It’s been unseasonably warm here, recently. Reports of snow elsewhere (sorry, James!) clash with our past few days at over 20C.
Now, we know this is too good to last. All the leaves have fallen from the trees, and we have the snow tires on the cars, and we know the winter is coming. I know a lot of people grumble about the winter but, me, I love it too. It’s all good.
So, when we get a last gasp of lovely weather here in November, there’s only one thing left to do – go to the beach! On Sunday, we took the kids over to Southampton for a walk along the beach, with Chantry Island lighthouse just offshore, and it was great to just get (probably) this year’s last warm look at the place before it all ices over.
Ramones – Ramones (remastered 2001)
How many times have I heard this record? Enough that it’s in my DNA, to be sure. What a perfect slice of early (1976) punk rawk.
It’d be easy to say this hairy bunch of individuals (look at that cover image!) were just a bunch of meatheads making knuckle-dragger music, but that’s so wrong. I mean, yes that last bit was a little bit true, but they were also making super-tight, super-smart songs with harmonies, interesting lyrics (about tough subjects), and a level of sassy fun that most bands still can’t even come close to touching. They were dirty and clean, my punk rock Beach Boys.
Warner Archives/Rhino have done a fantastic job putting this package together. I’d comment on the remastering job if I weren’t so busy jumping up and down and rocking out to the tunes. I mean, sounds great to me from here [jumping on the couch, stereo at full volume, playing air guitar]!
The 8 bonus tracks are worth more than the price alone (haha I spent $5 brand new), with 7 demos and the single version of Blitzkrieg Bop. Three of the demos (see track listing, below) were previously unissued until this set. Even the liner notes are a worthy read.
Beat On The Brat
Judy Is A Punk
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement
Listen To My Heart
53rd & 3rd
I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You
Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World
Bonus Tracks (all demos except the last track):
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
Judy Is A Punk
I Don’t Care*
I Can’t Be
Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue*
I Don’t Wanna Be Learned/I Don’t Wanna Be Tamed
You Should Never Have Opened That Door*
Blitzkrieg Bop (single version)
* previously unissued
What hasn’t been said about the Ramones? Most people rave about them, either because they truly enjoy the band’s music or because they’re trying to make up for their hopeless geekiness by name-dropping the band to gain some supposed cred.
Whatever the case, it really is in the ear of the listener as to whether they were punk icon geniuses or junkie fuck-ups who got lucky. For me, it’s a little of both. I don’t go around all the time extolling their virtues and I can’t bring myself to say they were amazing musicians, but I do own and enjoy their records. Having said that, all of you punker-than-thou idiots all poised to flame me for my insolence can get bent.
Brass tacks, this particular live recording, committed to tape at Billboard Live August 6, 1996, is awesome. Most of the songs get the shouted 1-2-3-4 intro (whether the band responds accurately to it or not) and all are played at top speed… they fit 32 songs plus some stage banter into 64 minutes – you do the math. They even had guests join them, like Dee Dee Ramone, Lemmy (of Motorhead), Tim and Lars (Rancid), Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), and Chris and Ben (Soundgarden).
The Ramones took a long time to say goodbye, like the Who, and KISS (repeatedly). And so on. This was apparently their last concert, but I’m no expert on the accuracy of such things. And now most of them have died too young, may they rest in peace.
Look, all you need to know about this is that it’s absolutely relentless, one song counting right into the next with little time to breath let alone collect your thoughts, and it’s just about every Ramones song you’d want to hear in one sitting. So, either you own this and love it like a religious relic, or you say you do while hoping people won’t see through your pose and beat you up.