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"All the Stuff (and More!) Volume 2" is a compilation album by American punk band, Ramones. It was released in 1990 on Sire Records and produced by Tommy Ramone, Tony Bongiovi and Ed Stasium. The band members appearing on the compilation were Joey Ramone (vocals), Johnny Ramone (guitar), Dee Dee Ramone (bass), Tommy Ramone (drums) and Marky Ramone (drums).
Released at the very same time as "All the Stuff (and More!) Volume 1", this compilation features the second two Ramones albums, "Rocket to Russia" and "Road to Ruin", with bonus songs that were very rare at the time. For a total of 30 tracks you have a pretty good amount of classic punk rock records, but it begs one question. Is it any good? Let's find out!
We kick off the album with an anthem amongst Ramones songs, which is a tribute to the band's fans at the time that would pogo up and down at gigs. The cretin element of it wasn't meant to be derisory towards the fans, more like that's what everybody else thinks they were. I like the guitar playing on this song with its classic three chord riff that is so simple yet so effective in the way it's played. Johnny was never much of an all-round guitarist but he made up for that with riffs.
This is a song about a beach in Queens, New York, bear to where all four Ramones members grew up. It was written by Dee Dee about how they would hitchhike to the beach instead of catching the bus, because the bus would play disco music. It's a great song with some neat guitar playing, and if you imagined the Beach Boys playing punk rock, this track would be something like what you would come up with.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
The next track rolls in with an acoustic guitar and Joey's wailing of "Oh oh oh, I love ya", which is specifically designed to help you feel the emotion he's experiencing when singing it, or more specifically, the heartache the narrator is going through. It's a song about being with a woman but knowing that you can't carry on with her, and the chorus sounds wonderful as Joey sings his heart out producing one of the finest moments of the band's career.
This is another song which has the classic Ramones three chords in and around two minutes. It's a lot like a 1960s pop song but with a punk sound to it. The song is about being with that special someone but knowing the relationship is over. The narrator is trying to tell himself to give it another go but deep down he knows he's through with it and must make the heart-breaking decision of ending it all, no matter how painful it is to him.
I Don't Care
This is a simple song with simple lyrics, and is about coming out of depression, not caring for what happens next. I like the way Joey sings the lyrics, backed up with Dee Dee repeating the same words. This song is a reminder of how you can make simple music sound so good and the Ramones was a band that was especially good at doing that, and it's something most bands of today fail to grasp the concept of.
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. There's nothing to dislike about this track and I love the harmony as a whole, but especially in the chorus where it takes music to another level.
We're a Happy Family
This is one of my favourite Ramones songs, and is probably the best on the album for me. It's about the all-American family and the typical life they live. The song has a great riff and is kept in time wonderfully by Tommy's drumming. I like the pace of the track most of all and Joey's rapid-fire lyrics are a joy to listen to. The song fades out to a frantic household going about their daily duties, people having breakfast, waking up, looking for socks, etc.
This is yet another storming Ramones song. Two minutes long, three chord guitar and classic drumming - it doesn't get much better than this. It's another follow-up to the mental health themed songs the band had been writing, and was a staple part of the majority of Ramones gigs. This is easily one of the best songs on the album and graces many a punk rock compilation album.
Do You Wanna Dance?
This is a cover song, first recorded by Bobby Freeman back in 1958, but has also been recorded by the likes of the Beach Boys, Eddie Cochran and Cliff Richard. It's a song originally recorded to dance the twist to and has been altered for that classic Ramones song. The kids at the concerts were likely not performing the twist when the band played this live, but the sight of punk rockers doing that would have been something to witness.
I Wanna be Well
This is a song that, at first, I thought was about Dee Dee's much-publicised heroin addiction but came to find out that it was written by Joey about the various problems he was having in his life. He was compulsive to the point of paranoia, in that he thought he was always sick. The lyrics may not be all that great, but it's played to a pretty good riff and is backed by the timely beat of the rhythm section of Dee Dee and Tommy.
I Can't Give You Anything
This is a song written by Dee Dee, which has that 1960s pop music feel to it. In fact, a lot of the Ramones songs do that, but they're usually not Dee Dee's work. It's another simple song but is very effective in its delivery, and I like the honesty in the lyrics. The narrator is basically saying that he has nothing but if she can live with that, he's all hers. Dee Dee was a master at writing those sorts of songs and could churn them out one after another without much problem at all.
This was written by the entire band and is a love song of sorts. Legend has it that it was originally supposed to be called "Rocket to Russia" and had completely different lyrics, but the band changed it and that's how the album got its title. I'm not entirely sure what the song is all about but I would imagine it's got something to do with a groupie who used to hang around.
This is an excellent song with a fast tempo. It was originally recorded by Trash Man, but I do prefer the Ramones version more than that, because it stays true to the original yet done in that classic Ramones way, and Joey puts so much effort into singing it - so much so that it's sometimes difficult to tell which version is which. This is definitely a highlight on any album and one of my favourites of all time. A silly song it may be, but you wouldn't knock it for its brilliance.
Why is it Always This Way?
This is a song where the music sounds a lot like what the Monkees did back in the 1960s. The guitars are what you'd expect from the Ramones, but I do get that classic pop vibe going on with it, too. It's a song about how someone went down the wrong track in life and died as a result of it, which is ironic because that's exactly what happened to Dee Dee in 2002 when he overdosed on heroin.
This is a song which didn't make it onto the "Rocket to Russia" album but did make an appearance when it was released as an expanded version in 2001. I knew it was written by Joey Ramone as soon as I heard it but confirmed it anyway. It's another of those tracks on which Joey's harmony shines through, and you can't fault his dedication in trying to instill some pop aspects into the Ramones' music. In fact, I can hear a little of Dion's "Runaround Sue" in there, if you like that sort of thing.
I Want You Around
This is an acoustic song with a pop sound of the 1960s that Joey sings with style. The song didn't appear on any Ramones album but did appear on the soundtrack to the "Rock 'n' Roll High School" film, released in 1979. Although Phil Spector didn't produce the song, he did remix it specifically for the film's soundtrack.
I Just Want to Have Something to Do
We get the album off to a good start with quite possibly the best song off the album, but I think that's just because Joey manages to get the line "eating chicken vindaloo" into the song. I do like the very catchy chorus, too, even if it is mainly just Joey singing "tonight" over and over. It's a song about hanging out with friends but having nothing to do because of poverty.
I Wanted Everything
This is a song that was written by Dee Dee about his younger days in Queens as a delivery boy and how he thought this was going to be just the first step on the ladder to a career. There's some nice guitar playing on this song and we get a first taste of Marky's drumming style which would become a staple diet of the Ramones over the years.
Don't Come Close
This is a slower song with acoustic tones and Dee Dee's bass lines can be enjoyed to the full. The song has a surprising solo near the end, which is not heard much on many Ramones songs at all. It's not a song I like too much because of its lack of pace but it's still an important record in the history of the band and it's not one that I skip when it's played.
I Don't Want You
This takes us back to punk rock chords and is basically a love song with the narrator saying he's damned if he does, and damned if he don't, as the woman he had was cheating on him and he'd had enough. It's a song which is meant to sound serene but I think it's a good cheerful song which is practically the opposite of what it wanted to achieve.
Needles and Pins
This is a 1963 song originally recorded by Jackie DeShannon but more famously recorded by the Searchers, Cher and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. It was written by Sonny Bono and Jack Nitzsche and the Ramones try to keep to the original sound as much as possible. The guitars aren't loud and Joey's vocals are subdued compared to other songs on the album. I could definitely think of better songs to cover and I'm not sure why this one was chosen.
I'm Against It
This is in the classic Ramones three chord guitar mould with an upbeat tempo. It's a song about how the band isn't taking criticism of the punk rock scene too seriously, with the lyrics suggesting all the things that people don't like. It's very tongue in cheek but it gets the point across that you can't like everything and if you pretend to, you're going to be found out very quickly indeed.
I Wanna be Sedated
This is an absolute classic of a song with a an excellent slab of punk rock that deals with the constant pressures of touring the world and how Joey in particular was burning out and needed a break. This is one of the best Ramones songs ever, and easily the best on the album. The video to the song has the band sat at a table while chaos resumes all around them.
Next up is a continuation of the theme of being institutionalised that Joey writes a lot about. This time the narrator has been released from a mental hospital, even though he doesn't think he's ready for it. I like the guitar sound on this song and Joey's style of singing changes a little but a little for the better as he's trying to make it sound like he's the narrator on the verge of cracking up.
This has Johnny doing something different as he plays acoustic guitar and slide guitar on different parts. It's a love song of sorts, with the narrator saying he's doing well after losing his girl and his boss even thinks so but once he sees her again it all starts to go downhill. It's not amongst my favourites but then again I always did prefer the faster songs.
She's the One
This is one of the heaviest songs on the album but you also get tones of the Beach Boys dropping in on another Ramones song again, and this is definitely one of my favourites. Lyrically, it's pretty obvious what it's all about, in that the narrator has found his one true love. It's a pleasure to hear Dee Dee and Johnny in unison on the guitars here.
The song continues hitting the punk rock punchbag with a cheery song that has all the right ingredients. The narrator is talking about his past life but one day he's walking down Bowery in Manhattan (where the legendary CBGBs was) and he has no idea who he is. This is a clever song with some great guitar playing, but not one you'd hear live much.
It's a Long Way Back
This is a song written by Dee Dee about how when he moved back to the United States, he noticed that he was far away from where his dad was stationed in an army base in Germany. There are only four lines in the whole song but you get a sense of how Dee Dee was feeling at the time.
I Don't Want to Live This Life (Anymore)
This is a song which is based around a poem written by the Sex Pistol's Sid Vicious which goes like this:
"You were my little baby girl,
And I shared all your fears.
Such joy to hold you in my arms
and kiss away your tears.
But now you're gone, there's only pain
and nothing I can do.
And I don't want to live this life,
If I can't live for you.
To my beautiful baby girl.
Our love will never die..."
It's a poignant poem and I can't help but share Sid's remorse when he found the love of his life, Nancy Spungen, dead in their hotel room from a single stab wound. Sid insisted he didn't kill her but we'll never know the true story as he died of a heroin overdose just four months later.
This is a rough and ready song with a rock 'n' roll sound to it. So much so that it sounds a lot like "She's the One" which did make it onto an album. What you get here is a demo version of something which initially ended up on the cutting floor but somehow made it on this compilation. It's not brilliant if I'm honest, but here it is.
To be honest, there's not much else I can elaborate on from the previous volume which I haven't already said there. Again, you get two albums' worth of material, practically all of it you've heard before save a couple of demo tracks and that's your lot. As I also said before, you'd be better off to just go out and buy the two albums these come off, "Rocket to Russia" and "Road to Ruin", but if, like me, you're a die-hard fan of the band, you're going to need this compilation to keep your collection going.
1. Cretin Hop
2. Rockaway Beach
3. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
4. Locket Love
5. I Don't Care
6. Sheena is a Punk Rocker
7. We're a Happy Family
8. Teenage Lobotomy
9. Do You Wanna Dance?
10. I Wanna be Well
11. I Can't Give You Anything
13. Surfin' Bird
14. Why is it Always This Way?
16. I Want You Around
17. I Just Want to Have Something to Do
18. I Wanted Everything
19. Don't Come Close
20. I Don't Want You
21. Needles and Pins
22. I'm Against It
23. I Wanna be Sedated
24. Go Mental
26. She's the One
27. Bad Brain
28. It's a Long Way Back
29. I Don't Want to Live This Life (Anymore)
30. Yea, Yea
My rating: 7/10