CD Review: CJ Ramone, The Holy Spell

CJ Ramone has made another post-Ramones record and it rocks! CJ replaced Dee Dee Ramone in 1989. He was in lock up, doing time for deserting The United States Marine Corps, when he got the call from Johnny Ramone to join the band. He was a finger-picking bass player who was a Ramones fan when he showed up for an audition, thinking it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to jam with one of his all time favorite bands. CJ never expected to actually become a Ramone. He wound up being the youngest member of the Ramones, changing his playing style to the same downstroke style as Dee Dee.  He had five weeks to practice before he played his first live Ramones set on September 30, 1989 in Leicester, England.  CJ played bass for The Ramones until the band disbanded in 1996. CJ’s life as a Ramone spanned three studio records (Mondo Bizarro, Acid Easters and Adios Amigos) and three live records (Loco Live, Greatest Hits Live and We’re Outta Here!).

CJ’s post Ramone’s efforts to date include five solo records (Reconquista, Understand Me?, Last Chance To Dance, American Beauty and The Holy Spell).  His brand new, full length album on Fat Wreckords will rock your pop/punk socks off like every Ramones-related record promises. Every track is an anthemic, fist pumping, hook-filled sing-a-long. My first go at this record had me dancing all over the hiking trail to “One High One Low” (I dig the surf beat) and “Crawling From The Wreckage.”  “Moving On” is a personal fave for me…cuz I’ve been moving on.

Get your tissues out for the closer….the moving, inspired rock ode to our beloved Steve Soto of the Adolescents (who we lost suddenly last year and who had worked and played with CJ for years). Soto wrote, produced and played on many of Ramone’s solo efforts dating back to 2012’s Reconquista (CJ Ramones’ first solo record).  “Rock On” will make you rock and weep. It’ll fill that blue, heart-shaped, Soto-sized hole in your heart. We needed this ode…so much.  CJ Ramone was just the guy to give it to us, and it’s a perfect closer for The Holy Spell. Rock On…Steve Soto. Rock On! Rock on CJ Ramone…rock on.

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