Monday, September 11, 2006

A Different View? (Ruts D.C)



In a scene where even the most obscure privately pressed 7'' has seemingly either been reissued, bootlegged or made available on the net, it’s unusual to find a release from one of ‘the big name’ punk bands is not only deleted but harder to hunt down than a record that only had a few hundred copies pressed, but that appears to be the case when it comes to the first Ruts D.C album, ‘Animal Now’.

The original Ruts were a big name on the late seventies music scene. Not only did they score a number of genuine hit records but almost alone out of the second wave UK punk bands, they were also acclaimed by critics at the time. Signed to a major label and benefiting from a big budget production, the bands mastery of reggae was better than any other punk band while staples such as ‘Babylon’s Burning’ and ‘Staring At The Rude Boys’ were anything but punk by numbers. The Ruts sole album, ‘The Crack’, is a classic while later songs such as ‘West One’ and the moving ‘Love In Vain’ show how this great band would have progressed if tragedy hadn’t been waiting around the corner with the death of charismatic but troubled singer Malcolm Owen.

The remaining Ruts, Segs Jennings, Dave Ruffy and Paul Fox with the addition of sax player Gary Barnacle, tried to keep things going using the name Ruts D.C but the success of The Ruts eluded them and their recorded output remains largely forgotten. Many people at the time found it hard to give credit to the ‘The Ruts’ without Malcolm Owen and maybe it was a mistake not to make a clean break from the past but at it’s best, Ruts D.C’s music sounds like the natural progression for the band. Debut single ‘Different View’ with it’s great flipside ‘Formula Eyes’ is an excellent follow up to the final Owen era single ‘West One’, while the album ‘Animal Now’ also contains many fine moments such as ‘Mirror Smashed’ and the extended, superior take of ‘Different View’.

I’m not going to pretend this is a lost classic as there are some weaker moments as the album progresses and only nine songs suggests that the band may have been running short of material, but for the most part ‘Animal Now’ only adds to the Ruts legacy. The sense of dynamics and ear for a great tune are all present and correct and while it is difficult at times not to imagine how the best songs here would have sounded with Malcolm Owen on board, Segs Jennings does a fine job on vocals.

Less obviously ‘punk’ while still obviously The Ruts, ‘Animal Now’ is the bands final rock album. Subsequent releases saw the band fade into relative obscurity as they followed their love of reggae and dub. The band still commands respect in punk, reggae and dance music circles though and various members have worked with amongst others, the Chemical Brothers, Aztec Camera, Adam Ant and Kirsty Macoll. Here though is the Ruts final punk hurrah. Get it while you can:

Ruts D.C-‘Animal Now’ with bonus single & demo tracks.

Back in the mid nineties, a late friend of mine, Chris Jones, interviewed Segs Jennings and Dave Ruffy. The interview which covers both The Ruts and Ruts D.C can be found here.

(Many thanks to S! for his help with this post.)

14 comments:

x1984x said...

YES!!!! I've been wanting to hear this forever! Not quite The Ruts but still pretty good. Am I blind or just stupid? The last 4 songs are demos, right? Do you know anything about Foxy's Ruts? All I know is they've been doing some gigs. No website or anything yet.

Erich said...

I'm really sorry for such a question: But does the download work? It's late here, I'm tired - have mercy!

edx said...

To answer both comments...

There's only 9 songs on 'Animal Now', the remaining tracks included in the download come from various different sessions. Although I'm not sure of the source & timeline of all of these recordings, I think at least one track, the demo of 'Different View', dates from the first session the band recorded as Ruts D.C.
Foxy's Ruts is the name Paul Fox is using to play various retro style festivals. He was using the name The Ruts briefly for these shows but I've heard from a guy who is currently writing a book on the band that the other original members weren't exactly pleased that the name was being used when it wasn't a real Ruts gig...I guess that may account for the (slight!) name change.

Yes e. The download does work! Go for it!

FuseRed said...

Excellent share, thank you very much!

FuseRed said...

for those struggling for the tracklist here is Animal Now part of it:

A1. Mirror Smashed
2. Dangerous Minds
3. Slow Down
4. Despondency
5. Different View

B1. No Time To Kill
2. Fools
3. Walk Or Run
4. Parasites

Jason Toon said...

Excellent! Never even dreamed that I could imagine hoping to aspire to believe I could ever speak to anyone who knows anyone who ever heard this damn record! Now it's on my hard drive! Thank you, sir or madam (probably sir, I'm assuming)!

Anonymous said...

foxys ruts dates can be found at www.humanpunk.com
they are playing old ruts stuff.
foxys son LOL is on drums.

bill

Rigorious said...

Awesome!!! For Years I was on search for this Record! I own the LP but I've never got the technique to rip it!

A rare jewel! I'm also interested in any info of what these guys did after Ruts DC. Did they do music any more? Heared of one guy playing by 'adam and the ants'?!?

However, thank you to make MY day this day!

Slobodan Burgher said...

i'll just grab one of these and then stay quiet. i think thank you will be in order too. so yes, thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant. been looking for related tracks which are not on the actual LP, which I do have here with me; bought it for 10 Ringgits may years ago.

Cheers Ed!

Joe - C. Dung / KL

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! Years trying to track down this album in a digital format have come to an end. You have made my year. Thanks .....

Anonymous said...

My girldfriend's Dad plays bass for Foxy's Ruts, they are INCREDIBLE. I loved the Ruts prior to meeting him, and he formed th abnd after we were going out, about a year ago. Worth seeing. They may be releasing a live album.

johnnyface said...

excellent work mate.thanks for this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. This is one of my favorite albums, really holds up well even today. LOVE the extra tracks! I appreciate you taking the time to post them. ~Mark