Rhythm Collision Reloaded
The story of the UK's The Ruts (and the follow-up band Ruts DC) and the legendary dub set Rhythm Collision Vol. 1, is a story that brings together musical opposition and resistance. Here it is now recast in a series of modern remixes by RSD aka Rob Smith, Salz, Steve Dub, Dreadzone, Go Home Production, Boz Boorer, and Ruts DC themselves. British youth of the '80s, and most notably young men of the working class, had an ongoing relationship with Jamaican music and its exports of Caribbean music, such as calypso, mento, ska, and later rocksteady, reggae and dub. Racial tensions of the time in addition to Britain's own dissatisfaction with their leadership helped fueled the "Rock Against Racism" movement, and key members of this movement were Malcolm Owen and his band The Ruts. When Owen joined his mates of the disbanding pub rock gang Hit & Run in 1977 to form The Ruts, their obvious sound outfit was nasty, pub rock-ish punk. But the current Jamaican sound called reggae was also buried deep in the group's DNA. They produced their first single on their own label People Unite, and In A Rut sold an astonishing 20,000 copies. It was followed by a John Peel Session and a deal with Virgin Records that left the band in debt for ages. But it also lead to a seminal album,The Crack (1979), and a bunch of classic singles such as "Staring At The Rudeboys," "Jah War," and the much-covered "Babylon's Burning." In 1980, The Ruts themselves were forced to turn DC when Owen died of a heroin overdose -- DC in this case standing for "Da Capo," a restart. Sadly enough, this second phase of the band keeps being underrated by rock history. However, for those who know, an album called Rhythm Collision Vol. 1 became a major object of worship. This dub set was cut in 1982 in the brand new Ariwa studio, set up and run by a certain Neal Fraser, better known as the Mad Professor. This album's fusion of reggae and punk rock, with a little help of funk, came together in a ying & yang harmony rarely heard before. This selection shows that even over 25 years after its creation, the Ruts DC heritage is still very much alive and kicking, just like the major rocksteady and reggae riddims that kept being used and reused for decades.