"Don't Worry About Me" (Sanctuary)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Don't Worry About Me," the final solo album by late punk legend Joey Ramone, never really gets better than its opening track, a cover of the classic tune "What A Wonderful World." With the usual rock-solid approach and the added poignancy of the tune due to Ramone's untimely death, "What a Wonderful World" sets the stage for a unique CD, a CD that is a touching, gentle goodbye from one of rock'n'roll's true pioneers.

With the usual chunky guitars, Ramone's one-of-a-kind vocals and more lead guitar riffs than usual, "Don't Worry About Me" is most notable for its extremely personal songwriting. Ramone writes about his illness (especially insightful is "I Got Knocked Down"), his feelings about violence (especially in schools), his friendship (obsession?) with reporter Maria Bartiromo and much more. Some of the songs even get a little mystical ("Spirit in My House," "Like A Drug I Never Did Before,") and psychedelic ("1969"). And there's the little nod toward the Ramones' "Cretin" songs with a strange little ditty entitled "Mr. Punchy."

It's difficult, if not impossible, to listen to "Don't Worry About Me" without a great deal of sadness. But that's probably the wrong way to listen to this CD. In fact, it's as if Joey recorded it to let us know that he's okay and that life goes on. It's a true look into the mind of a bona fide legend and it should be treasured as the classic it's bound to become.

Performing on "Don't Worry About Me" are Joey Ramone - lead vocals, Daniel Rey - guitars, backing vocals; Andy Shernoff - bass, backing vocals; Franke Funaro - drums; Joe McGinty - keyboards; Marky Ramone. Additional musicians include Captain Sensible - backing vocals on "Mr. Punchy," Dr. Chud - drums on "1969," Jerry Only - bass on "1969," Mickey Leigh - guitar, bass and backing vocals on "Don't Worry About Me," Al Maddy - guitar, bass and backing vocals on "Searching for Something," Helen Love - backing vocals on "Mr. Punchy," Veronica Kofman - backing vocals on "Mr. Punchy."

"Don't Worry About Me" was produced by longtime Ramones producer Daniel Rey.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03 Jun 2024 13:03:49 -0400.