Thursday, 31 May 2018
The Ramones - Leave Home (1977)
Released January 1977
Recorded at Sundragon Studios, New York City
Do the words "Ramones" and "Remastering" have any real relationship? The studio work of The Ramones is probably the least in need of remastering of any band. That said, there is a full, bassy warmth to this latest remastering that has not been there before and serves as a counter to the full-on guitar of most of the tracks.
Released in early 1977, this was the album where the formula from the iconic, breakthrough debut album was improved upon a bit, in terms of studio and production levels. It doesn't lose any of the first album's rough and ready power though. Just a bit more polished and some of the songs a bit more tuneful. Why there's even a couple of semi-ballads in there in "I Remember You" and "What's Your Game". Surf pop is there in "California Sun", "Oh Oh I Love Her So" and "Swallow My Pride". There is the goofy "Suzy Is A Headbanger", "Pinhead" and the full on 1-2-3-4 thrash of "Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy", "Glad To See You Go" and "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment". I remember first hearing the line "I Met Her At The Burger King" in "Oh Oh I Love Her So". I didn't know what a "Burger King" was!
The other versions of the album you get here - the "40th Anniversary mix" and the "Sundragon rough mixes" are both appealing in their own way. I am not quite sure how they differ from each other, particularly the "40th Anniversary mix". I really cannot detect much difference, if I am truly honest! In relation to the original album, I find the "Sundragon Tracking Mixes" just a bit "rougher", more bassy, more "drummy" - more defined somehow. Maybe a tiny bit more melodic. Again, not sure what the differences really are, but they are there. The alternative versions are worth listening to. Very similar to those on "Rocket To Russia".
The extras - instrumental versions, demos versions, alternate lyric versions are of only initial interest to me and no more, I'm afraid. The live stuff is as you would expect - rough and ready, but that what a Ramones gig was like. Not an "audiophile" in sight. Thank God.
All in all, though, if you a fan, you will still want to get it. If you just want the original album, download the individual tracks.