There’s always been a major fault in every ‘Ramones’ compilation I’ve picked up and played. ‘Ramones Mania' had absolutely no flow and sounded as if it had no thought put into it whatsoever. ‘The Chrysalis years’ was just three discs of the mere weaker Ramones tracks, and The ‘Rock Legends’ compilation just had no idea at all. However, after the tragic deaths of Joey and Dee Dee, there were no more complications on how to close the book on ‘The Ramones’ legacy. Some would say that the official anthology did that, but who can honestly say they can happily play through the entire second disc without skipping every other track? This is where Johnny stepped in. he compiled an album that had chronological flow, only the most ground-breaking, innovative, original and rocking ‘Ramones’ songs to ever grace the Earth. This is ‘Loud, Fast Ramones’.
The album spans the ‘Ramones’ entire career, with tracks from 1976’s self-titled debut, all the way to 1996’s final studio effort ‘Adios Amigos’. The biggest advantage of compiling an album in this format is that it becomes easier to recognise a bands maturity, and gradual changes in the way in which they write a song. The album launches itself with a whole-hearted “Hey ho, Let’s go!" which has been a signature punk war cry ever since. Starting out with the signature three chord progressions in the legendary ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and ‘Judy is a punk’ we get taken to square one. The tracks that we know we could bash out in our garages with ease, but deep down it’s evident that no one could do it with such aggression, such passion and such soul as ‘The Ramones’. Next we come to ‘Leave Home’. Slightly more effort went into the production of these recordings, and sadly Johnny’s guitar is somewhat inaudible and tampered with, yet the songs remain the same. Tracks such as ‘Glad to see you go’, ‘Commando’ and Pinhead boast beautiful pop-punk sounds with a large pinch of plain coolness, spawning from Pinhead’s “Gabba Gabba Hey!"
All the classic tracks are included, but they seem crisper and slightly re-mastered. Teenage Lobotomy has never sounded better, as if it was recorded a week ago and the delicious muting in ‘I wanna be sedated’ is more satisfying than tea and toast. Unfortunately, two songs from the ‘Road to Ruin’ period do slightly disrupt the overall flow of the album, with ‘ I’m against it’ and ‘I wanted everything’. Never fear though, it soon picks up the pace again with four more fantastic consecutive tracks. ‘Rock ‘n’ roll High School’ does a great job at beating our brains to mush with the pounding of Marky’s bass drum, ‘Do you remember rock ‘n’ roll radio?’ is a blast from the past, hugely reminiscent of 50’s rock ‘n’ roll. ‘The KKK took my baby Away’ is a tremendous track to keep us tuned in past the halfway point, and ‘Psycho Therapy’ is just the icing on the cake really’.
The final ten tracks don’t offer nearly as much pleasure as the first twenty, but there are still a good handful of solid songs to come. Such as the skull splitting, anger-charged ‘Wart hog’, the nicely arpeggiated ‘I wanna Live’ and the 80’s electro pop sounds of ‘I believe in Miracles’. The final song is somewhat of a major disappointment though. ‘The Crusher’ is a downright embarrassing song that just doesn’t do the Ramones any justice. It could’ve easily been ‘She talks to rainbows’.
Johnny wanted this record to be purely Ramones material, to show the world what they could do, and what they did achieve in those twenty-two years. This means that none of the Ramones awesome cover songs that found a place on their studio albums didn’t make the cut for this compilation. Though it seems slightly incomplete without ‘California Sun’, this record is a great way to start your Ramones collection.