Ok, so a lot of you will know 'Babylon's Burning', but the Ruts, despite their brief blossoming were much more than that, and that's what these 15 minutes are hopefully about to prove. 'Jah War/I Ain't Sofisticated' was their third single for Virgin, released in November 1979. 'Jah War', a spiky pop punk/reggae song about the police's involvement in the Southall disturbances of April 1979 was always a favourite of mine, suiting my ears more than most of the Clash's reggae excursions. It's b-side, 'I Ain't Sofisticated' by contrast is a numb nuts punk thrash that helped make this slab of 7" vinyl one of the most played from my youth. Fifth Virgin single, August 1980's 'West One (Shine On Me)' was released just over a month after singer Malcolm Owen had been found dead in his parents bathroom following a heroin overdose. The band were clearly moving on from the punk treadmill, I've always wondered what they could've become.
(My missus also made a single with two of the Ruts whilst in Basildon punksters the Vandals, the only recording they ever made supplying backing vocals on a Pete Zear solo single (Lew Lewis Reformer) 'Tomorrows World/Fast Food').
Any way, the Ruts, listen to this. Babylon's Burning was great, but to me these three songs are greater (also listen to 'Staring At The Rude Boys').