The Ramones: Joey Ramone (vocals); Johnny Ramone (guitar); Dee Dee Ramone (bass, background vocals); Tommy Ramone (drums). Producers: Tony Bongiovi, T. Erdelyi. Reissue producers: Bill Inglot, Gary Stewart. Engineers: Ed Stasium, Don Berman. Principally recorded at Media Sound, New York, New York. Includes liner notes by Legs McNeil and Arturo Vega. Digitally remastered by Dan Hersch and Bill Inglot (Digiprep). The third of the Ramones' original quartet of albums, 1977's ROCKET TO RUSSIA is actually a big improvement over the slightly disappointing LEAVE HOME, released earlier in 1977. While not as solidly perfect as RAMONES, ROCKET TO RUSSIA contains very little fat and boasts possibly the finest songs in the band's entire repertoire, "Rockaway Beach" and the immortal "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker." "We're a Happy Family" and "Teenage Lobotomy" are only slightly lesser tracks, and the covers of the Trashmen's gloriously silly "Surfin' Bird" and Bobby Freeman's "Do You Wanna Dance" are conceptually perfect, linking the Ramones neatly with their garage rock and bubblegum roots. The bonus tracks on the 2001 Rhino reissue are less revelatory than the 1976 concert contained on the LEAVE HOME reissue, a motley but entertaining collection of demos, single mixes and one B-side, "It's a Long Way Back to Germany," but this disc's carefully remastered sound makes it sound better than all previous incarnations of the album, highlighting the extent to which the cleaner production complements the group's poppier, slightly more complex new songs.