Monday, April 15, 2013


It would be tough to slide a sheet of paper between LET'S DANCE ending and I DON'T WANNA WALK AROUND WITH YOU beginning, to cop a phrase from JOE STRUMMER. A quick, tight edit accurately mimics the nonstop barrage the band will soon be perfecting in their live sets.

One of the RAMONES' earliest compositions, this track finds the band flaunting the power of raw simplicity with surprising assurance. It's easy to imagine their initial struggle to come up with material in spite of their limitations (and perhaps more importantly, their self-awareness of said limitations.) However, utilizing only four chords over three parts (E-G-A-D) and less than 15 words over three lines, the group alchemy, even early on, inverts amateurishness' drawbacks into assertive, driving strengths.

With their template perhaps not yet so rigidly mapped out, a few uncharacteristic details are conspicuous. JOHNNY kicks off in open E, and plays other chords open whenever it will add to the tune's watery heaviness. He also takes a brief 'solo,' although it--like the one note lead which will later appear on I WANNA BE SEDATED-- is so primitive as to almost represent an anti-solo. The single, 'choked' bent note on E isn't even followed by the expected A release, such is the baffling purity of their odd approach. DEEDEE, on the other hand, is unprecedentedly busy, embellishing snaky riffs around the wide changes. His flourishes throughout the verses' vocals, swinging up to the bass' high end (even further than he normally prefers!) surely represent the lp's most adventurous playing.

JOEY is in fine form throughout (he even throws in a RINGO STARR-ish 'Alright!' before the break), and the background vocals are particularly strong. A second rhythm guitar is wisely added to the mix, accentuating the menace of the feedback drenched drone (although the heaviness of the demo remains unmatched--see RAMONES: THE EARLY DEMOS.) This also comes to play at the song's conclusion, as the guitars ring until DEEDEE's countoff for the next track, another thrilling approximation of their stage segues. The marriage to the debut's closer, TODAY YOUR LOVE, TOMORROW THE WORLD is cunning: the exciting jump 'up' to the key of C bursts into that track's principle progression, a downward C-G-E which seems to knowingly reflect the previous song's upward E-G-A foundation- and also applies the coziness of the now familiar open E.


Photo by Roberta Bayley

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