Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Ramones - "The Ramones" (LP, Philips - 1976 ~ Japan 1st Pressing)

You know already that we don't want or like to post things that's in print or easily approachable. Except to this, there's nothing more to say or add as well... I mean, what in bloody hell should I think of, for such a classic that haven't been quoted earlier? Anyway, if you still want my two cents, here it is: The Ramones fist eponymous long play is perhaps, an eminent reason for rock & roll's salvation back in the dark AOR and prog days of the '70s as the old cliché is still saying! As important for your life, if you consider your self a rock & roller, as your heart, your ears and your dick! The three chord assault magnificence and the very example and meaning of "Less Is More" phrase.The true American rock & roll look up (I mean, Chris Montez! Now that's what I call a good taste!!), the horror movies and comics subculture, the glue - sniffing, the ripped jeans, leather jackets and sneakers (now) fashion trend, the pop tendencies and the need for speed, all of these and more, are gathered in here! If you can't find up right in the front sleeve, the well known Sire logo it's because that's the first Japanese pressing... I'm pretty sure, you get it now (if you haven't by now), why we did those exceptions and offered two kinda 'different' Ramones LPs, right?! He-he...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Ramones - "Leave Home" (LP, Sire - 1981~Italian Reissue)

Without any question the first six long plays by the Ramones are beyond any review policy (YES you must count "Pleasant Dreams" too, as an overlooked classic)! I bought for the first time "Ramones", "Leave Home" and "Rocket to Russia" about 20 years back, all three on the same day and I've played them a millions times ever since in their countless editions. "Leave Home" remains to this day my favorite Ramones output.

I guess a 'fave' item gets the prize/title by the way it fits with someone's character. And the Ramones second hit, did this for me instantly. A record title as laconic and to the point as their two and a half minute blasts. Vitriolic, sharp, impressible and funny (but never dumb as many dorks claiming) lyrics and with the often mentioned 'slicker' production by Tony Bongiovi and Tommy Ramone sounds to this day an even better approach than the one Phil Spector tried with "End of the Century"! A blasphemy? Probably but who cares anyway?! We're talking about punk rock here mate. Actually, we're talking about powerpop..!
I mean, dive your turntable's needle on the grooves and judge for yourself. Does any record by Elvis Costello or Dwight Twilley have more 'power' than this!? Come oooooooon! And when we're saying 'pop' we must agree on what we are talking about, OK? Cause I'm 100% with Joey's and Dee-Dee's side of thinking on what 'pop' is (or sadly... was). I fell in love with the Ramones because I was first in love with the Ronettes, the Crystals and the Shangri-las through the (very) few 45s of my parents. And "Leave Home" has many songs with the same over the top pop quality all these 60s girl groups had. And those pop blasting tunes are the ones that made me say from day one, "That's it, man"! Cause you can rave with any possible right from your side for trademark brudders songs like "Pinhead", "Commando" (fuckin' brilliant!!!) or "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" but let me hassle now and go all the way for "Oh-Oh I Love Her So", "Babysitter", "Swallow My Pride" and "I Remember You" cause sorry brothers, those are the real stand-outs with the aforementioned top class pop quality! Give a listen to the pseudo Spector sounds and the woo-hoo vocal harmonies in here, and see downright that worked waaaaaaaayyy better than what Spector himself captured a few years later!
OK, clearly I can go on forever on every single track about this monument's knack, but I have to put a full stop now (I mean, I didn't even mention the unapproachable taste of the band by choosing to cover The Rivieras!).
So, we're perfectly sure by now that you did get the message from the "Italian Reissue" on the post's title, why we pick on something you probably have already and in many formats or editions. Yep, that's right, Jean Philippe's back again!

"I have checked various vinyl versions (8), and this is clearly the best one (to my ears). Japan original is probably better, but it's expensive. The French original sounds quite good, but it's got some very unpleasant distortion on several tracks. The recent Rhino reissue has also some pressing problems, and both US and UK originals are not great to my ears. All these pressings have harsh vocals & guitar, which may be viewed as 'rawness' (read: 'true punk sound'), but to me it sounds like pressing flaws. I don't know much about CD's, as I've only heard a Japanese remastered CD, and this cheap-looking Italian vinyl reissue (from 1981) sounds richer & cleaner to my ears. I like when inexpensive records sound the best!"
He-he, I'm sure you know straightly when my buddy's saying something about fidelity, can't do no wrong!

As I was going to bed for siesta, took with me Bomp's PowerPop Special issue from March 1978. Greg Shaw had seen on the Ramones the same things I was telling you in the lines upwards:

"The Ramones are now a pop group more than a punk band. Their aggressive wall of guitars sound has been accepted as part of the pop vocabulary, and where the mainstream of Punk has gone to greater extremes of offensiveness, the Ramones have become a very positive, life-affirming youth explosion. (...) If you can imagine the Beatles having emerged at a time when the doors of radio were more than momentarily shut against them, and making their first 3 albums without the benefit of any hits, you'd have it. (...) Someday, Dwight Twilley will be a star. And someday, the Ramones will be a legend."

As much as Greg's prophecy went to the dustbins about Twilley, the exactly opposite happened for the Ramones! Crank it up once again!

PS: "I Remember lying awake at night / And thinking just of you / But things don’t last forever / And somehow baby / They never really do"...  We miss you SO MUCH Joey and Dee-Dee...