that there wasn’t a single weak track on the album:
Tom Sawyer is one of those chest-pounding anthems that gives you a lift no matter your mood;
YYZ may be an instrumental but it has the same uplifting effect and Neil Peart’s drumming always makes my jaw drop;
Witch Hunt has a suitably tense and spooky intro which delivers a haunting punch about how fear can be used to control people – as well as conjouring creepy Hammer Horror imagery, and;
Vital Signs, the album’s closing track, rounds things off with a groovy, kind of reggae vibe that provides a bright counterpoint to Witch Hunt’s darker overtones.
Now, 30 years later, it is still one of the most frequently played albums in my collection. Surprise, surprise, it’s playing as I write this post – in the new deluxe version (of course) which sounds absolutely amazing and reveals details that I don’t think I’d noticed before – especially during the intros to The Camera Eye and Witch Hunt. The clarity and depth added by the remastering make this latest release well worth the price.
This is an album I’d be happen to take for a regular spin for another 30 years.