Joey Ramone – Ya Know

Who would expect that after ten years from Ramones’ emblematic frontman’s, Joey,  demise there would have been another solo album. Because, if “Don’t Worry About Me” release was scheduled, and the recordings took place in order to be included in the album, on “Ya Know” things were way too different.

Mikey Leigh, Joey’s brother collected a lot of the singer’s recordings and with the helping hand of others, some very popular musicians among them (Joan Jett, Steven Van Zandt, Richie Ramone, Holly Beth Vincent, Genya Ravan), made that album. Of course, the first thought that comes to mind before such an attempt is not positive at all, and that’s perfectly reasonable. However, listening to the album it’s amazing how complete these songs sound, while some compositions bring out some of Joey’s facets that it would have never been possible to show on a Ramones album. Because, if you think that “Ya Know” is a bona fide punk rock album, you are fooling yourselves. “Waiting For That Railroad” has southern/country roots and its style fits Joey like a glove. “I Couldn’t Sleep Last Night” shows a rockabilly influence, and it’s a straight reference to the King of Rock’n’Roll. Of course, there are those songs that sound like the Ramones, but they lack Johnny’s guitar, and of course Dee Dee’s composing intensity.
In general, despite the initial negative intentions, after listening to the album you might get fooled that this is a proper album, since it seems that Mickey Leigh spent loads of hours working on the tracks, and Joey’s recordings are of great quality. As a matter of fact it was no coincidence that Ed Stasium, Jean Beauvoir and Daniel Del Ray, all of them had worked with the Ramones, gave a hand on the album’s productions. And imagine that this is not all the material Mickey has in his possession…