Tracy Thornton

A Pan for Punks: A Steelpan Tribute to the Ramones

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Heavy metal drummer-turned-steelpan player Tracy Thornton fulfills the title of his album, performing versions of 14 songs from the Ramones catalog. Bass and drums underlie the steel drum playing that traces out the songs' melodies, and Thornton even adds vocal choruses here and there. He is wise to maintain the frantic tempos for the most part, since that keeps the songs recognizable; when he slows down "Pinhead" to a reggae lope, it's hard to tell what song it is. Also, the speedy playing and the calls of "one-two-three" help maintain the punk edge to arrangements that are necessarily sweeter than the Ramones' originals. The band was always more melodic than it was given credit for, and Thornton proves that, even if the disc is essentially a novelty effort that Ramones fans may play for each other for a laugh. (The package includes a DVD containing a black-and-white music video of Thornton playing "Blitzkrieg Bop" in various urban locations.)

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