Deep Roots of the Ramones compiles songs from bands both pre-punk and protopunk, aiming to cite the influence these early bands would have on the Ramones and the sound they would craft early on and stick pretty diligently to for the remainder of their 22-year existence. The compilation includes stand-out tracks from raw rockers like the MC5, Iggy & the Stooges, and Flamin' Groovies, as well as early rockabilly and hillbilly rock from acts like Gene Vincent and Chet Atkins. Inclusion of tracks from Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers and New York Dolls don't really fall under the scope of influential artists as much as contemporaries. Deep Roots seems to willfully ignore the fact that the Ramones' entire songwriting formula was based on classic girl group melodies and repetitive '60s bubblegum pop injected with fuzzy guitars and played twice as fast. Having Phil Spector famously produce an album was no accident, after all. This testosterone-heavy comp leaves out any of the more kind-hearted sounds that actually bore some influence on the Ramones, replacing them with filler or vaguely related content. While the inclusion of a rare recording of the Ramones themselves covering "Street Fighting Man" by the Stones with Walter Lure singing lead is nice enough, Action Pact!'s cover of "Rockaway Beach" is baffling to the point of annoying. While not a bad set of tunes, Deep Roots as it was intended is overall off-base, disjointed, and unnecessary, failing at having much to do with the roots of the Ramones at all.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas