Tracks to educate young people with

(posted by quarsan)

Number Ten In A Rut – The Ruts (mp3)

Some records just hit you between the eyes. When I first heard this I wondered if my record player could handle the deep dub bass that drives this track. One aspect of punk was it’s appreciation of reggae, indeed the punk explosion brought reggae into the public eye.

Sure, the Clash played around with it, but it was The Ruts who merged the two to make something new and fresh. This heavy dub bass and screeching punk guitar is topped with the blistering vocals of Malcolm Owen.

Sadly it is another smack track. Malcolm often sang about his struggle with heroin, a battle he lost in the summer of 1980. That was a great loss to us all, for Malcolm wasn’t filled with self pity or posing as the punk Keith Richards. He desperately wanted to stop, he knew he had his precious music, but it wasn’t enough.

After a short career of some of the finest singles to come out of the era, and believe me choosing which one to feature was difficult. So, I went for their debut. It could so easily have been any of the others. But it also showed what was to come, as did the B-Side, H Eyes.

I remember interviews with the other Ruts after his death (and here’s one) where they described their efforts to help him as he slowly dissapeared into himself. Heroin isolates you until, even you, are just not there anymore.

And Malcolm isn’t here anymore and that’s just so damn sad.

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