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It's a Shame About Ray (Expanded Edition)

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iTunes Review

When It’s a Shame About Ray was originally released in 1992, its twelve original tunes barely clocked in at half an hour. It’s quick, casual, tossed-off nature only enhanced its charm at a time when bands were over-eagerly padding 80-minute CDs. Soon after the album’s release, the Lemonheads cover of Paul Simon’s “Mrs. Robinson” became a modest hit and was appended as a bonus cut to the original album. Now, a b-side “Shaky Ground” and nine demo recordings have been added as well. At first, it’s odd to think these tunes could be more stripped down. The album versions of the masterful pop of  “My Drug Buddy,” “Ceiling Fan in My Soup,” “Bit Part” and the title track all excelled in what felt like bare small-band fashion but these rudimentary demos break things down even further, offering a more intimate look at Evan Dando’s performance abilities (Dando is the one recurring member of the Lemonheads). His effortless grace with a melody makes these tunes deceptive. They may be short, slightly hazy and deliberately vague, but they remain strong and enduring a decade and a half later.

Customer Reviews

Power Pop Masterpiece

Evan dando was one of the best songwriters and underappreciated artists of the 90's. People always talk about Teenage Fan Club and Dinosaur Jr, etc but The Lemonheads were one of the best power pop bands of all time and It's a Shame About Ray was their masterpiece. Every song is brillantly written, executed and played to perfection. Anybody who has ever heard Evan Dando perform solo acoustic knows how great he is by himself, so the acoustic demos here are terrific. It's hard not to like this record and if you don't you really need to question whether or not you like rock and roll or good music for that matter.

Old Memories / New Memories

I've owned this album since it's release in the early '90's. There was no way to guess it then, but it has since made it's way into my life pretty often, and i still have the urge to play it fairly regularly. Listening to it now-a-days brings me back drinking coffee with long lost friends while "Hannah & Gabi" played in the background, having endless summers driving on the beach with "Turnpike.." repeating on the Jeep's cd player, learning how to play "Rudderless" on guitar, and most recently my girlfriend using lines from "Alison's.." in a speech at her sisters wedding. A great buy (made perfect with Juliana Hatfield's backing vox). Just as fresh today as it was years ago.

Snapshot of the 90s, still relevant today

Like its cover art, this album's music feels like a Polaroid snapshot of its time and place--one listen and you'll be imagining loft apartments filled with Doc Martin-wearing gen-Xers, independent coffeehouses with exposed-brick walls (back before anyone outside of Seattle had heard of Starbucks), and slackers wandering around in a mellow heroin haze ("My Drug Buddy"). But unlike most of the other bands that specialized in this style of stripped-down power pop, the Lemonheads still sound as vibrant and relevant as ever. Evan Dando's songs meld catchy melodies with punk-influenced rhythms and unpretentious, vulnerable lyrics. I played my cassette of this album over and over in the nineties...I'm just rediscovering it now, and finding it's every bit as good as I remembered.


Formed: 1986 in Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Lemonheads' evolution from post-Hüsker Dü hardcore punk rockers to teenage heartthrobs is one of the strangest sagas in alternative music. Initially, the group was a punk-pop trio formed by three teenage Boston suburbanites, but over the years, the band became a vehicle for Evan Dando. Blessed with good looks and a warm, sweet voice, Dando became a teen idol in the early '90s, when Nirvana's success made alternative bands commercially viable. While his simple, catchy songs were instantly accessible,...
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