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Ruts - Punk Singles Collection

  by Geraint Jones

published: 16 / 4 / 2006



Ruts - Punk Singles Collection
Label: Select Label
Format: CD

intro

Superb collection of classic singles from reggae-inspired 70's punks the Ruts, many of them released in their original 7” versions for the very first time on CD


One of the very best bands of their era, the Ruts like many at the time, completely reinvigorated by punk, rose from the ashes of a band on the pub circuit. Fortunately they passed on one of the suggested monikers during their initial rehearsals in the summer of 1977; somehow Malcolm & The Sulking Loafers doesn’t quite have the same impact. Setting out their stall with an accomplished meld of tough power chords, incisive lyrics as well as reggae, dub and ska influences, the Ruts were an exciting prospect which came to early fruition with the release of the band’s classic debut single in 1979. Released on the Misty In Roots’ backed People Unite label, the coupling of ‘In A Rut’ and ‘H-Eyes’ sounds as refreshing today as it did a bewildering 27 years ago. Fronted by the charismatic polished-gravel voiced Malcolm Owen, the Ruts were musically light years ahead of most of their punk contemporaries. A rallying call to the disenfranchised, ‘In A Rut’ really captured the imagination, gaining John Peel as an early champion. The genuinely independently released single went on to sell more than 20,000 copies, an impressive figure to this day. It also helped attract the attention of Virgin Records, to which the band would sign just a few months later. A string of similarly classic singles followed, several of which: ‘Babylon’s Burning’, ‘Something That I Said’ and ‘Jah War’ – are all appearing on CD here in their original 7” versions for the very first time. Again they all sound just as fresh and exciting today as they first did all those years ago. Despite their energy and intensity, diversity certainly didn’t faze them – the likes of ‘Give Youth A Chance’, ‘Jah War’ and ‘Love In Vain’ providing ample evidence of their ability to master and incorporate reggae influences and while obviously very different were just impressive as their punk material for which they’re better known. Tragically it all came to a crashing halt far too soon, Malcolm Owen failing to heed his own prophetic advice on the dangers of heroin on ‘H-Eyes’ succumbed to a heroin overdose on July 14th, 1980 aged just 26. Sadly that was the end of the Ruts although the surviving members of the band, guitarist Paul Fox, drummer Dave Ruffy and bass player Segs who also took on the vocal duties joined by new recruit Gary Barnacle on sax and keyboards, soldiered on for a few more years as Ruts DC (DC being an abbreviation of Da Capo, the Latin for “from the beginning”). Their first single also appears here and whilst fine in itself represents but a shadow of their former glories. Also augmenting the set are three early Ruts demos recorded in 1978 though not released until 1981. Though offering an interesting perspective of the band in their earliest form, they barely hint at what was to come and it’s that run of six classic singles from ‘In A Rut’ to ‘West One (Shine On Me)’, the latter of which should have sold in bucket loads but didn’t, for which they’ll deservedly be remembered. Owen’s early death was a tragic waste and though we’ll obviously never know, I suspect the Ruts would have gone on to even better things. Fortunately we have this excellent and essential set and lest we forget the band also released one LP, ‘The Crack’ during their all too brief time together, which also comes highly recommended.



Track Listing:-
1 In A Rut
2 H-Eyes
3 Babylon's Burning
4 Society
5 Something That I Said
6 Give Youth A Chance
7 Jah War
8 I Ain't Sofisticated
9 Staring At The Rude Boys
10 Love In Vain
11 West One (Shine On Me)
12 The Crack
13 Stepping Bondage
14 Lobotomy
15 Rich Bitch
16 Different View
17 Formula Eyes



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interviews


Interview (2013)
Ruts - Interview
The Ruts DC were formed out of the ashes of influential punk band the Ruts, after their singer Malcolm Owen died in 1980. Front man Segs Jennings talks about their first album in thirty years, 'Rhythm Collision Vol. 2', the Ruts legacy and why he had decided to perform Ruts songs for the first time

features


Life After Death ? : A Profile (2003)
Ruts - Life After Death ?  : A Profile
Massively influential in punk circles, the Ruts came to an abrupt end when their singer, Malcolm Owen died of an heroin overdose shortly after they released their debut album. John Clarkson charts the band's history and examines their lasting legacy


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