Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The subject of today's post is...rock and roll. I am going to go ahead and assume that this is a well-traveled path of many a music-blogger. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that I, once again, am taking the easy way out and escaping any sense of originality. In my own defense as you disinterestedly veer your browsers away to an amateur porn site to assuage your nightly needs, remember that here are The Liberace Sequence we strive to mesmerize your musical sense with tantalizing rocknroll landscapes.
Now for the body: punk rock covers of rock and roll standards!
Well, more specifically we are going to investigate the Ramones' cover of 'Do You Wanna Dance,' and we are also going to survey The Dictators' version of 'California Sun.'
The most noteworthy difference between these two covers involve the production embellishments on the drums. The Ramones adhere to their stripped down, raw, mechanical drum beats iconic of 'punk' rock, which set the standard for acts to come. The Dictator's on the other hand use a slap-back effects on the toms as a kind of nod to the surf rock genre. Also, the 16th note skitter of the high-hat's on the Dictator's cover contribute to the diversity of texture on this seemingly 'stripped' rock n' roll standard. Dick Manitoba's voice is also shrouded in a slap-back effect, thus making his voice seem as large as his stage presence.
The winner of the battle is undoubtedly The Ramones. The longevity of their career alone sets them above The Dictators. The Ramones cover is better because it absorbs this rock n' roll standard almost seamlessly into their oeuvre, in other words it is almost indistinguishable from their own compositions. That is not to say that The Dictators are inferior. In fact, they are the most underacted band of this genre (bet you've never heard me say that before). Their primacy of their music as it relates to the foundations of punk provide them with enough credibility in that their example adequately constructed a template for 'punk.' In their song 'Teengenerate' The lead guitar riff is somewhat of an influence to the likes of Mick Jones and Brian James. They are almost as important as Television in the evolution of American Rock n' Roll. Similarly, The Ramones adhered to their template throughout their entire career, which in part may be influenced by The Dictators. Occasionally, they would succumb to the eighties and use synthesizers. This did not compromise their sound entirely, instead it would reflect the sound of New York during that era (e.g. The Cars). All in all both bands have impressive discographies, both pack with seminal rock and roll album. Not half bad!

p.s. Click on the links to download the songs
p.p.s. 'California Sun' was written by Henry Glover and 'Do You Wanna Dance' was written by Bobby Freeman.

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