Album Review – Ramones – Leave Home (40th Anniversary) (RHINO)
Review by Geoff Jenke
The Ramones self titled debut album stormed out of New York in 1976, filled with 14 classic Ramones tracks including Blitzkrieg Bop, Judy Is A Punk, I Wanna Be your Boyfriend and 53rd and 3rd to name just a few. It was intense, fast and furious and nothing like it had been heard before.
Less than a year later we got the follow up album, Leave Home. This album, with better production than the original didn’t sell as well. Unlike the debut, there are some filler amongst the 14 tracks, although there are genuine Ramones classics in there. Pinhead, Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment and Suzy is a Headbanger remained staple live tracks for their entire career. In fact it was Pinhead that gave them the famous Gabba Gabba Hey line, adorned on T Shirts worldwide ever since the release of this album in 1977. I was lucky enough to see the Ramones around 1980 as Joey walked across Thebarton Theatre stage with a big hand held sign that said Gabba Gabba Hey.
Now we have the 40th Anniversary edition of the album Leave Home, with 80 tracks spread across 3CD’s. First up is the original album, remastered for this edition. The songs sound better and clearer than ever. The song Carbona Not Glue has been restored to the album after being taken off after initial release when manufacturers of the cleaning product Carbona threatened legal action.
The album is fun and yes fast and furious with the longest song Pinhead clocking in at only 2 minutes 44 seconds while 8 songs clock in at around 2 minutes or less. Less is indeed more.
Following the album comes… the album again, this time with the 2017 mix. You would need a pretty good sound system to tell the differences.
Had enough of the album yet? No? Well it comes again, this time with “Sundragon Rough Mixes”. This time there are differences, with mistakes, the band counting in and well, rough versions of the songs on the album.
Still not enough Ramones for you? Next we get a selection of A & B side singles and many different “versions” of songs on the album. We get Bubblegum Mix, Instrumentals, Soda Machine Mix, Sane Mix and Doo Wop Mix just to name a few. But “new” tracks are few with only Babysitter and I Don’t Care the only songs not on the album and both have been released before. They are all interesting to listen to but don’t really add anything to the set other than compiling as many versions of the songs as possible.
The real appeal of the Anniversary set is the Live at CBGB’s album. While not the greatest recording quality, it does show how fast, energetic and brutal a Ramones set was. 19 songs in 39 minutes with many 1-2-3-4’s yelled out between songs. Believe me, they really did play this fast. The tracks are mainly from the first 2 albums with Teenage Lobotomy previewed from their next album Rocket to Russia.
Leave Home was not The Ramones greatest body of work, but still a solid set of songs. However, how many times can you listen to the album in one sitting?
While I enjoyed this Anniversary edition, I eagerly await the Rocket to Russia Anniversary set, hopefully later this year. Now there was a classic album