Ramones [Expanded]

by: Ramones

Rhino's 2001 expanded reissue of the Ramones' seminal debut album would have been welcomed if it had simply brought the original album back in print. It may have been available as part of the wonderful All the Stuff & More, Vol. 1 compilation, but there's nothing like hearing the original album in a concentrated blast of gleeful primitivism -- unless it's hearing it in this expanded form with eight bonus tracks. Apart from the final cut, the single version of "Blitzkrieg Bop," these are all demos, some appearing on All the Stuff & More, some appearing on a 1997 7" on Norton Records, some previously unreleased. It would be misleading to call these bonus cuts revelatory, even if they do confirm the group's affection for pop, but they're all welcome additions to the album, especially since they do contain "I Can't Be" and "I Don't Wanna Be Learned/I Don't Wanna Be Tamed," songs that never made it to Ramones albums, plus early versions of "I Don't Care" and "You Should Never Have Opened That Door." On top of the music is the 20-page booklet, containing full artwork and lyrics, tons of rare photographs, and notes from Donna Gaines. It's a terrific package, and it's not just for the dedicated Ramones or punk fan -- it's essential for any rock library. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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