The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

ALBUM Review

Rhino Records | Release Date: September 9 2016


BOOKS & DVD'S 2009-2014 

It’s always interesting trying to dissect what makes a Rock Icon - Punk bands like the Ramones can essentially make the same songs over and over again and become legends and media darlings, whilst those that do it in the Hard Rock arena are generally lambasted for lacking ideas. And that my friends will always be the way it is as long as kids who can’t name a Ramones album continue to wear their T-shirts. 

I saw the Ramones live once I thought it was quite funny how every song seemingly lasted only a couple of minutes and every song was preceded by a chant of “1-2-3-4” and they were off. Don’t get me wrong I like the Ramones, I appreciate their influence on hundreds of fledgling rockers but in truth I can only take them in small doses (thankfully they oblige – Ramones was only 29 minutes long). And strangely I imagine they would appreciate that, this was after all a band whose set in the early days ony lasted about 20 minutes and if they needed to fill more time they just repeated it.

It’s hard to comment on an album seen as such a classic but really Ramones never got better than this – it’s fun, it’s in-your-face and it’s an immediate rush. Over the years of course it may have lost some of its jarring impact – after all we’ve had 40 more years of bands sounding like this, but at the time few bands captured that feeling of rebellion and youthful abandon like these guys did. I’d of course cite the Stooges and more so the New York Dolls as starting it all Stateside but Ramones eschewed the Glam for denim and leather (you might argue out of necessity) and always placed melody right at the top of the pile.

Musically of couse they drew on both those bands, but Ramones is all about big guitars, a singer with a fake British intonation and a punky take on an amost 60’s Doo-wop/Girl band mash for many of the choruses. Ad to tat a dose of themelodies of The Beatles and The Beach Boys and you probably have the Ramones template.

After the opening trio that everyone knows (or should) the album slows for the love song ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend’ which evokes those 60’s girl bands, and that sort of feel is recaptured for the one cover song the Jim Lee penned Chris Montez hit ‘Let’s Dance’. The rest is classic Ramones. The album of course never sold well going Gold only two years ago! (38 years after release) and at 29 minutes it gets to the point.

Although reissued a number of times, this reissue adds a newly remastered stereo version of the album alongside a newly unearthed mono mix. The second disc includes every known single mix, outtake, and demo from this period, including some that have never been released before.

The real attraction for fans though has to be the additional disc of the two live sets from the Roxy in L.A. from August 12, 1976. (Previously only the first set had been available). Both sets show the band in fine form faster and louder than the studio and damned enjoyable.

Is it overkill? Well maybe, at 78 tracks it’s aimed squarely at collectors, me I’d take an old battered vinyl and a trip back to ’76 any day.


by Mark Rockpit



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