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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Rewind: 1995 - The Ramones Say Goodbye

 Adios Amigos - Ramones
Released 18th July 1995
Radioactive Records
Produced by Daniel Rey
 US Chart #148

The fourteenth and final studio album for the Ramones was released on 18th July 1995 and titled 'Adios Amigos'. Work on the album had begun at the start of the year with Daniel Rey at the controls as Producer. 

It was a sad time because Joey had been diagnosed with incurable lymphatic cancer, though few knew about it because as in all things in Ramones World it was kept a secret.

Johnny had declared that if the album didn't sell enough copies then the band would break up, and in typical fashion the album failed to get out of the lower reaches of the Billboard Top 200 albums (peaking at 148).

Marky, C.Jay, Joey and Johnny

'Adios Amigos' sounds a lot better than the previous releases because at the helm of production was Daniel Rey (he had co-written songs on previous albums with most members of the band). Under his watchful eye the band were able to recapture a little of the magic that made their earlier albums so special.

Five of the tracks are co-written by Dee Dee and Daniel Rey (with a sixth credited to Dee Dee and John Carco - 'Born To Die In Berlin'). Joey contributed two songs, the brilliant 'Life's a Gas' and the even more amazing 'She Talks to Rainbows'. C.Jay had two songs ('Scattergun' and 'Got A Lot To Say') and Marky had co-written one for the final project ('Have a Nice Day'). 

According to the Ramones Wiki page the reason C.Jay got to sing on five (if you include the bonus track 'R.A.M.O.N.E.S.' - originally recorded by Motorhead) was:

"In a reverse decision, many tracks on this album are performed at a slower pace because of Joey's maturing, ailing vocals, a factor the band had acknowledged in previous years. In preceding tours the band had originally played faster with negative reviews of the shows being the result."

But maybe the real reason was that Joey was sick and it was far too much of a strain for him to be able to do a whole albums worth of material.

The album opens with a classic cover version of a Tom Waits song, 'I Don't Want To Grow Up'. It's a song that sets the tone for the rest of the album as they get back to singing perfect pop songs about dysfunction, love and broken hearts.

Dee Dee's songs were interesting. Three of them he had released before ('Makin' Monsters for My Friends' and 'It's Not For Me to Know' had appeared on his 'I Hate Freaks Like You' album and 'The Crusher' was taken from his rap project as Dee Dee King) and each one of them sounded like old school Ramones, none more so than 'Cretin Family'. C.Jay on vocals for all of these sounded more like Dee Dee than Dee Dee did! Shame that his own two songs ('Scattergun' and 'Got A Lot To Say') didn't really make their mark, the same goes for Marky's 'Have A Nice Day'. The other cover on the album is 'I Love You', originally recorded by The Heartbreakers (featuring Johnny Thunders) for their debut 'L.A.M.F.' back in 1977. It doesn't quite have the sleaziness of The Heartbreakers version but it is passable. It's another of my favourite cover versions performed by the Ramones.

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