Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Ruts
West One (Shine On Me)/The Crack


Released 1980 on Virgin
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 28/03/2001ce


The Ruts were part of the second division of UK Punk bands which basically means they arrived a bit too late on the scene to be linked with the Class of 76-77 groups like The Sex Pistols, Clash, Damned etc., this by no means suggests that they were second rate, far from it The Ruts on their best day could hang in there with the best of them.
Sadly though The Ruts would not be around for very long in their original lineup as lead singer Malcolm Owen died of a heroin overdose in 1980 leaving the group to carry on as Ruts D.C. ( Da Capo ) and carry on they did making a bunch of excellent records.
The single in question here "West One" was if I remember correctly issued after Owen's death, this was a shame indeed as it was the best record they ever made and hinted at what could have come had Owen stayed clear of smack. Musically this is a powerhouse single from start to finish which highlights Owen's rough and ready vocals, Paul Fox's punishing guitar and the brilliant rhythm section of Segs on bass and Dave Ruffy on drums ( truly Punk's greatest drummer! ) future Rut Gary Barnacle adds some fluid sax lines in the song's coda. This single has everything you like about UK punk wrapped up tightly in 3 minutes or so, it kinda reminds me of the excellent 45's released by Gene October's group Chelsea during 1980, which was in my opinion a banner year for UK rock.
The flipside "The Crack" is an odd slice of experimental dub, a style The Ruts D.C. would mine brilliantly on their later records.
The Ruts for the most part have been forgotten which is criminal, really!.


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