Fanatic! Happy Saturday to you. Finally, after months of waiting after months of work, literally years in the making, I can tell you about two records Larry Hardy and I have been working on. They were released yesterday. From the master tapes we have generated two 12”s. One is the three song session that informed the first Ruts record with In A Rut and H-Eyes. The third track is an early version of Society, which was the B side of the Babylon’s Burning 7”. The record sounds great. Here are the liner notes, they tell the story.
It seems like years ago I contacted Mr. Segs and Mr. Ruffy and inquired if either Rut had possession of the In A Rut Session tape. The two song 7” with In A Rut and the prophetic H-Eyes had never been reissued since its original three pressing 1979 release.
Rarely does anything in life work out easily so when both replied not only did they not have the tape in their possession, neither had any idea as to its location. I got to work. My pseudo-sleuth supposition was that the band had turned the tape over soon after the passing of Malcolm Owen to Virgin Records for the assemblage of the Grin And Bear It compilation album and it was likely still in the label’s grip.
And this is where the hero of this story and the reason we’re able to bring you this record, a young man named Jason Repantis, comes into the story. Jason works for Universal Music as a senior researcher in the asset and archives management department. His job focuses mainly on finding the best source of audio or video for each project among the vast archive of tapes. It can be for a reissue on vinyl, a remixing session, a video restoration on 4K, a request for an instrumental for a movie or whatever else is required.
Via email, Jason and I got to conversing as to where the tape could be. At one point, Jason told me he had located a tape that was dated 1980 with a Town House sticker on the front. The In A Rut Session happened in 1979 but Grin was a 1980 project so the tape could have very well been relabelled by an engineer. Jason gave the tape a closer look and confirmed it was the Fair Deal Studio reel with In A Rut, H-Eyes and an early version of Society.
I asked Jason how he came upon the tape.
“Finding this tape involved a lot of research. Reading as much as possible online, contacting people out of the blue and of course browsing Ruts tapes from the archive. When I finally came across it, the first thing I saw on its box was that it contained the slower version of Society. I knew then that this was the right tape and the rest of the information matched as well.”
The tape had been found. We can report that this was the easy part! Prying it loose from Virgin was going to be a multi-month extraction operation single-handedly executed by the resourceful Jason.
“In order for the tape to be returned to the band, I had to present all the information to EMI's legal and business affairs department. After they reviewed the case as well as the agreement with the band they confirmed that this tape can be returned.”
After months, the tape was released and it is now safely archived with me. We provided a high quality transfer to the very capable Mikey Young for mastering and here you have it, all three songs from the session, cut from the master tape.
Make no mistake: this is a complete victory. Justice! It could have been that the tape would have sat in the guts of Virgin for the rest of the century and there would be no reissue. The tape is back in control of the remaining Ruts and their great music is now yours to enjoy.
Larry Hardy and I are honored to be a part of this multi-continent allied effort to bring you this record. As lifelong Ruts fans, all involved are righting a wrong. Without Jason, we wouldn’t have gotten here.
For Malcolm, Paul, Segs and Ruffy