The Ruts came late to the party but were one of the best England had to offer in the heyday of punk. They were an anomaly in that each of the band's instrumentalists, guitarist Paul Fox, bassist John "Segs" Jennings, and drummer Dave Ruffy were accomplished musicians who had played in jazz and funk bands previously. They were not only a punk band, but played deadly dread reggae as well. Revered British DJ John Peel got on board with their first single, "In A Rut," and played the hell out of it, sending them into the charts, Their subsequent 45s, "Babylon's Burning," and "Something That I Said" also charted, as did their brilliant debut album for Virgin, The Crack. Collected here are the original singles, a decent portion of the album, a couple of cuts from live BBC and Peel sessions, and the band's final hit with the late Malcolm Owen, the extended version of "West One (Shine On Me"). Also included are an alternate version of "H-Eyes," left on the cutting room floor, and a preciously unreleased cut, "Denial." While this is a fitting and representative sample of the Ruts as one of the most powerful and anthemic of the U.K. punk bands, it is odd that the band's fourth single, "Staring At The Rude Boys," and its B-side, "Love In Vain" (not the Rolling Stones song) were not included. Still, this is an excellent introduction to a band who deserve to be remembered.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek