December 21, 2012

…so wrote Jim Morrison of The Doors in their iconic tune “Roadhouse Blues”. Now I’m not really that much into this whole Mayan prophecy bit about the world ending today – if it will end, or is ending as we speak. But hey, I’m up for a catyclysmic event if only to shake things up for a change. With the spirit of Morrison’s sentiments in mind, therefore, here are my top dozen favorite Doors songs, in a very particular order:

12. Peace Frog / Blue Sunday – from Morrison Hotel. Very ’60s sounding, always liked the sweet organ that adorns the background of Blue Sunday.

11. Hyacinth House – from L.A. Woman. Love the guitar and drums in the opening and the bass throughout. Just a funky, very late-60s / early-’70s tune. Reminds me of the music that used to play in the background at the head shop (remember those?) we used to ride our bikes down to in Wilmington center.

10. Love Her Madly – from L.A. Woman. Hearing this song makes me think of my late brother Mark, who brought home the 45 when this song first came out. I wasn’t crazy about it at the time, but he was doing a bit of trailblazing there, I think, while I was still stuck in the Beatles and their initial post-Beatle work. The extended fadeout on the remastered 2007 album version makes the song for me.

9. Touch Me – from The Soft Parade. This was from the period in 1968 when Morrison and band were being savaged by the critics for selling out, but this is a bluesy pop tune with awesome organ and drums highlighted by an electrifying sax solo to close.

8. Horse Latitudes – from Strange Days. Psychedelia reigns! OK, it’s not really a song but I love the imagery in Morrison’s poetry. Real beatnick style stuff I can only begin to wish I had the talent to write:

When the still sea conspires an armor
And her sullen and aborted currents breed tiny monsters
True sailing is dead

Awkward instant And the first animal is jettisoned
Legs furiously pumping their stiff green gallop
And heads bob up Poise, delicate, pause, consent in mute nostril agony
Carefully refined and sealed over

Cool stuff.

7. The End – from The Doors. Iconic, spooky, intense, and surprisingly still fresh-sounding after 45 years, something you can’t say for all Doors music.

6. Riders On The Storm – from L.A. Woman. What’s not to like about this tune? Moody, a little spooky, a great tune with fabulous Morrison lyrics. The song had me from the first sound of rain falling and thunder – what a sucker I am! I remember laying in bed in 1971 listening to WRKO announce that Morrison had been found dead in Paris, and then they played this song. First time I ever heard it. It was a hot muggy July night back in the days before A/C, a night I’ll always remember.

5. (tie) Ship Of Fools and Land Ho! – from Morrison Hotel. Really great tunes, and from Ship Of Fools, truly Mayan-esque prophetic lyrics:

The human race was dyin’ out
Noone left to scream and shout
People walking on the moon
Smog will get you pretty soon

I remember a weekend afternoon in New Orleans and ducking into Pat O’Brien’s on Bourbon Street when it started to thundershower. It was in the bar on the left as you first enter that I planted myself on a stool and watched a boring pre-season NFL game featuring the Cincinnati Bengals (don’t ask me why I remember this) with a crowd of three people. Well, it was so quiet in there that I ambled over to the jukebox and found Morrison Hotel amongst the listings and played these two songs. Ten minutes later, there were guys and chicks in there encouraging to play DJ and I got the place rockin’ and rollin’ with all kinds of vintage stuff – that is, until I got a little too ambitious and took the starch out of the proceedings by playing The Beach Boys’ “Heroes And Villains”. Talk about a momentum killer! It was about time to go anyways. A fun memory…

4. Cars Hiss By My Window – from L.A. Woman. Bluesy. Simple. Fantastic. The title alone is awesome; reminds me growing up on Main Street in Tewksbury, Mass. To this day I still love falling asleep to the sound of traffic on the street, especially after it rains. Don’t get too much of that around here in Gilbert (although the trains that come through around 2 AM every night blowing their whistles at a nearby crossing is nice enough). The title is one of the sounds of growing up, and a memory I’ll always cherish.

3. The Wasp (Texas Radio And The Big Beat) – from L.A. Woman. Not sure what Morrison is trying to say here – maybe the downfall and collapse of Western civilization after a Mayan prophect fulfilled – but it has a great beat and features some very cool poetry:

Some call it heavenly in it’s brilliance
Others, mean and rueful of the Western dream
I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft
We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping
This is the land where the Pharaoh died

The Negroes in the forest brightly feathered
They are saying, “Forget the night.
Live with us in forests of azure.
Out here on the perimeter there are no stars
Out here we is stoned immaculate.”

Listen to this, and I’ll tell you ’bout the heartache
I’ll tell you ’bout the heartache and the loss of God
I’ll tell you ’bout the hopeless night
The meager food for souls forgot
I’ll tell you ’bout the maiden with wrought iron soul

A great tune.

2. L.A. Woman – from L.A. Woman. I love the intro restored in the 2007 remastered version of the album. The song conjures up every mental picture I have of downtown L.A. in Morrison’s day. I remember dragging my friend Paul and his brother down La Cienega Blvd. during a visit in the late ’70s looking for the same bars and strip joints that Morrison frequented. Let me tell ya – it wasn’t as romantic as it sounded. The traffic was awful, and we couldn’t wait to get to haul our asses outta there. Took a long time to live that down – to this day it’s known as the “Hawthorne/La Cienega Blvd. fiasco”. I’ll tell y’all about it in more detail another time. But that’s inspiration for ya…

1. Roadhouse Blues – from Morrison Hotel. Raucous and bluesy, feauturing a cool harmonica and great lyrics. I mean, do they get better than this?

Well, I woke up this morning, I got myself a beer
Well, I woke up this morning, and I got myself a beer
The future’s uncertain, and the end is always near

Hence the inspiration for this post and my favorite Doors tune.

BTW, if you like The Doors and have only heard their stuff on LP or the original CDs, do yourself a favor and get the remastered releases from 2007. It’s like listening to their stuff for the very first time.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:43 | Comments (3)
  1. woke up…check. house intact…check. cats accounted for…check. mom still here…check.
    all is good. No worries about The End. (best song use in a movie EVER…Apocalypse Now) “I love the smell of napalm in the morning…best line in a movie EVER.
    By the way…went to see The Hobbit in the new 46 frames per second in 3D IMAX….AWESOME. It is like you are in the movie.
    Next movie is the Cirque du Soleil in 3D IMAX.

    Comment by Jana — December 21, 2012 @ 6:45 am

  2. Sounds great, Jana. Me, if I’m gonna go see a Cirque du Soleil show it’s gotta be in Vegas, baby!

    Loved your house pictures – the only thing missing was the plate of cheese grits (not that it bothered me any!).

    Comment by The Great White Shank — December 21, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  3. I hadn’t made any cheese grits…saving that for when you and Tracey come visit or I manage to get myself out there.

    The Cirque movie looks to be fantastic. I have seen Cirque several times and am always amazed. I think the movie will be really awesome as 3D puts you into the scene…

    Comment by Jana — December 22, 2012 @ 5:50 am

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