Ramones - All the Stuff (and More!) Volume 1
"All the Stuff (and More!) Volume 1" is a compilation album by American punk rock band, Ramones. It was released in 1990 on Sire Records and produced by Tommy Ramone, Tony Bongiovi and Craig Leon. The band members appearing on the compilation were Joey Ramone (vocals), Johnny Ramone (guitar), Dee Dee Ramone (bass) and Tommy Ramone (drums).
I'm not sure the world needs any more Ramones compilations, but here we have the first volume of a massive 33 tracks, so it has something going for it. The Ramones will always remain one of the best punk rock bands to ever have existed and they're certainly the most influential of the US-based bands. This compilation deals with the band's career over their first two albums,"Ramones" and "Leave Home", released in 1976 and 1977 respectively. There are a few surprises thrown in for good measure, also. Is it any good? Let's find out!
The compilation kicks off with "Blitzkrieg Bop", which has the staple Ramones chant, 'Hey! Ho! Let's Go!" in the lyrics. The song is a good introduction to the world of punk rock music, and is about the ferocious speed of which someone would dance to the music the band plays on stage. "Blitzkrieg Bop" was certainly a live favourite and Rolling Stone magazine placed it No.92 in their list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Beat on the Brat
This is a song written by Joey about all the spoiled kids he saw when he was growing up in Queens. Johnny's three chord riffs are ever present in the track, and Joey's vocal style is a little different to some songs, but he still delivers it well. The band would pass out bats with the words 'use on a brat' on them at early gigs which I thought was pretty funny.
Judy is a Punk
Next up is "Judy is a Punk", which is a furious punk record with a rock and roll edge to it. Joey's lyrics aren't to be taken seriously when after the first chorus he sings "Second verse, same as the first" and repeats as said before the next part which goes "Third verse, different from the first". It's a song about two girls and their escapades, which, as you can imagine, was wild and wonderful back in the days of early punk.
I Wanna be Your Boyfriend
This was the band's first venture into a slower, almost ballad-sounding song. It's a song about falling for a girl and wanting to be with her, and the harmony from the backing vocals makes it sound better than it is. It's not one of my personal favourites because it's too soppy, but it works for some and that's all that matters. The highlight is the feeling that Joey puts into his vocals, and you can tell that this is the kind of song he likes to sing.
This is one of the better up-beat songs on the album with some great vocals and even better lyrics. It's a song about Tobe Hooper's 1974 classic horror film, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", and how Joey's infatuation with one of the female stars led to a horror in itself as she was killed off in one scene. It's a fun rock and roll song that doesn't necessarily kick all the way but it still has some excellent harmony, which is always a bonus.
Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
For those that know the Ramones, "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" could only have been written by one person; Dee Dee. It goes back to his childhood and his early days of drugs with glue sniffing. In a book he once said "When we wrote that song, it was like an obvious joke because nobody we know sniffs glue, 'cause that is the most uncool thing you could possibly do." It's a continuation of heavy punk with a great bass line.
I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement
This is a song about how a love of horror films at an early age instilled a fear of the basement, and even when it was written they still probably had a little bit of apprehension of a particular basement from their childhood. It's another staple Ramones song with some great playing. Dee Dee's bass is equal to Johnny's guitar in every respect, and the lyrics are so simple but very effective. It's the type of song which makes you think twice before going into your basement.
This is a song predictably written principally by Johnny, about a woman who couldn't keep quiet. Johnny was the one member of the band you could guarantee that would get into fights, and started a lot of them himself. Musically, it's as you were for punk rock and I love the way Johnny experiments with the guitar riffs on this song, more than most tracks he recorded for the Ramones. He wasn't the best riff master in the world but punk music isn't all about that.
This is one of my favourite Ramones tracks of all time. It's a song about the CIA spying on communist Cuba in and around the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion. The lyrics are pretty much a tongue-in-cheek laugh at the expense of the American government's radical proposals for Cuba, and the time changes in the song are ground-breaking for the time. I like the vocal melody on this song, which stands out as the highlight.
Listen to My Heart
This is a song by Dee Dee about breaking up with a girl with simple lyrics. Not to say they're stupid lyrics, but it's a true representation of how easy the bassist wrote things. It's another of those classic three chord wonders with an almost slow tempo, but it has its punchy moments, too. It's sung in that style only Joey Ramone could and is one of the better tracks of the Ramones discography. I do wonder, though, how it would have sounded with Dee Dee on lead vocals.
53rd and 3rd
This is a street corner in New York City where male prostitutes attempt to make money. Some have said it's directly related to Dee Dee but I'm pretty sure it isn't, and is just about someone he met attempting to buy drugs. It's another Ramones classic which was covered by Metallica, although it sounds nowhere near as good as the original. It's the first song on which Dee Dee sings on, although it is the last verse only. This is a track which has been covered by the likes of Metallica, though not a very good cover, it has to be said.
This is a cover song, first recorded by Chris Montez in 1962. The Ramones do a credible job of re-imagining it, giving it that punk rock factor, although they keep in the synthesizer sound on it which I don't really like at all. It's a song about the various dance crazes that happened in the 1960s, so if you can envisage punk rock incorporating the twist, then you might be close to what it does for the ears as you listen to it.
I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You
This is another one of those simplistic Ramones songs. Except for the title line, there is only one more; "So why you wanna walk around with me?" - and that's it. So easy, so Ramones. A great pop-punk song with a hidden meaning, in that it's about Dee Dee's former girlfriend who wouldn't leave him alone. Dee Dee would write a few songs about the same girl, and all of them have a dark meaning to them. He was a troubled soul at the best of times.
Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World
With this song, Tommy counts us in with the now legendary "1, 2, 3, 4" intro, which was uttered many times in many Ramones concerts. "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World" leaves it late, but is my favourite song off the whole compilation. It's got an incredibly catchy chorus with gang vocals at the top of their power, though it's probably only Joey and Dee Dee with some session backing vocals brought in to complete the harmony of the song and any other that needed a boost.
I Don't Wanna be Learned / I Don't Wanna be Tamed
This is a demo song recorded way back when and had never been released before this compilation came out. It's a pretty good track to be honest, and I always like to listen to demo's which give an indication of what a band sounded like, rough and raw. As a huge fan of the band I'm pretty happy to hear something new and with this song we get that Ramones sound which the band made famous and a great beat to go along with it.
I Can't Be
This is another demo song which has backing vocals from Dee Dee. I love the sound of this song and I can pick out a riff from "Learn to Listen" from their 1989 album, "Brain Drain". The beauty of this track, though, is the Ramones' simplicity, even back in the earliest of days for the band. It's not the best the band has ever done, obviously, but it's a track I would have loved to appear on an album in one way or another.
Glad to See You Go
This some has that all too familiar Ramones sound of three chord guitar and fast drum beat, backed by Dee Dee's ever-present bass. It's a song about the bassist's ex-girlfriend who was a heroin addict, just as the bassist was as well, it has to be said - something that would never leave him and would ultimately end his relatively short life. After one argument too many she stormed out of their apartment and he allegedly shouted out of the window "I'm glad to see you go".
Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
This is one of the best Ramones songs, ever. It has some great verses with a catchy chorus and is about a former girlfriend of Joey's who was sectioned in a mental hospital and after so many shock therapy sessions didn't even recognise who he was. I like the guitar sound on this song which is a change from the usual punk sound, replaced with a heavier edge that doesn't happen too often in early Ramones songs, that's for sure.
I Remember You
This is another song written by Joey about a former girlfriend. Are you seeing a theme here on the songs so far? It's one of the slowest tracks on the album and could be classed as a love song. It's about how he misses her, lying awake at night wondering why things never last forever. I've never been one for love songs as I'm sure I've mentioned before, and definitely have on this review with a previous song, but it's the passion that Joey puts into it that grabs my attention. For such a tall guy (6' 6") he could be brought down to earth pretty easily by women.
Oh Oh, I Love Her So
This is a punk-infused song which sounds a little like the Beach Boys could be playing it. The lyrics are so simple yet so enjoyable at the same time, with Joey once again writing about a girl he fell in love with and the things they'd get up to, like going to Coney Island to ride the coasters. The guitar is played at a slower pace with an acoustic feel to it and I'm sure it's done for effect but it's not the type of thing I like to hear mostly.
Sheena is a Punk Rocker
This is one of the most iconic Ramones songs of all, and one of the best they ever wrote. It's basically a song in the mould of "Judy is a Punk" in a the way that Sheena abandons her friends that are all going to disco, in order to listen to punk rock. This is another Ramones song which is reminiscent of the Beach Boys style of music with its happy-go-lucky approach to its structure. If there is one Ramones song that everyone knows, it's this one.
Suzy is a Headbanger
This is basically a song about a girl who loves punk music, much to the disapproval of her mother. It was never played a lot live, but it's one of the best Ramones songs that didn't quite make the set list often. It's a more rock and roll song than anything, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's not a good Ramones track because it's very enjoyable to listen to. I would put this in as one of the dark horses amongst the band's songs.
This is perhaps in the top 10 of most recognisable Ramones songs, and a staple live song throughout the band's career. It's about acceptance in society and how some people look at you as if you've got three eyes or something. The now infamous Ramones chant of "Gabba gabba we accept you we accept you one of us" kicks the song off into pure punk rock bliss. That chant was used at many a Ramones gig and is still legendary today.
Now I Wanna be a Good Boy
This is a song written by Dee Dee on how he regretted running away from home when he was younger. For Ramones fans it's probably a good thing he did or we'd probably have never heard of him. According to Dee Dee himself, this is a filler track for the album but it still holds its own with some great interaction between Johnny on guitar and Tommy on drums.
Swallow My Pride
This is the first Ramones song on which we really hear Dee Dee's backing vocals. It's another classic song with more catchy lyrics, but you kind of expect that with the Ramones. Lyrically, it's about how the band's debut album didn't do as well as they expected and how they manned up and soldiered on with this one. There is some good harmony here and some good guitar work to go along with it.
What's Your Game
This is a song that was written by Joey before he wrote "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" and is loosely based around the same subject, although the two songs are completely different, music-wise. Where "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" has a fast pace, "What's Your Game" is probably the slowest on the album, heavily influenced by the love songs of the 1960s.
This begins with what mostly always began a live Ramones show and Dee Dee counting in the '1, 2, 3, 4' to start the song. It's yet another Beach Boys influenced song and is a cover, originally recorded by the Rivieras in 1964. The Ramones give it their own personal touch and it's one of the more cheerful highlights of the compilation.
This is another of my personal favourite Ramones songs, with one of the catchiest choruses on any record. It was written by Dee Dee about the Vietnam War which was going when he was younger and his experiences when his dad was in the army based in Germany. It's a song the Ramones played live many times.
You're Gonna Kill That Girl
When this song begins, you'd think it was Buddy Holly or someone... until Dee Dee chimes in the '1, 2, 3, 4' and you then know it's the Ramones. It's loosely based on Dee Dee's relationship with his former girlfriend, Connie, and was written by Joey. He's basically saying that if he'd stayed with her, Dee Dee would likely have killed her.
You Should Never Have Opened That Door
This is a gem of a song which, if had been a pop version could have been the Monkees singing it. It has that 60s vibe to it and is based on the band's love for horror films and how opening the door leads to something bad happening. The track has the vocal harmony from session singers but I think it may have even sounded good with Dee Dee doing it himself, who was a competent vocalist.
This is a song which originally replaced "Carbona Not Glue" on the band's second studio album, "Leave Home" because of a trademark dispute. It's a decent track and a competent replacement but I do prefer the track it replaced. I like the harmony on the chorus here, but the song is a little too simplistic in my opinion, and definitely recorded with 60s pop songs in mind.
California Sun (Live)
There's not much more I can say about this song than what I've already said and I'm not entirely sure why the compilation organisers have included a live version just five tracks after its studio counterpart.
I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You (Live)
The same goes for this track, also. It would have been better if they had included two other songs from the back catalogue which is very extensive. The Ramones was a very gifted band and recorded many tracks.
Well, it's a Ramones compilation album and it has two tracks you've never heard before so it's not all bad, right? Strictly speaking, it's not bad at all, but if you're going to do a compilation with the title it has, why not do a warchest with 4 or 5 CDs and a DVD for your money? These discs would be packed full of demos, rare tracks and live stuff. I would definitely buy that just as I have with bands like Slayer and Megadeth. As it is, I'd already had 31 out of the 33 tracks on this compilation, so it wasn't much new to me, but I had to buy it to carry on my Ramones collection. Yes the songs are good, but you might do better to buy the first two albums - all songs from those are on this compilation. It would get a higher rating if it wasn't for that fact.
1. Blitzkrieg Bop
2. Beat on the Brat
3. Judy is a Punk
4. I Wanna be Your Boyfriend
5. Chain Saw
6. Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
7. I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement
9. Havana Affair
10. Listen to My Heart
11. 53rd and 3rd
12. Let's Dance
13. I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You
14. Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World
15. I Don't Wanna be Learned / I Don't Wanna be Tamed
16. I Can't Be
17. Glad to See You Go
18. Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
19. I Remember You
20. Oh Oh I Love Her so
21. Sheena is a Punk Rocker
22. Suzy is a Headbanger
24. Now I Wanna be a Good Boy
25. Swallow My Pride
26. What's Your Game
27. California Sun
29. You're Gonna Kill That Girl
30. You Should Never have Opened That Door
32. California Sun (Live)
33. I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You (Live)
My rating: 6/10