Thanks again to record collector extraordinaire, Tom Avazian — underwriter of numerous Zero to 180 research initiatives (most recently, Scotland’s The Poets) — who provided a vinyl copy of 1988 UK anthology, 20 One Hit Wonders, an album that includes a strong track from a band of Birmingham musicians, Locomotive, who began their career playing rocksteady in a rather convincing manner, before changing gears altogether on their next single and subsequent album before disbanding soon after.
Locomotive’s second single, “Rudi’s In Love” (which slyly quotes “007 (Shanty Town),” Desmond Dekker’s big hit from the year before) would be their debut for Parlophone in 1968, and enjoy release in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and Yugoslavia [pictured below – left to right, top down], as well as the US, New Zealand, and Australia.
Billboard would announce in their November 16, 1968 edition (“Locomotive Disk on Speedy Track“) that “the Parlophone single ‘Rudi’s In Love’ is being released in 14 countries in Europe and in the US on the Bell label.” According to Brum Beat – whose list of Top 20 Birmingham bands includes The Locomotive – “The catchy ‘Rudi’s In Love‘ proved very popular on the dance floor and reached Number 25 during its eight week stay in the charts.”
Beginning in the late 1980s, “Rudi’s In Love” would be repackaged in various 60s oldies compilations, such as Hits of 1968; The Best Sixties Party; 101 Sixties Hits; 100 Hits Swinging 60s; 100 60s Hits ; North of Watford (24 Rare Pop & Soul Classics 1964-82) — and even a couple West Indian-themed collections, The Best Reggae Album in the World … Ever! Part 2 and Suited & Booted: Essential Mod & Ska.
And yet, amazingly, for a song so widely distributed, “Rudi’s In Love” (as of today) is only available on YouTube in the form of a live BBC version that, unfortunately, is not well recorded. How can this be? 45Cat contributor, jimmytheferret, proclaims “Rudi’s In Love” to be “one of the most iconic records of the late sixties” and consequently has posted audio for the song on YouTube. And yet, when you click on the video link, YouTube informs us that “this video contains content from WMG [Warner Music Group?], who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.” Ah ha…
However, for a limited time — the next ten days — Zero to 180 will make this track available to whomever has accidentally stumbled upon this blog:
[Pssst: Click triangle above to play “Rudi’s In Love” by Locomotive]
SixtiesVinylSingles tells us that the “stellar brass section” includes ‘his’ friend Lyn Dobson on sax “together with Dick Heckstall-Smith and Chris Mercer, and with Henry Lowther on trumpet.” “Rudi’s In Love” is notable for having been produced by Gus “Space Oddity” Dudgeon (who is famous for having worked with Elton John in his early years and XTC in their later years), along with Tony Hall.
BigBearMusic reports that the inaugural release for Big Bear Records (“UK’s longest-established independent record company”) was a “spoof ska 45 rpm single entitled ‘Rudi The Red-Nosed Reindeer‘ by a band whose nom-du-disque The Steam Shovel disguised the fact that they were, in reality, The Locomotive”(!)
Would you be surprised to learn that EMI reissued “Rudi’s In Love” in 1980, at the height of the second-wave ska craze, in a two-tone-themed picture sleeve?
UK REISSUE, 1980 US SINGLE, 1968
PROMO EP, 1979
[Click on image below for maximum Resolution]
2005 would find “Rudi’s In Love’ selected, curiously enough, for a Japanese DJ cassette mix tape of various and sundry (44 tracks in all) entitled, Freaks Vol. 1.
Norman Haines, who penned “Rudi’s In Love,” would later prove to be “instrumental in developing how Black Sabbath worked” in their earliest days, notes Big Takeover‘s AJ Morocco, “He orchestrated their first arrangements and likely taught them how to commit their songs to tape in the studio.”