Wednesday, September 03, 2008

In A Rut...The Ruts Story and Show # 212

Forming in early 1978, in West London The Ruts consisted of School friends. Paul Fox played guitar, Malcolm Owen did the vocals, John Jennings played bass, and Dave Ruffy played the drums. The bands sound was punk, reggae and dub influenced. The band also took on various political causes due to the nature of the times. They were known for playing for many anti-racist causes, this would be reflected in the bands lyrics. The Ruts first single was titled "In A Rut" and it was originally released in May of 1978. The B-side was an anti-drug song about Heroin, it was titled "H-Eyes". The single did not do very well, but was played frequently by BBC DJ, John Peel. The Ruts signed to Virgin Records in the Spring of 1979.

The single "Babylon's Burning" was recorded next. Released in 1979, the song was about the descent of Western civilization. It was also influenced by all the riots that were occurring in England around that time as well. The song reached number seven on the UK singles charts; The B-side was a song titled "Society". The bands next single "Something That I Said", would be released after they toured supporting The Damned. The song cracked the top 30 in the UK and the bands first full length album, The Crack would be released in October of 1979. The album was a mix of punk, reggae, dub, and had elements of Hardcore and Hard Rock. Another song featured on the album was the reggae/dub influenced track "Jah War". The song failed to chart, but was one addressing the issues of riots that occurred in Southall London. Due to it's controversial subject matter, the song was banned from the radio in Britain. Other interesting songs on The Crack were the anti-drug song "Dope For Guns" and "S.U.S", a song about the Vagrancy Act used by London Police.

Following a headlining tour, the band entered the UK charts again with the song "Staring At the Rude Boys". The band then began work for their second album and were preparing for another tour in the UK. Around this time lead singer Malcolm Owen, who had a long time Heroin addiction began using the drug more and more. He also was going through problems with his marriage. After the band completed the song "West One", they fired Malcolm. This seemed to help Owen clean up and get his act together, but in July of 1980 Malcolm died of a drug overdose. The song "West One" entered the Uk charts at #43 and in October of 1980, the band released Grin & Bear It. The album was a collection of the songs The Ruts had been working on before firing Owen and B-sides/Outtakes. In 1986, the bands BBC sessions were released titled The Peel Sessions. The remainder of The Ruts continued as Ruts DC, but would stop playing around 1983. In 1995, a compilation of the band was released titled Something I Said, and in 2001 EMI released a compilation of the band titled Bustin’ Out: The Essential Ruts Collection. The Ruts were a band from the UK known for their anti-racist and strong politcal stances. The band lasted for a very short while, but left behind interesting musical and political messages.

The Playlist:

1. The Banned - Little Girl
2. Red Squares - Ottawa Today
3. Active Dog - Rat Race
4. The Action - Downtown Boys
5. The Poles - CN Tower
6. Igenerants - Radio Interference
7. Pulp - Mis-Shapes
8. Stiff Little Fingers - Suspect Device
9. The Vibrators - Baby Baby
10. The Ruts - Babylon's Burning
11. Generation X - Kleenex
12. Johnny Thunders - Dead or Alive
13. The Ryvals - Time of Restraint
14. Infamous Scientists - American Bandstand
15. Stolen Minks - Reflexes
16. The Saints - No, Your Product
17. The Damned - Politics
18. Ramones - Surfin' Bird
19. Sloan - Emergency 911
20. Buzzcocks - Mad Mad Judy (BBC Session)
21. The Clash - Janie Jones (Live Boston 1982)
22. Nothing At All - Grand Central Station
23. Babyshambles - Delivery
24. Libertines - Up the Bracket
25. The D4 - Joe 90
26. The D4 - Get Loose

Rutty Videos:

In A Rut
Babylon's Burning (1979)
Something I Said (Music Video)
Jah War & Babylon's Burning (Live French TV 1980)
Staring At The Rude Boys (Top of the Pops)

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