A great gig reviewed in Sounds, 1 November, 1980.
The marvellous Ruts compilation reviewed in Sounds, November 1, 1980.
Grin And Bear It
(Virgin V2188) ****
It’s funny how it takes a retrospective album like this to remind you just how brilliant the Ruts were, and brilliant ain’t a word I like to toss about lightly. Okay, I’ve only given this four stars but that’s more a reflection of the duplication of material on the album than a critique of the quality of their material.
Any Ruts fan worth their salt will of course already have at least two copies of the superb ‘Staring At The Rude Boys’ with its moving but ironic anti-smack b-side ‘Love In Vein’, and the final instalment single ‘West One’ included here in entertaining dub format, not to mention the seminal punk People Unite tracks ‘In A Rut’ (oi oi) and the magnificent ‘H Eyes’.
All of these tracks are a fittingly convincing tribute to the Ruts as they were, a band who were building on their essential punk energy into real class, real prospects in the old rock ‘n’ roll immortality scenario. And what a lot of cretinous critics on other papers seem to have misunderstood is that this isn’t meant to be seen as a new Ruts studio album but simply as a memorial tribute to the late great Malcom Owen.
As a Ruts FAN I’d say that this collection is worth having not only because it ties up the unalbumised (nice word) Ruts work in one neat collection but because it also includes goodies like the fine live recordings of ‘SUS’, ‘Babylon’s Burning’ and ‘Society’ AND a previously unrecorded John Peel session featuring the forceful ‘Demolition Dancing’ and the okay-to-good ‘Secret Soldiers’.
No speeches, no regrets. This is a great goodbye to stage one of one of the best bands to come out of punk, and an excellent reminder of just how superb the Ruts were. It’s up to the new Ruts to prove how much the world was missing by not making the original line-up mega-stars.