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Shine On… The Ruts


Talking of lung cancer, as unfortunately we were, it was announced a few days ago that Paul Fox of the Ruts has been diagnosed as terminally ill with the disease. The Ruts, you say? There’s a blast from the past. And didn’t singer Malcolm Owen die of an overdose many years ago? Indeed: those of us who don’t follow the oldies circuit might be forgiven for needing a brief refresher on the group. Try these for size:

‘In a Rut,’ ‘Babylon’s Burning,’ ‘Jah War,’ ‘West One (Shine On Me)’, ‘Staring At the Rude Boys,’ ‘Something That I Said.’

Blimey, that’s at least five more great singles than most groups could ever hope to manage. And that’s without getting into a discussion on their pioneering use of dub in what was otherwise quite an aggressive punk-pop band.

The Ruts’ two studio albums The Crack and Grin and Bear It! are available on a double CD which, for $15, sounds like a good deal. Hear samples of all 22 tracks at amazon.com

Anyway, if the measure of a man is in the depth of his friendships, then Paul Fox is a popular person indeed. Stepping up to play a benefit on July 16 at the Carling Academy are Tom Robinson, John Otway, Ed Tudorpole and Splodgenessabounds, about as eclectic a post-punk gathering as you could ask for. (We’ll discuss UK Subs another day.) Better yet, the Ruts will be headlining the show, with none other than Henry Rollins taking the place of Malcolm Owens. Says Rollins,

“In the music scene where I come from, Washington DC, The Ruts were and still are a very big deal. Ask people like Ian MacKaye and others from those days about The Ruts and you’ll see what I am talking about.”

I’m sure that everyone hopes Paul Fox himself will be well enough to take the stage along with Ruts founding drummer Dave Ruffy and current bassist Segs. It sounds like an old school reunion to treasure – even if the occasion is bittersweet.

More info here. And here.
And here.

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