Friday, February 1, 2013

THE RAMONES' OTHER DEBUT ALBUM

The Brothers are absolutely my favorite band, and I often refer to the first album as THE 14 COMMANDMENTS. The nature of its odd (practically ANTI-) production has become a central part of the mystique- thin, dry, trebly, practically no outside instrument embellishment or solos, brutal stereo separation of the bass & guitar, little 'protection' for Joey's (and others') vokes. Its primitivism is often cited as an ideal match to the band's aesthetic approach.

In fact even the meager cost of recording (six grand or so) is often touted as evidence of their simple precision. (I know, doesn't seem too meager to me either. They mean meager compared to the cost of  Fleetwood Mac producing TUSK.)

These notions, however, are obliterated upon hearing the cheap demos recorded by manager Marty Thau & the band in 1975. Crunchy and charged, these recordings make the six grand spent on THE RAMONES seem like a dubious extravagance, and in retrospect later several members noted the earlier tries' superior sound and feel to the subsequent 'real' recordings. A majority of the debut record's tracks were tried out, as well as a few that made it to LEAVE HOME (and even LATER!) and a couple of awesome tunes which went unreleased for years.

With most of these tracks so readily available via youtubin' I thought it might be fun to assemble them here, duplicating the original track order as closely as possible. The crucial, iconic openers weren't attempted (Blitzkrieg Bop & Beat on the Brat), but otherwise much of the flow has been maintained. Threw on some other extras at the end too. ENJOY!



1. I DON'T WANNA BE LEARNED/ I DON'T WANNA BE TAMED--A good place to start, a song which distills their primitive power down to it's purest essence. Until DURANGO 95 came along, much later, that is.






2. I DON'T CARE--The only one of these demos held back for ROCKET TO RUSSIA, their 3rd. Many of these tracks feature far more more relaxed and expressive vocals from Joey, and this is a good example.






3. JUDY IS A PUNK--The heavier, but simultaneously somehow more bubblegummy sound they would later overtly attempt on their 2nd LEAVE HOME is evident all over these tracks.





4. I WANNA BE YOUR BOYFRIEND--They give it a go in C before trying it in D (see 16) and then ending up in E on the record. Shoulda left it where it was.





5.CHAINSAW--EASILY the toughest of these songs for me to track down, REAL big thanx to D. Segal, there's a link to his cool site at the bottom. No buzzsaw intro, but KILLER!


RAMONES Chainsaw demo



6. NOW I WANNA SNIFF SOME GLUE--Extra fancy guitar pickin' from Johnny!





7. I DON'T WANNA GO DOWN TO THE BASEMENT--I'd be hard pressed to not call this superior to the album version.





8. LOUDMOUTH--A bit tentative perhaps, but great clarity on DeeDee's bass.





9.YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE OPENED THAT DOOR--Neither HAVANA AFFAIR nor LISTEN TO MY HEART were attempted, but here's a good stab at what ended up being one of LEAVE HOME's less well mixed tracks. They struggle briefly with the oddly timed intro.






10. I CAN'T BE--The other gem which, along with LEARNED/TAMED never made it on to any of the bros' records. The central riff to CHINESE ROCK makes an early appearance, and DIG the cool montage of vintage Bob Gruen and Danny Fields pix from period music mags!





11. 53RD AND 3RD--GREAT vokes from DeeDee throughout, and the fat mix shows Tommy's drumming to great advantage. Great tom sound and eccentric hihat pulloffs.




12. YOU'RE GONNA KILL THAT GIRL--LET'S DANCE was not attempted, but this similarly early 60s flavored original was, so it'll take it's place. Bass heavy, but a fun alternative to the LEAVE HOME version, which is voke heavy, amongst other problems. Still strong enough to coax SIRE to offer a single contract to the band for this song, an offer they rejected, holding out for an lp deal.

Click here to listen:
YOU'RE GONNA KILL THAT GIRL demo



13. I DON'T WANNA WALK AROUND WITH YOU--One of this collection's strongest finds, an unbelievably awesome sonic barrage.




14. TODAY YOUR LOVE, TOMORROW THE WORLD--Our alternate '14 commandments' comes to a powerful end, uncensored lyrics and all.


Click here to listen:
TODAY YOUR LOVE TOMORROW THE WORLD demo






15. JUDY IS A PUNK--Another poppier attempt.






16. I WANNA BE YOUR BOYFRIEND--This time trying it in D, somewhat more polished.






17. WHAT'S YOUR GAME--This was the only Marty Thau demo that didn't fit too well into the construct of what I was aiming for, and it's only online via tumblr with kinda dicey sound, so I've saved it for the end. Nonetheless, serious thanx to wienerherzog for putting it up, his link is below as well.

WHAT'S YOUR GAME demo via wienerherzog





I'd like to thank all of the youtube posters of this precious material. I know some of these links might not work on phones, but several of the clips were too cool to not get the nod.

Also thanx to D Segal for unhesitatingly supplying the final link to the puzzle. Here's a link to his RAMONES/MISFITS page.  RAMONES AND MISFITS COLLECTION

Plus kudos to wienerherzog for supplying the OTHER tough one. Here's his tumblr: HUMAN HIGHWAY

 Special thanx to Mullin for massive nerdbox support.



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HERE IS A LINK TO MY NEW BLOG-- A TRACK BY TRACK RAMONES CAREER OVERVIEW!!

RAMONES--HUMMING A SICKENING TUNE: An Overview
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Here's two RAMONES related sites I like:

BLITZKRIEG'S PSYCHOTHERAPY BOP

RAMONES WORLD WIDE GROUP HEY HO LET'S GO




Here's a link to MY tumblr--TRUCKSTOP'S TRUCKSTOP