Sunday, May 27, 2012

Joey Ramone: Ya Know, 2012

Joey Ramone has risen from the dead. Joey's brother Mickey Leigh and his producer Ed Stasium have a gathered a small army of Joey's musical peers to resurrect a series of demos Joey recorded over the last half of his career. The list of contributors is as long as your arm; Joan Jett, Andy Shernoff (and Handsome Dick Manitoba) of the Dictators, Jean Beavoir (and Richie Stotts) of the The Plasmatics, Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick, Denni Diken of The Smithereens, Steve Van Zandt of Springsteen's E-Street Band, Lenny Kaye of Patti Smith's group and in a touching move, exiled Ramone Richie plays on a good chunk of ...Ya Know. (Stream here)

The astonishing thing is how gracefully this Frankenstein monster moves. From the coutry-ish "Waiting for That Railroad" to the power-poppin' of "What Did I Do To Deserve You" to the the glam-rocking-ness of "Rock n' Roll is the Answer" to the rockabilly-tingeed "I Couldn't Sleep" this album is proof positive of the vastness of Joey's talents as song-writer and performer. Sure there's moments where you can hear the stitches threatening to pop (Stasium & co. used only the vocals from the demos and re-recorded everything else) but that doesn't change how much this album sounds..well...ya know...alive!

Two questions:
Whaddya think of 'Ya Know'?
Do ya wanna hear some Joey rarities?
That's what the COMMENTS section is for.

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  1. Cheers...the mighty,legendary Ramones is my all time favourite band particulary in their ealy days...and I'd rather prefear stuff from that time,but this part of history got some nice moments...PUNK is the teacher,RAMONES is the preacher!

    1. AMEN!
      You know the older I get the more I appreciate latter day Ramones-related stuff.

  2. I am loving Ya Know!! Had it for about 2 weeks now and playing it constantly. Would love to hear hear any and all rarities related to Joey's side projects or with the Ramones!!

    1. Glad you're liking YK too - rarities are coming!

  3. Ramones are my fave. Wouldn't have known about this, haven't visited MRML for a while. Songs are good. I always felt Joey had a wider sense of musical style. Can't wait get my hands on this.

    Hi, Joey.


    1. Yeah showing Joey's range was the goal here and I say they did well.

  4. Thanks very much for suggesting this. I'm enjoying the stream as I write. It's great to hear Joey's many influences come out in this album.

    1. I'm glad the stream worked - I always try to have ways of letting people HEAR the music.

  5. Ordered this from amazon yesterday.can't wait to get it.fave track is probably new York city.haven't made up my mind about the alt. version of merry Christmas yet!

    1. Just purchased my copy yesterday and I'm feeling real good about it!

  6. I found it a real mixed bag.

    "Rock 'N Roll Is The Answer"
    Yes, yes it is. You're preaching to the choir here.

    "Going Nowhere Fast"
    Not an auspicious title so early on in an album. I *do* deserve better, baby. I'm liking it though...

    "New York City"
    The NYC marketing board needed a new song, apparently. Were Steve Karmen and Milt Glasser credited anywhere on this track?

    The less said about "Waiting for That Railroad", the better. It is tedious at best.

    "I Couldn't Sleep"
    And you won't be able to sit still either, listening to this absolute pop gem!

    "What Did I Do To Deserve This"
    Enjoyed this one in utter blissful ignorance of it's portentous lyrics.

    "Seven Days of Gloom"
    The lyrics ring true for me, and the disappointment that this album seems to be, sets in for a week...

    "Eyes of Green"
    Jealousy, baby! Or infidelity? What is this song about? I'm *so* confused!

    "Party Line"
    This is awesome. Best song on the album! I wish there had been more duets with Joey...

    ...I also wish there was less re-visiting of seasonal crap like the following track.

    Anyhow, skipping that vile PoS and on to:
    "21st Century Girl"
    Simple lust.
    Add Joan Jett and it gets deliciously complex.

    "There's Got To Be More To Life"
    ...and to the resurrection of 10 year old demo tracks one of the singers I love. Audible sigh of disappointment can be heard around the 1:36 minute mark. Or was that just me?

    "Make Me Tremble" did just that.
    Then the hand-claps made my cringe. And the wood blocks and la-la, la-la-la's kind of finished me off...

    "Cabin Fever"
    I should have just skipped this track, baby, baby, ooo-ooohhh!

    "Life's A Gas" I'm always down with a cover.

    Wait a minute, this isn't Life's A Gas by Bolan! It's that track from Adios Amigos! It's simpler and catchier. A bit more uplifting, too...
    However, wind chimes, on principle, just piss me off, so that kind of torpedoed any immediate love I had for this track. Damn.

    All in all, I'm quite a bit disappointed ...ya know? ★★☆☆☆

    And yes Jeffen, I would like to hear some more Joey rarities.

    1. *"What Did I Do To Deserve YOU"
      Enjoyed this one in utter blissful ignorance of its less-than portentous lyrics.

    2. It's a "mixed bag" for sure but I like the little prizes therein. "Waiting for That Railroad" worked for me but I liked the all the early sixties-ishness, including that song's folk-pop and some of the other tracks blatant Spector-ness. The project echoes End of the Century frequently, which puts a smile on my face.
      Thanks for the amusing review!

  7. Wow, I'd heard this album was crap, but "What Did I Do" is a friggin' great song.

    1. Yeah that's why I led with that song rather then the kinda turgid "Rock n' Roll is the Answer". I will say while it is an album for the devout, like yours truly, there's enough cool songs (or pieces of songs) that most Ramones admirers could find something to appreciate.

  8. I checked out a few more "Ya Know?" tracks after reading this post and my only problem was regarding individual song lengths. Most of the tunes I heard stood up to, if not surpassed, the quality of material on "Don't Worry About Me" but why would any of them have to be over three minutes long? One of beautiful elements of pop punk, power pop, etc. is it's ability to not wear out it's welcome - to hit you with it's best shot (as it were) and then disappear into the night leaving only a catchy melody to bounce around inside your skull for the rest of your waking hours. Maybe The Contributors felt the need to stretch things out or maybe Joey's original demos were just a tad long winded? Whatever the case, a little editing for length would have gone a long way is all I'm sayin'.

    Speaking of which, this is a bloody long comment.


    1. Gotta agree on both fronts: songs are often great, lengths are problematic. Take "Waiting for That Railroad", it's one chorus, a verse and a pleasing whoah-oh-oh part and the gang make it break the four minute mark. Brevity is a part of Joey's legacy too.


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