June 17, 2007

Seems I was just a tad either too young or too insulated popular music-wise to be a fan of the legendary rock band the Doors during their heyday when pop icon Jim Morrison was their leader and still alive. My first exposure was probably the tune “Love Her Madly”, from their “L.A. Woman” album released in early ’71, and that was only because my brother Mark brought home the 45 RPM single. I thought it was OK, but I was more into my Beatles and Phil Spector phase more than anything else.

I didn’t miss the first real wave of Doors mania that occurred in the late ’70s and early ’80s, however. Fueled by the best-selling biography of Morrison by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugarman, “No One Here Gets Out Alive”, the Doors became in vogue once again, and I discovered their music in a new way. During this time, I picked up a fine compilation album called “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine”, and it quickly became one of my favorite albums. I didn’t know it at the time, but, while “Weird Scenes” included selections that spanned the Doors’ entire career, it was cuts from their last two albums, “Morrison Hotel” and “L.A. Woman” that caught my fancy more than anything.

There’s a New Orleans connection here. Last year, while I was in New Orleans spending a day in the French Quarter, I found myself at the inside bar at Pat O’Briens dropping bills into a jukebox while a bunch of disinterested customers lazily watched a Cincinnati Bengals/Green Bay Packers exhibition game. The bar was dead – dead, that is, until I plunked on a few of my favorite cuts I remembered from “Weird Scenes” such as “Land Ho!”, “Ship of Fools”, and “Roadhouse Blues” from “Morrison Hotel”, and “Riders on the Storm” and “Texas Radio and the Big Beat” from “L.A. Woman”. Hearing those tunes once again rekindled my affection for those two albums, and I’m pleased to say I received them last week in all their remixed, digital glory. These albums reveal the Doors in all their gritty, boozy, and bluesy barroom glory; there’s nothing fancy here – the band having decided to forever cast aside the days of Morrison’s pretty-boy pop icon singing pop tunes with horns and strings for Top 40 AM stations.

The surviving members of the Doors supervised the mixes of both of these albums, and all I can tell you is they sound fab. If you’re a fan – rabid or casual – of the Doors and you don’t have these discs, y’oughta get ’em, and quick. It’s unabashed and unadorned rock and roll they it oughta be, and I’m a fan of the band all over again.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:48 | Comments (0)
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