While we have all heard the first Ramones album, Road to Ruin and Rocket To Russia, Leave Home seems to be the one no one ever talks about. With such classics as Carbona Not Glue, Gimmie Gimmie Shock Treatment, California Sun, Pinhead and You Should Never Have Opened That Door, this album fires off like a cannon and never gives up! You could listen to it on repeat a dozen times and it still retains the fun and excitement as the first. Gabba! Gabba! Hey!
As fine as it is -- and it's a really entertaining record, especially in retrospect -- the Ramones' second album, Leave Home, isn't as good as their first, largely because they no longer had the shock of the new. That can't be said of Rhino's 2001 expanded reissue of the record, since it trumps the reissue of Ramones in its bonus material. Where that record had eight bonus cuts, nearly all demos, this has a full 16-track concert recorded live at the Roxy in Hollywood on August 12, 1976. This is a superior bonus since even if it doesn't have the breakneck quality of It's Alive, it's still terrific to hear the Ramones tearing through their set list at their prime. They're not quite as fast or reckless as their reputation would lead you to believe -- as soon as hardcore came around, they started seeming not nearly as fast -- but it's still a spirited, vigorous performance that makes this expanded edition quite special. Of course, in addition to the concert, Leave Home is given a 20-page booklet, filled with full artwork, lyrics, rare photos, and memorabilia, plus notes from Donna Gaines. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi