The Ruts : S.U.S.
On September 29, 1979 The Ruts released The Crack, the only studio album they ever made in their heyday. This is one of my great discoveries of 1979 and one of the finest albums to come out of the U.K. punk scene. Black Flag's Henry Rollins has often called The Crack "the best album ever made". Featuring the classic singles "Babylon's Burning" and "Something That I Said", The Crack might just blow your mind.
The Ruts were made up of musicians with chops and an eclectic taste in music. On the album you're reminded that punk and reggae bands supported each other in the early days. Recorded in three weeks at The Townhouse in London with producer Mick Glossop (Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage, Van Morrison's Into The Music), The Crack may be the best sounding album of the entire punk era.
“I think The Crack has a kind of timelessness about it, because it was really spontaneous and heartfelt and real,” drummer Dave Ruffy tells UdiscoverMusic. “The songs came out of our experiences and they’re just really good, well-crafted songs, ultimately.”
Listen to The Crack and you'll hear why they were dismissed by many as clones of The Clash. Listen closely enough and you'll hear why that's such an unfair assessment. The band should have been bigger but singer Malcolm Owen overdosed in the summer of 1980, before The Ruts could make a follow-up.
The album cover is well worth pouring over. It's a painting by John H. Howard that shows the band seated in the middle of the party with John Peel, Jimi Hendrix, Rat Scabies and Captain Sensible of The Damned, Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. Even the band's roadie Mannah (seen from the back) can be seen. He assisted in writing the song "S.U.S" which deals with the vagrancy act, widely used by London's Metropolitan Police Service in the late 1970s.
The 40 year anniversary edition was remastered at Abbey Road and celebrated below by Rollins.