Strife | Rush

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Rock: 70's Rock Rock: Hard Rock Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by Strife

A 3 piece rock band from the 70's acclaimed as on of the best UK live acts of the time.
Genre: Rock: 70's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Backstreets of Heaven
3:17 $0.99
2. Man of The Wilderness
4:27 $0.99
3. Magic of the Dawn
3:32 $0.99
4. Indian Dream
7:01 $0.99
5. Life Is Easy
2:51 $0.99
6. Better Man Than I
3:09 $0.99
7. Rush
12:11 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
A 3 piece fairly heavy rock band from the 70's highly acclaimed as one of the best live acts in the UK at this time. The 1st album "Rush" originally released on Chrysalis in 1975 featuring the epic 12 minute title track is still selling today to all ages.Their next release was a maxi single with the classic track "School" as the title, sadly only available on collecters sites, but will be on a new album of previously unreleased tracks shortly. "Back To Thunder" was the 2nd and last album originally released on "Gull Records" in 1978 and features the bass solo track "Red Sun" from Gordon Rowley who was once voted the 2nd best Bass player in the world. If you like high energy music totally unique, give this lot a listen. AND NOW!at last after 30 years!! a "live" album is available of a complete set played in 1976 at the Nottingham Boat Club. The cd is totally as it was on the night, no overdubs, no autotune "NOTHING" I dare you to listen to the final track "RUSH" you won't believe just 3 guys can do this!

REVIEW OF RUSH from Head Heritage

Like me, you might have occasionally wondered about this album, just from its cover. The eye-catching Hipgnosis sleeve features a couple of blokes in a field with dark clouds overhead, dressed up like samurai warriors and going at each other with katanas. On closer inspection I found it amusing in a smarty-pants kind of way, because no self-respecting samurai would go into battle with such scruffy hair and lack of pants under their armour! Anyway, the overall effect is pretty cool and the big STRIFE in ragged red letters jumps out at you. Why the album didn’t attract much attention is anyone’s guess, but I suppose the choice of album title may have confused many prospective purchasers over the years that this was actually an album by Rush. Still, they weren’t to know back in ’75 that Rush would turn out to be so big, if they were even aware of their Canuck cousins.
Anyway, whenever I would flick through my copy of ‘The Album Cover Album’ I’d often find myself stopping at the cover of this one and wondering what kind of music they did. I never really cared enough to try to find out on the internet, but one day I read a review that made it sound like it was actually pretty good and likely to be right up my alley. Wasting no time, and by now in love with just the idea of the album due to both an infatuation with Oriental martial arts and swordplay – even just pictures of swords – and a new-found awareness that I’d been missing out, I tracked it down on CD over the internet and a week later I was real glad that I did.
Comprised of the hairy trio John Reid [guitar, vocals, harmonica], Gordon Rowley [bass, vocals] and Paul H. Ellson [drums], Strife formed some time around 1972 [or thereabouts] and became a popular though obscure live band, playing support to the likes of Jethro Tull, Baker Gurvitz Army and Procol Harum. Eventually they got signed by Chrysalis and put together an album using their most popular live material. And that’s the album I’ve been talking about, ‘Rush’.
‘Back Streets of Heaven’ is a chunky opening blast of hard biker-metal, charging along kinda like a tumble of Bang-meets-Budgie-meets-Nazareth with the thrust of [San Francisco’s] Shiver, and with neat vocal harmonies on the choruses. Tough as nails, but with a positive vibe, it’s like a celebration of just being alive, whether you’re living in a cardboard box or a dream mansion. Hell, maybe this sounds like the MC5 jamming with Sweet!
‘Man of the Wilderness’ changes direction to the kind of dark-woods underground prog that brings all kinds of mythic mystery to mind, dwarves cutting down wolves with battle axes on a misty moor and the like, though the lyrics don’t really go that way. Actually I’m yet to decipher the lyrics on this one. This is no pansy wipe though, the whole thing chugs along hard and direct with precise guitar chops and fluid, pummelling bass through various changes. This track reminds me a lot of Steel Mill, another great unhailed UK band.
‘Magic of the Dawn’ is another heavy chargin’ bull like the opening track, but ballsier, doomier and less shrill. The harmony vocals are used again to great effect. Usually I don’t go in for harmonies a great deal, but when they’re done well with some appropriate heavy riffing action, like here, I’m a sucker for them.
‘Indian Dream’ starts off with a clichéd Native American dum-da-da-da drum beat and synth melody [not that Native Americans are known for their synth work; and it’s credited on the album as ‘string effect’, contributed by Ken Freeman], before mellow plaintive vocals enter, leading into a propulsive bass riff that swings the whole thing up a notch and just keeps building, turning sadness into hope and all that. Might sound cheesy but methinks it moves me! There’s not even any guitar until this section gets to its wailing climax, before the whole affair settles down again to a reprise of the first bit, only now some of the melancholy has lifted, the storm clouds have parted, old memories and dreams swim in misty eyes giving birth to something better. Before long it’s building up, up, up again, the synth kicks into a single note high drone, the guitar goes wild, bass and drums are ticking like an atomic clock and it all fades out to nothing.
‘Life is Easy’ is a bit of bouncy pop fluff really, a positivist diversion to open what would be side 2 on the original vinyl. Shamelessly vibrant and happy, and with a horn contribution [ick] on the choruses, it still rocks, and though it should be kinda crap, it’s not really.
‘Better Man Than I’ is a fast hard boogie kind of thing with slinky rhythm section, great catchy chorus and harmonies, in fact the whole thing is pretty nifty really. This track sounds quite a bit like Agnes Strange.
The closing track, all twelve minutes of ‘Rush’, takes a little while to reveal its secrets. However, it’s still a corker all the way through, broken into three parts – ‘People Running ‘Round’, ‘More Haste, Less Speed’ and ‘Final Fling’. Starting off in a hard and fast boogie metal thing, it’s soon broken by all kinds of rifforama changes, before going back to the opening tune and back again a few times. Harmonica kicks in, accompanying a chugging dirty riff. Then – who would have guessed it – this all just melts into space rock with echoed guitar, and the bass climbing up, down, around, exploring the cosmos that’s now suddenly opened up in what was a sleazy pub a moment ago... Now we could be listening to spaced Guru Guru, Amon Düül II or Hawkwind. It just spaces out more and more until the whole circus is just hanging there, molecules orbiting, then a metronomic beat kicks in, bass and guitar join, and we’re in a heavenly plateau with a chiming riff growing that reminds me of something out of Tommy... Then we all fall down and plunge straight back into the galaxy, echo guitar going crazy in both channels, tribal drums propelling the whole shebang, and it all stops with a blam! of a chord. Things start building again slowly with a doomy bong-metal riff that could have come from the Far Out album, and before you can scratch your crotch everyone’s here, rocking along at a healthy pace. Just getting into it when it settles into a single-note bass charge into the mind and all falls apart again. Ominous echo guitar slicing meshes over the new motorik beat and it all just swims around in the stars for a while. The bass kicks back in with a simple but grimly insistent two-note riff and it seems like we’re catching a live Hawkwind gig circa 1972, operating in the zone. Then a gong hits, mind portals open and it all just peels off into greater weirdness, higher, higher, higher, with the bass dropping down to the engine room to keep that sucker going. Then, ka-chunk, down to earth or perhaps suddenly caught up in some space war, it’s dig in time with the heavy riffs, the pace picks up several notches, double-tracked guitar goes wild, as does the bass and drums. Just as you’re hoping for 10 more minutes of this, it fades out and that’s it. The end.
I always feel a bit sad when this album finishes and just want to play it again, but at the same time I try not to play my favourite albums too much, so the magic doesn’t wear off through continuous exposure. So, I just have to look forward to the next time I dig it out for a play. I’ve never come across this on vinyl, but you should be able to pick it up at a medium price on CD, as it was reissued in 2001 on Zoom Club Records.
Strife only made one other album, 1979’s ‘Back to Thunder’, which I know nothing about, but I wouldn’t bet on it being nearly as good as the first one. Rowley joined the band Nightwing after that; no idea what happened to the other guys.



to write a review

Steve Green

A wonderful album that stands the test of time and showcases a fine band that wa
I remember seeing Strife in the UK back in the mid 70s when the band signed a copy of their Rush Album for me. I was delighted to find recently that the album was available at last on CD. Listening to it again after all these years brought back some wonderful memories. The title track, a 12 minute opeus climaxing in a wonderful guitar crescendo still sends a shiver down my spine and it was great to hear indian dream again featuring some wonderful guitar work by John Reid.
The album certainly stands the test of time and showcases a fine band that was way ahead of its time.