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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Revisiting The Crack - Ruts (September 1979)

The Crack - The Ruts
Virgin Records
Produced by Mick Glossop
Released 29th September 1979
UK Chart #16

The Crack Full Album with Bonus Tracks

Side 1

Side 2

    Malcolm Owen - vocals
    Paul Fox - guitar, organ, backing vocals
    John "Segs" Jennings - bass guitar, piano on "Jah War", backing vocals
    Dave Ruffy - drums, backing vocals

Additional Personnel
    Richard Mannah - backing vocals on "S.U.S" and "Criminal Mind"
    Mick Glossop - synthesizer on "It Was Cold"
    Gary Barnacle - saxophone
    Luke Tunney - trumpet

1990 Reissue on LP and CD included Bonus Tracks
B6 Give Youth A Chance 3:07
B7 I Ain't Sofisticated 2:16
B8 The Crack 5:49

2016 A Picture Disc Reissue was released

The Tracklisting was the same as the Original 1979 Release.

Singles on The Crack



Released 8th June 1979
UK Chart #7



Released 31st August 1979
UK Chart #29



Released 2nd November 1979
Did Not Chart

The French Release was on 12"
 (Back Cover of French 12")
The B-Side was different to the UK Release


The Ruts
Live In Paris 
13th January 1980

(I have posted about this album a couple of times in the past few years but as a number of the links on those posts are dead I thought I'd revisit the album and update with some additional artwork etc. - Doug, S4L)

 (L to R: Paul Fox (RIP), Segs Jennings, Malcom Owen (RIP), and Dave Ruffy)

I wrote this on a previous post on the album and I still think this way about the album:

"The Ruts debut album The Crack takes me right back to my teenage years in South East London, Forest Hill to be precise (I was 16 years old when it was released). It makes me think about many of the friends who I used to hang about with - the Forest Hill Punks. Some of them I know are still around, and like me have grown up, got married etc. Others I have no idea about, except the ones who are no longer with us.

Listening to the album makes me think not just about good times but bad times as well because there's lots of stuff going on lyrically that made an impact upon our young lives - the attitude of the cops toward us (Sus and Jah War), the violence of the age (Something That I Said), the bleakness (It Was Cold), the addictions (Criminal Mind), the betrayals (Backbiter), and the smell of danger (Out of Order).

It makes me remember hanging around Counterpoint Records in Forest Hill listening to the latest music when some of us should have been at school, or day trips, when we bunked off school, to go up to the Portobello Road and hang around Virgin Records' Offices hoping to scrounge new posters, badges etc of our favourite bands on that label (Skids, Sex Pistols, The Members and The Ruts).

When I hear it now I don't, to quote that great Pete Shelley song, wish "I was sixteen again". Time has moved on but a lot of stuff that happened in those days shaped who I am today and that's fact.

But listening to the album also makes me think of the band who made it. Segs and Ruffy lived in Forest Hill at the time and I reckon that they are still one of the best Rhythm Sections around, only Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare are better! In 2016 they are still playing many of these songs but also writing and performing new ones with Ruts DC. It makes me think of guitarist Paul Fox who was one of the most exceptional around. People always talk about the sounds that a guitarist like The Edge makes when he plays but Foxy was able to make some incredible noise without even a third of the technology that U2 have at their disposal. Sadly Foxy is no longer with us having passed away after a battle with cancer in 2007. Also it makes me think of Malcom, the volatile frontman who tragically died of a heroin overdose in July 1980 aged 26, ten months after the release of this album. It was a life snuffed out far too young! It makes me think about what could have been.

Finally it's an album that makes me remember that life goes on, inspite of all that I went through, what this band went through, there is still a life to be lived.

There's not a poor track on it and from start to finish you enter a world where Punk and Reggae meet on a level playing field and this wonderful sound just blows your mind. You feel the anger, the discrimination, and perfectly understand the violence conveyed because it was exactly what your life was like at the time and was clearly what was going on in society at the time.

The Crack is still one of my favourite debut albums 38 years on. The combination of Punk and Reggae was something that was not done to jump on any bandwagon and follow the likes of The Clash etc. It was part of the make up of the group and the things that they drew influence from. 

My favourite tracks on the album aside from the singles are S.U.S., It Was Cold, Savage Circle and Criminal Mind. Human Punk was a live recording and you can listen to the full show from the Marquee in 1979 on the link below.

The singles that were featured on it were all brilliant (including Jah War! - Charles Shaar Murray writing for the NME had said in a review of it that it was "Possibly the most unimaginatively earnest piece of white reggae ever" - maybe I should ask him if he knew what the song was inspired by and whether he was aware of the links between The Ruts and Misty in Roots down there in Southall and the violence that had been unleashed on them at the hands of the Metropolitan Police's SPG in April 1979! I thought his review was overly harsh). It was great seeing Babylon's Burning reach the Top Ten (peaking at #7) yet disappointing that the other two singles didn't do as well.

The B-Sides of the singles were also pretty tidy. Society (B-Side of Babylon's Burning) is just a totally in your face assualt speaking of how we are being watched and information being gathered on us - this was 1979, just think how it is in 2017!

"Our media controlled by hate
You've been programmed, it's far too late
The first time that you open your eyes
They plug you into all their lies"
- Society

Give Youth a Chance (B-Side of Something That I Said) was originally called Black Man's Pinch (see John Peel Session link below).

I Ain't Sofisticated (B-Side of Jah War) always gives me a chuckle with it's little dig at Education! Though not keen on the use of the C word on it!

Bonus Links
The Ruts Live At The Marquee 19th July 1979.
 Human Punk that was on The Crack is taken from this show.

John Peel Session 29th January 1979.
Savage Circle
Babylon's Burning
Dope For Guns
Black Man's Pinch
Criminal Mind

Also released in 1979
the Debut Single
In A Rut / H-Eyes
People Unite
Released January 1979

Benefit for Paul Fox
Henry Rollins took the vocals for this show on 16 July 2007. Paul Fox passed away a few months after this show.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Revisiting human clay - Creed (September 1999)

Human Clay - Creed
Produced by John Kurzweg
Released 28th September 1999
US Chart #1
UK Chart #29

Singles From Human Clay
01. Higher
02. To Whom It May Concern

 Limited Edition Tour EP (European Release)
01. Higher

Limited Edition Numbered CD (European Release)
01. Higher
03. Roadhouse Blues (Live)

Also released as a Limited Edition 7" Yellow Marble Vinyl in the US and UK

Released 24th August 1999
US Chart #7
UK Chart #47

 01. What If (Album Version)
02. What If (Radio Edit)
03. I'm Eighteen
 Released January 2000
Did Not Chart

 Released as Limited Edition Red Vinyl 7" in the UK
A-Side: With Arms Wide Open (New Version)
B-Side: With Arms Wide Open (Acoustic Version)

and as a Enhanced CD in Europe
 01. With Arms Wide Open (New Version)
02.With Arms Wide Open (Strings Version)
03. With Arms Wide Open (Acoustic Version)
04. With Arms Wide Open (Album Version)
05. With Arms Wide Open (Video Strings Version)
Released 24th April 2000
US Chart #1
UK Chart #13

 Radio Promo Release Only
01. Are You Ready?
Released August 2000

Creed are one of those bands that you either love or hate, it seems there is no sitting in the middle when it comes to them. You are either For them or you are Against them.

The band had formed in 1993 originally as a five piece (rhythm guitarist Brian Basher left the band in 1995) and once the line-up had settled it featured Scott Stapp on vocals, Mark Tremonti on guitar, Brian Marshall on Bass and  Scott Phillips on drums. They were originally called Naked Toddler but settled on the name Creed.

(Original Cover for their debut album My Own Prison)

In 1997 they released their debut album My Own Prison on their own label - Blue Collar Records and with the help of airplay on Florida Radio stations they managed to sell 6,000 copies in the area in the first 2 months.

A copy had fallen into the hands of Diana Meltzer from Wind-up Records who was keen to sign the band and did so after seeing them perform live in Tallahassee.

The album was then remixed and cleaned up a bit and given a bit of a more radio friendly sound and re-released 26th August 1997. The sales of 6,000 on their own label would be blown apart when it became a #22 album in the States selling enough (six million!) to be certified six times Platinum!

Whilst My Own Prison was still selling pretty well (it would spend over 110 weeks on the Billboard Chart) the release of their second album Human Clay would further their careers as it would debut at #1 in the States and in the two years that followed would sell over 10 million copies. It has to date been certified Platinum 11 times and is one of a number hard rock albums that was certified Diamond.

People like to put bands into Categories/Genres and of course the question to be asked is where exactly do Creed fit? Well, as I often have no comprehension as to what all these Genres and Sub-Genres actually mean, to me they are a hard rock band. I've seen them listed as Post-Grunge (again not totally sure what it means other than the fact they were not from Seattle and so didn't fit the "Grunge" mould). Ultimately though it shouldn't matter because either the music is good or it's totally pants, and on this note I say that it's good.

The singles Higher and With Arms Wide Open were huge hits for the band reaching #7 and #1 respectively. With Arms Wide Open won a Grammy for Best Rock Song and the album also won the Favourite Pop/Rock Album at the American Music Awards.

Listen to more from Creed 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

S4L Radio: Show #9 Playlist - Revolution Songs

Revolution - "A forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favour of a new system."
The landscape of history is littered with one Revolution or another. There has been Political Revolution, Cultural Revolution, Spiritual Revolution, Musical Revolution and on and on we could go.

Revolution often begins with one man/woman/child and others find themselves aligned to the desire for change and that leads to the springing up of movements that then seek to bring that change into being. Sometimes the efforts to bring that change means that violence flares up between those of differing positions. At other times of course it can be a Peaceful Revolution.

The songs I have chosen for this week's Playlist are drawn from many different places and throw up different images of what Revolution can be like. Some of the songs of course are very well known and others not so but they all speak a little about the change that comes through Revolution whether it be personal or on a more global scale.
The Revolution Playlist

On The Playlist
Revolution Radio - Green Day
Title Track from their latest Smash Hit album. Kicking off a wee theme of songs spotlighting Revolution and Protest.

The Revolution Will Not Be Online - Jay-Cee Carroll
JC Carroll of The Members brings an updated version of Gil Scott-Heron's The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.  Taken from the album 21st Century Blues.

Revolution - Spaceman 3
1988 Classic Indie Single from the band born in Rugby (#8 on the UK Indie Chart). Still love the sound of this one.

Revolution - The Beatles
B-Side of Hey Jude released in 1968.

"You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world"

Revolution - The Cult
Single taken from their album Love.

(Dutch Picture Sleeve)
Children of the Revolution - T.Rex
UK Chart #2 Single in September 1972.

 "No you won't fool the children of the revolution"

 Revolution - The Heptones
1974/5 single from one of the great Reggae acts.

 Revolution - Bob Marley and The Wailers
Taken from the 1974 album Natty Dread.

Revolution Rock - The Clash
1976 Single by Danny Ray and The Revolutionaries that was covered by The Clash for their London Calling album.

Soundtrack To A Revolution - The Insyderz
Title track from the band's fifth album that was released in November 2003.

"Its our revolution
Its our time to shine
United we stand strong
Together we fight"

 Revolution - Jars of Clay
Taken from The Eleventh Hour album (2002).

"You got to begin
With who you know you are
To be a revolution"

Talkin' 'bout A Revolution - Tracy Chapman
After a huge first hit single with Fast Cars (#6 US and #4 UK) her second single was not very successful at all reaching only #75 in the States and #85 in the UK.

 "They're talkin' 'bout a revolution
It sounds like a whisper"

 One Man Revolution - The Nightwatchman
Title track of the Debut album from Tom Morello under the banner of The Nightwatchman released in 2007.

 "The time is nigh, the day is dark
There's only one solution
I'm a one man, I'm a one man
I'm a one man revolution"

Love Revolution - Lenny Kravitz
From the 2008 album It Is Time For A Love Revolution.

"It is time for a love revolution
It is time, it is time, for a new constitution"

 Revolution - The Pretenders
The song first featured on their Last of the Independents album, version on The Playlist is taken from the live album The Isle of View released in 1995.

"The world is getting stranger
But we'll never lose heart
We can't just wait for the
Old guard to die
Before we can
Make a new start

Bring on the revolution
(keep the pressure on)
I wanna die for something
Bring on the revolution"

Self Revolution - Killswitch Engage
Taken from the 2002 album Alive or Just Breathing.

"We must find the strength for a new movement
Slow down this fast paced world and you will see the revolution"

The Old Revolution - Leonard Cohen
From the 1969 album Songs From A Room.

"Into this furnace I ask you now to venture..."

Return of the Revolution - The O.C. Supertones
Taken from the 2000 album Loud and Clear.

"A war is on, our battle cry is no compromise
So throw your fist up and pray the revolution rise"

Revolution - P.O.D.
Taken from their 2003 Self-Titled album.

"I'm not the first or the last to imagine it
Acknowledge the concepts, question and grasp it
Rebel against the I and bring down the Self.
Mutiny, me overthrow you
Rebellion starts within, the time is now

Did somebody say a Revolution?
Or is it all in my head?
Is that what it takes to make a solution, solution"

The Parting Shot
The Revolution Starts Now - Steve Earle
Title track from his 2004 album.

"Yeah the revolution starts now
In your own backyard
In your own hometown
So what you doin' standin' around?
Just follow your heart
The revolution starts now"

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