RUTS: Grin and Bear It: CD

Sure, this, the reissue of a second album/compilation originally intended to serve as a tribute to their singer, who died of an overdose mere months prior to the album’s release, serves as a nice introduction to the band’s singular take on the punk/reggae knife-edge mined also by The Clash. The Ruts were one of the truly great bands to come out of the first three waves of British punk rock, and the fact that this contains solid versions, live and otherwise, of crucial tunes like “Staring at the Rude Boys,” “In a Rut,” “H Eyes” and “Babylon’s Burning,” only makes things sweeter. The REAL reason to go outta your way to pick this up, however, is the inclusion of the last three bonus tracks, “Stepping Bondage,” “Lobotomy,” and “Rich Bitch,” which comprise the very first recordings the band made in 1977, all three of which are grade-A slabs of Brit punk at its snottiest.

 –jimmy (Captain Oi)