"Father?" "Yes Son?" "I Want To Kill You....Mother?" "Yes Son?" "I Want To BBBBBELLLLLLCCCHHH!!!"
The Lineup Card (1967-1972)
Jim Morrison (vocals) died 1971
Ray Manzarek (keyboards, vocals)
Robbie Krieger (guitar, vocals)
John Densmore (drums)
The Dorks are another one of those massively legendary 'cult' bands with rabid fans and a somewhat dubious legacy, who for some reason, I chose to review. Now, don't get me wrong. I like 'em. Got lotsa good songs and could play up a storm at times. Problem is, as it usually ends up being, lots of people have an annoying tendency to excessively worship this band, and most of all its lead singer James Morrison. Could be because he was a 'dark soul', a fairly intelligent arty-type dude who had spent some time reading poetry and thus projected an 'aura, man'. Could be because he was a good lookin' L.A. boy with long hair and a penchant for leather pants and an accomplished rock 'n' roll growl that brought the goo out in all of us (if 'all of us' means 'a bunch of women who were young and into hard rock in the late 60's', anyway.) Whatever it is, fans tend to overrate the guy far beyond his abilities, claiming things like how he had 'hypnotic powers' or was such a wit or was better than Jagger or Iggy or whatever. No chance. And, though fans like to harp on how he 'wasn't a rock singer, he was a poet' like I should jump up and down and buy them a kiss in the ass, I say, poet or not, he was NOT very much of a poem writer, neither, judging by some of the Jim poetry pages up on the internet and a cursory (and aborted...it sucked ass) listen to his American Prayer spoken word disc. I'll keep my Ginsburg and Pushkin, thanks.
So, again, the question ends up being, Why Should I Care? I once stated on Prindle's Doors page that this was the most overrated band of all time (which I now take back...that was an awfully stupid statement. I actually don't have a clue as to who should hold that crown. Maybe U2?) but I was just confusing the band and its fanatics. Even during their career, their fan base slowly dwindled after their '67-'68 radio hits, and by 1970 most folks had forgotten about them. Their cult has really only grown since Jim's death. Folks got tired of the Doors back in the day...there was simply too much good music around to waste time on the albums full of aimless fucking around in the '68-'69 period. Also, critics have a hard time NOT hacking the Doors to pieces. First they call Morrison Hotel their best disc, totally trash the band's signature early sound, and finish up by kicking the dead corpse of Unca' Jimbo a few times for good measure. The worst offender is Mr. David 'I Wanna Have Bruce Springsteen's Ass Baby' Marsh, who ought to have his hands sawed off after some of his godawful anus-smacking he did in the 1982 Rolling Stone Album Guide. I don't understand that reaction, either...
But what I DO say is that Jim was a fine singer, and he was able to put out some great evocative lyrics from time to time. And sometimes, on occasion, could deliver them with as much conviction and power as they deserved. The BAND, however, IS underrated. That dang organ/guitar dual lead sound is ORIGINAL fer Chrissakes (when they used it...which wasn't all the time)! No one EVER sounded like this band. And I've heard not one single guitar player who came even close to the style of Robbie Krieger with his spidery right hand and twanging lead lines. Okay, Jerry Garcia could sound like that, and probably proceed to run circles around Krieger, but only after warming up for an hour or so. Maybe they weren't necessarily rock machines, but they tried to rock out full bore so rarely that it didn't even matter...only at the end of their career did they actually begin to sound, well, like hard rock at all. Before that they were 'carnival pop' or maybe an 'atmospheric jazz-influenced AM singles band' if you will. And they released some worthwhile records in their time, too. They did push some boundaries, Jim did get arrested a time or three, 'The End' does sound really cool in Apocalypse Now, and Morrison did drink himself into becoming the fat, bearded boar who died in his bathtub in 1971.
But is that any reason to worship somebody? Psha! But if it ain't a reason to read my reviews, I dunno wot is!
I bet this stuff got 'em pretty hot and bothered back on the Sunset Strip in late '66. But here in the new century it's, erm, hit and miss. Like, you can't help but love the fast snap of the riff on 'Break On Through', or how Jim just stands right up and says 'Hey people! I'm a Jesus-figure rock star! Listen to me sing so cool and so right!' right on that track. Actually, on my MP3 mix he says 'She Get HIGH! She Get HIGH!', but on my ol' CD of this he just says 'She Get....', oh those wacky censors. Never know where they'll pop up next. Probably on a Jefferson Airplane record. And you know 'Light My Fire', the Jose Feliciano cover? Well, the Doors blow the....um....feliz navidad outta that handicapped-space version and all in the blink of an eye. Or maybe 30 or 40000 blinks of an eye, because we've got a boring keyboard solo and a fantastic guitar workout to get past first. But I'm sure you've heard those unless you're from the South, which in case...QUIT BUYING SO MANY DAMNED GUNS YA FUCKING CRACKER INBREDS!!!!
Oh yeah, this is one of the hundred billion 60's records where the drums are mashed all the way over in one channel all the time. Yuck. And there's no bass guitar, which is another notable. Ray just played a bunch of bass organ pedals, ever hear of that being done before? Nope! On the rest of the Doors albums they hired a studio bassist like a bunch of pussy sellouts. Actually they sounded better with the bass, so make that pussy sellouts with good taste.
But what's with everyone liking 'The Alabama Song'? An old Broadway cover? 'Show me the way to the next whiskey bar....oh don't ask why! ohh don't ask why!' Over some balalaika-sounding guitar twink and Oktoberfest Drunken German oompah? BARFFFFF! Jesus, what is everyone thinking? Is everyone goddamned retarded except for me? I ask that every time I leave the house, actually. The world is all crazy and I'm normal. 'The Alabama Song' actually RULES and Bob Dylan's first record actually ISN'T his MOST ENTERTAINING one and how there actually IS some reason to like WHITE CASTLE HAMBURGERS other than as a SICK DISGUSTING JOKE TO ALL OF MANKIND. I've just had it bass ackwards all these years. That's all. Well fuck my Socks and call me Buddy but I'm not budging. 'Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)' is the worst thing in the Doors catalog.
But those are merely the extremes of good and bad available on this record down at your favorite local music merchant. The rest of it is almost all pretty good and doesn't have any moments of rank putridness. Look towards 'The Crystal Ship' to help clear your throat a bit. This one is suitably called a classic, and 's got some of the better words on the record as well as Ray playing some really great piano as well as organ. The cover of 'Back Door Man' is raunchy and trashy (not convincingly black, bluesy, or soulful, but who cares? The Doors didn't try for authentic in the 60's, only later on), and about as close to the good ol' Stooges as the Doors got. '20th Century Fox' and 'Soul Kitchen' are just fine, catchy 60's pop, Doors-style, not as good as 'Fire' or 'Through', but shitloads better than whatever Donovan or Tommy James and the Shondells may have been releasing the same year. There's also some tracks here that may well be worse than the songs those artists may have been releasing ('I Looked At You', 'Take It As It Comes') but are still okay and are so short no one cares anyway. The Doors, for all their hardcore hard rock reputation, were really just another AM radio pop band in 1967.
...but then again there weren't too many AM radio stations that would possess enough monkey to play 'The End', the massive final track on here. And not too many bands would possess enough turtle to RECORD such a thing in 1966, neither. Some creepy sitar sounding guitar lines repeated over and over on top of some paddy drums and organ make one heavy backdrop for Jim to intone over, and you know what? Repetitive or no it gets me. I think its great, just like the Velvet Underground's similar 'Heroin' of the same time, except that one had the presence of mind to end at 7 1/2 minutes. Both have those wrenching sorts of lyrics that make tears run up and down your spine, both crescendo to an orgasmic peak, and both rule. But 'Heroin' is about slow suicide through smack and 'The End' is about, um...maybe about what's lurking deep down in your brain beneath the cortex and all that sensory grey matter nonsense waiting to make its victory escape the minute you let your guard down.
Capn's Final Word: Got some darn fine singles, 'Crystal Ship', 'Back Door', and a motherfarmer of a finish. What's missing is a little more great stuff in between all that.
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David Elliott Rating: D
Any Short Comments?: I don't mean to be harsh. Really, I don't. And I don't want any readers of this fine, fine page to think I'm a cruel, heartless fiend when I type this. Promise me that you won't? Good. Jim Morrison was a no-talent bitch, and he deserved to die. Hey, hey, hey. Don't look at me like that. Be honest with yourself. Be HONEST. Forget about that hessian backpack you had in high school with "The Doors Forever" written on the back in felt texta. Forget about that piece of young, nubile tail that you seduced while listening to "Light My Fire". Even forget about the dreams of political relevance, and your future as a world-changing radical as you listened to "Five To One", before your soul was crushed by the wheels of Western culture. Forget about all these things, and listen to the music. Are you listening? Good. Now, repeat after me... "This... sucks." "This guy is an idiot." "This band is boring." Don't you feel better? Don't you feel so fucking CLEANSED? Of course you do. Because it's healthy for you to hate The Doors. I mean, they were a bunch of talentless sluts, who's entire legend is build around a pretentious, boozed-up, pseudo-intellectual lush, who honestly believed he was a lizard. Does this sound like the kind of guy you want to hold up as one of your idols? Hell no! As for this first Doors album, you can waffle on all you like about the darkness. Yes, I know. The Velvet Underground had darkness, and they were also incredibly shithouse. "The End", despite what some stoned out loser as your local second-hand record emprium tells you, is NOT "a masterpiece". Rather it is a "master-bation". Hah! Do you like that one? I made it up myself. If you don't get it, fuck you. So, what do we make of Cockbeater Morrison and his group of single-idea'd phonies? The Doors were boring, bland, tedious, and embodied everything that sucks about both acid-rock and prog. Nine hour songs with lyrics about fucking one's mother do not great art make. Devo could wipe the floor with any of these sissy boys, and their songs ran for, what - three minutes? Two and a half? Yeah, exactly. And when you suck, and a band who wear flowerpots are better than you, you know you're in trouble. Screw you, Jim Morrison. I only wish I'd been in that bathroom in France, so that I could sink my docs into your bloated, drool-smeared corpse. I'll light your fire, you pansy - I'll use kerosene and a match, starting with your feet and working my way up your body. Burn, sucker! BURN!
Sayak Dasgupta Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: Firstly, let me start of by saying how fuckin' tired I am of listening to a bunch of moronic bastards like Mr.David Elliot whose unbelievably stupid yet entertaining remarks have been displayed on the Doors' page. People love to lash out on things they can't comprehend, and the only mistake that Morrison ever made was to make his work public and as a result make it available for the smug, unhappy no-talent morons of this world to defile. Come on people! I don't profess to be more intelligent than you are, then how come I see their beauty and you don't? The amazing depth in the lyrics, the ellucidation of a soul in deep torment, for God's sake the man was reaching out to you, people. He was expecting one of you to rise. There is a very thin line between Genius and insanity, and the poor guy crossed it. So, you come back at him and say that he should have died before he wrote his stuff? How many of you said that when John Lennon posed nude with Yoko Ono fo! r Hair Peace? Oh no! I forgot! That's talent...isn't it? Blind fuckin' perverts like David Elliot make me sick to think that I am made of the same fuckin' molecules that they're made of. You comparing the Doors to Devo? Are you out of your Goddamn mind? Does the word 'intellectual' figure anywhere in your bloody dictionary! And the only thing you got out of 'The End' was the "mother, I want to..." part? Fuck you!! What about "all the children are insane, waiting for the summer rain?","weird scenes inside the goldmine" and "the west is the best"? Or did your high school English teacher never tell about a certain something called abstract poetry? Go to your fuckin' local library and check out Neitzche, Kerouac and Blake. And when you're done and if you understand any-fucking-thing written by these guys, put on a Doors'album and repeat this to yourself "i suck....I was stupid" and maybe you'll feel cleansed, asshole!!
David Elliott firstname.lastname@example.org Your Rating: F Any Short Comments?: Sayak. Sayak, Sayak, Sayak. What AM I going to do with you? Oh! I have an idea! I'm going to stick my entire leg until your rectum, and shake it counterclockwise until you realise that your hilariously pretentious remarks regarding the first Doors record are the kinds of things that make you DESERVING of every shred of pain you or your family have ever felt. The amazing depth in the lyrics? Morrison was an empty-headed cretin with nary an original thought in his acid-addled cranium. Are you seriously going to tell me that 'Come on baby, light my fire - try to set the night on fire' is the height of rock-as-art? Are you SERIOUSLY trying to tell me that 'The End' means ANYTHING except the scraped-together remnants of what Jimbo remembers from a year nine English class on Sophocles? Because I pity you, and feel that it will be amusing for the readers of The Cap'n's page - I am going to crush you mentally, and I'm going to use minimum effort. But first, I want you to know that it is nothing personal. You, my boy, are the worst kind of cocksucking pseudointellectual scum that I see always have to endure as they jack off to copies of this loathsome album. Because you are exceedingly shallow, you feel that the jumbled, mindless blatherings of the 'Lizard King' contain serious depth and artistic and/or cultural relevance. I assure you, they do not. Don't talk to me about abstract poetry, dickface. Unlike the grotesquely idiotic people who doubtlessly stare glassy eyed at you nodding when you name drop the most obvious modernist poets you can come up with, I am not tricked by such egomaniacal tomfoolery. Jim had the intelligence and sensitivity of a first year poetry student - one who 'wouldn't have survived its teen years without its poetry' - a breed of motherfucker so deserving of death that I curse my country's strict gun laws. Maybe you're SPECIAL. THAT'S why you 'see the beauty', while the rest of us poor, unfortunate creatures don't. Or maybe you're simply a wretched little toad, with his head so far deep in his own bowels that tripe like 'The End' sounds complex and profound. A soul in deep torment. Are you fucking high? You must be - that would explain the empathy you're feeling for Jimbo's horseshit. Face it, he wasn't 'tortured'. He was a cocksucker, who needed to shut the fuck up and quit whining. Much like Morrisey. Much like Robert Smith. Much like Sayak Dasgupta. The lyrics you quoted are hilarious. You are hilarious. My sincere, solemn wish for you is that since your love for Jimbo is so deep and profound - you end up joining him at his current residence - rotting beneath the earth, as his unholy brain festers beneath the blazing Parisian sun, and cadres of stoned hippes covering his headstone in THC-laced urine and black spraypaint.
Your Name: Sayak Dasgupta email@example.com Your Rating: A Any Short Comments?: David, David, David. Tsk, Tsk, Tsk. Why the bitterness? Is it a desparate, pathetic attempt to hold on to the miniscule remnants of pride that are left over from the great ass-whipping I personally inflicted upon you? Or are you just trying to prove that you've descended further into the recesses of paranoid insanity mixed with a large dose of bad taste in music? You called me pretentious. Do you not know that you sound not only pretentious but downright phoney when you spout meaningless criticism on subjects that your microscopic brain (which I'm sure is only rivalled by the size of your penis) cannot comprehend. Were you hiding behind the fucking door when God was handing out tact? You are some piece of work, Mr. David Elliot. But you know what? I'm going to bite the bullet and apologise. It was wrong of me to think you could understand or even try to understand what 'Jimbo' was saying. The guy sang love songs and didn't proclaim to be a messiah. You d!on't have to find meaning in every line he sings. But hey forget it. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, right? The only reason I named the poets was because I thought you were at home jacking off on Devo when your high school teacher mentioned them. But I shall not preach again. I cannot preach anything to a guy who probably thinks the underwear commercials on broadway are great pieces of art. Hey, did I mention that I like the way you write? Yeah, it really gets to me how you use pale, perverse imagery to make up for utter lack of content. All you did was insult me and Jimbo and just about everyone who likes the band. You called me shallow. But I know your deep. In fact your head is pressed so deep in the shit that fills your fucking mind that you can't see beyond your own world where you proclaim yourself the mighty saviour who heals the people of 'the doors affliction'. Well let me use your own brand of imagery and tell you that you need to be crucuified too, upsi!de down in the sweltering Parisian sun that you hate so much, nails knocked in every lethal position that you can imagine, with vultures tearing at you intestines until your shrivelled, pathetic body falls to the ground and crawls searching for water for your parched throat. I'm pretty sure your beloved cadres of hippies will only be too glad to quench you burning thirst with their THC-laced urine and black spray paint. Drink heartily, my friend. And when a grave is dug for your mangled maggot-infested corpse, and you inch closer to hell you'll find Jimbo smiling on the other side. Give my regards to him will you? Hey, you can do that much for me. After all I apologised and didn't even 'get personal'.
David Elliott firstname.lastname@example.org Your Rating: F
Any Short Comments?: Sayak. Now that I'm calm, and I have had time to reflect on what you're trying to say to me - the essence of your comments has become crystal clear. And rather that blindly zipping off another brutal rebuttal, I have decided to take a few days to study your response. To think about it. To learn from it. And now, I write to you - I write to you AND the good Cap'n - with my thoughts on this roadblock we seem to have reached in our dialogue. Jimbo was a cocksucker and so are you. Okay, okay. Let me quantify that, before you go getting all steamed up and goofy. See, you're right. I DID insult you and everyone who likes The Doors. My reasons are simple, though - bear with me as I explain them. See, The Doors are vomit-inducing swill, defecated into the ears of an unsuspecting, and underserving listening public. They are crass, obnoxious, dull, tedious, pretentious, and Jimbo was a whore. Jimbo's mother was a whore. Nine hundred years of the Morrison bloodline have contained nothing but drunken foolishness, punctuated by fortunate instances of painful, inhuman death. If you don't believe me, I urge you - go and look it up. Did you know that Jimbo's great grandfather invented autoerotic asphyxiation? Did you even know that? I bet you don't know that Roger 'Latex' Morrison, Jimbo's great uncle on his mother's side, was the first man to use the term 'skullfuck' to describe the sexual activity that he engaged in, which lead to his second wife's death? He later died in a mental hospital, making baskets out of fried noodles, and talking about the greatness of his descendants, and his rumoured links to an early version of the Klan? See, Sayak - not only are you annoying, but you are uninformed. Jimbo's lameness was no mere freak of nature - a genetic miscalculation that unleashed a career of horrible acid-rock upon the world. No - it was his destiny. Like Christ before him, Jimbo was born to be a loser. And frankly, Sayak - I am disgusted that you would try and take that away from him. Have some respect for the dead, Sayak. Have some respect for the efforts of one man to fulfill his birthright as a primo A-grade jackoff. Death was too good for him - and I think he understood that. And I'd like to think that somewhere in Hell, he will turn to his cellmate Mr. Nixon, and will say.. 'Look at my grave, Dick. Do you see that drunken art student taking a big, steamy shit on my headstone? Finally - I have received the treatment I always dreamed about.' This all sounds bleak. But it isn't. See, by becoming a 'fan' of the band - you too have taken a part in Jimbo's personal mythology. You share in his suckiness. You feast on the rotting corpse of his reign of loserdom - and as you tear maggot-ridden chunks away from the carcass, and feel them sliding down your greasy, vacuous, slime-coated gullet, don't shy away and attack ME because you don't like the taste. Just smile, feel the tiny bulge jutting out from your crotch, and say in a low, husky voice: "Thank you, Jim. May I have another?" Screw you, you pansy. The Doors blow.
(Capn's Note: Just so's ya know, I stopped reading these in their entirety sometime back in 2002. And now I've stopped reinserting the line breaks, so nyah!)
(Capn's Note: Actually, as of March 1, 2004, I'm officially sick to fucking puking of this discussion, so no more tit-for-tat from these two guys. I've received two more comments regarding this idiotic display, both of which are considerably longer than my original review, and I've deleted them both. Make up your own damned mind about Jim Morrison, already. I'm through with it. I'll leave what's up there for historical value, though, because there are a coupla funny lines, eh?)
Your Rating: C
Any Short Comments?: The last track isn't so bad. I'm a sucker for medley-type (composite) song.
email@example.com Your Rating: B
Any Short Comments?: Apologia for this second comment, but the two protagonists above posted multiple times until they exhausted their spleens. First off, yes I'm being erratic by first giving this debut two ratings, first a C, and now a B. Yet sometimes there is a duality involved, for instance when I mentioned in my Mountain 'Flowers Of Evil' rating that Felix Pappalardi's sweet loving wife didn't design the jacket art-- well she did design it, or at least the title. Something can be a half-truth, both a Sayak Dasgupta and a David Elliott can be correct or partly correct: the Doors debut album 'sucks' but it's entetaining suck, like South Park. As folk art 'The Doors' is meant to be sucky AND artistic. Who ever said Pop-Rock is high art? It's art, leave it at that; it happens to be my favorite art. The lyrics to this album are pretentious but nevertheless daring. The music is often excellent. As Capn Marvel points out, the lead guitar playing is spidery. I don't often listen to this album, but when I do it is entertaining. It's not Strawberry Fields Forever, but it's presentable. I like the much less ambitious 'Soft Parade' more because it is easy-listening poetry (yes, real poetry, though not first-rate) and also because though lyrics concerning fornicating with one's mother are not offensive to me I choose not to hear them sung very often. C+?
Your Rating: F
Any Short Comments?: This is how you should respond when asked for a "short comment". The doors suck. I'm in the minority, but I believe it firmly. That, my novel writing dumbass friends, is a short comment.
Your Rating: A-
Any Short Comments?: Oh, the album? Yeah, it's good. Those two morons really should have found each other and bashed each other in the heads with rusty shovels until they finally quit talking. I would have popped open a brew with Jimbo in Purgatory and we would have laughed at them heartily. Morrison always seemed like one of the world's biggest assholes, but he also seemed like a guy with whom you could have one or two really fun times before you started hating him.
I do think it is overrated. Too much of the album just doesn't resonate with me emotionally, even though it's well done and well written: it just feels like typical late-'60's pop. The classics here, though, are real classics - stuff like "Light My Fire" and "The End" were really innovative and, to me, were real precursors to punk (in attitude alone - the lengthiness is more suited to, hell, prog). I don't exactly get why you filed them under hard rock - they seem to fit far better under psychdelia - their only two albums that rock hard are "Morrison Hotel" and "L.A. Woman."
"Strange Days" is far better than this, even though "When The Music's Over" is not as good as "The End."
Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: Alright, but not their best, and has a couple of clunkers at the end, none of which is "Alabama Song" (I know a lot of people don't like it, but I think it's a great song - showy, theatrical, yes: but isn't that part of the Doors anyway?), and "The End" is amazing. Just a total trance out. It is overrated, but it is a classic, and the Doors are overrated, but a great band. And by overrated, I mean their fanatics treat them as the saviors of all modern music and want to be Jimbo's ass-bitches.
pedro andino firstname.lastname@example.org Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: come on guys! damn this is like the linkin park page! you cocksuckers have wasted your time on the arguments and not enough time on the music! shit!
James Hunter Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: "The Alabama Song" the worst thing in Las Puertas' catalogue? Worse than the post Jim stuff? Wow. I think it's fun. In the WRC, people underrate this one. I think the album is fabulous, and it contains many of their best songs. It is a good place to start with the Doors.
Strange Days - Elektra 1967
Better. I don't even particularly hear them stretching for AM radio play anymore, giving them more time to stretch out their 'Doorsiness' like on the ultra-cool leadoff title track which somehow sounds odd, unsettling, rocking, and triumphant all at once. That whamping bass guitar helps. Way to go, unnamed studio hack! And thank GOD those drums are in both speakers where they belong. Smack in the middle, actually. Last time that crash cymbal was hitting so hard on the ol' right eardrum I felt like eating chilidogs until I puked. Must be my synaesthesia acting up again.
I was wrong back there, there was a 'hit' from here, meaning 'one of those songs they play way too often on classic rock radio', which is 'Love Me Two Times', which seems to do nothing other than prove Robbie Krieger can trill a note faster than any man alive. What a dull track. Sounds like some scrub-take of the 'Light My Fire' sessions.
I'm so much more smiley when they play their warped 'happy' music like 'Unhappy Girl' or 'Moonlight Drive' or 'People Are Strange' or, shit, just about everything else on this record. Its the aural equivalent of a Lynch movie. On the surface, they're just upbeat pop songs you might mistake for anyone else, but there's always something a bit off-center going on. Jim isn't trying to push it as far as he was on the first album, but he's still delightfully provocative, so if you need your Jim to enjoy the Doors you've got 'im, and he's still in his Young Stud days...his Raging Fat Juicer days weren't for another couple of years.
And, to be sure, we end proceedings with another oversized track, this one called 'When The Music's Over'...it's maybe not as shattering as 'The End' but it's still plenty gripping, and I even like the poetry excursion in the middle about 'our poor sister'. And Robbie clangs out another flipping guitar freakout so what's more to ask? Maybe a few more ideas and shifts in 10 minutes? Well, yeah...these guys aren't proggers or anything but maybe 10 minutes is a bit hefty for this track. Oh well, its only a minor bitch. The only major one I have is for 'Horse Latitudes', another spoken poetry exercise backed by a bunch of tuneless screeching and poop. Sounds of actual poop. I swear to God. You don't believe the Reviewer?
Capn's Final Word: The pick peak pack of the Doors early daze, weird pop profanations and cool spookiness. A major success.
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email@example.com Your Rating: A+
Any Short Comments?: I find every minute (except Horse Latitudes) very entertaining.I thought Unhappy Girl had a undercurrent of darkness in it(Yeah,yeah it sounds happy enough).In fact i found this album as a whole rather dark.I can't talk about the Doors as a whole but they seem to be a great band.
firstname.lastname@example.org Your Rating: A-
Any Short Comments?: I like I like I like this one. "Love Me Two Times" is cool. Much darkness around. This comment isn't really about the album, Ryan. I just have to ask why in the hell The Doors are listed under Hard Rock. I think they belong under psychedelic, but it's your site.
(Capn's Response: Maaaan, my conscience just won't let me call them 'hard rock'. What else is there...crossover? Americana? I guess they say a bit more about America than, say, Dr. Hook or something.)
D Your Rating: A-
Any Short Comments?: Not to nitpick or anything, but the unnamed studio hack playing the actual bass on every album except L.A. Woman is some guy named R. Krieger.
Waiting For The Sun - Elektra 1968
One goes off the fairway and into Bob Barker's anus because the Doors duffed this one, making it nearly devoid of anything at the Doors had been doing so well up to this point. Snappy pop songs? Not really, take out the 'n' in that first word. Weird and interesting twists? Nope. Rocking? Very little to be found. It's not a total wash (thanks!) but it's by far the weakest Doors album. I've heard it said that maybe they'd burned all their prime steak on the first two albums and were left with only gristle and blood vessels by the time of Waiting For The Sun and I think that may be right on Eddie Money because it sure smells like most of these tracks were 'leftovers' and even more of them third-rate ideas puffed up to full status by a bunch of smoke and bluster. The 'socially conscious songs' nearly all suck, the drama is overblown, and there's even some *gak!* sincere love songs here. Like you might hear Bread or The Meatmen playing at their most recent free show at the county fair. I mean 'Wintertime Love' and 'My Wild Love' are stinky stinky nuggets of butt ore with nary a hint of irony. I'm not a huge fan of the Doors album tracks anyway (LA Woman's are good, and Strange Days doesn't really have any, but the rest are, as a rule, not so good) but here they're unbearable. Many times I wish to press the *Destroy Track* button on my Winamp only to find that once again I've been foiled by the pro-Doors faction out there. Dirty reactionary bastards. I'll get you one of these days! That's right! One day YOU will be forced to listen to this album WITHOUT 'Hello I Love You', 'Spanish Caravan' or 'Five To One' and claim you like it.
Quick notables from the 'bad middle part'. 'Unknown Soldier' is a nearly music-less, misguided and goofy bout of social consciousness, complete with an execution and a bunch of stupid keyboard shimmer noises that make me run for the toilet shack. From the huge 'Celebration Of The Lizard' ego circle-jerk they used to perform live, 'Not To Touch The Earth' has been selected as a 'teaser', but I was more teased by the gaptoothed, 40-odd year old stripper who tried to steal my friend's sweatshirt while he was off getting a lapdance for his 21st birthday.
And man, is this album ever packed with a bunch of songs like 'Summer's Almost Gone' or 'Yes, The River Knows', which may be titled pretentiously, but are so unassuming and boring that I can't remember anything about them just seconds after their finish.
But luckily there's three good ones or this album would be a solid C (failure to even play one's chosen genre very well and pissing on the toilet seat to boot) but instead gets a low B (I don't like this record, but parts of it entertain me enough that I don't go 'yuck' when I look at the cover). The opener 'Hello I Love You' is fingered by everyone including my Dad as being a Kinks rip off, and that charge comes from not only the three-chord riff (which I think doesn't even sound all that much like the Kinks) but from Morrison's Ray Davies-aping on the vocal. And, though one could find a little bit of raciness in the 'I want to fuck you even though I just met you' message, it's got little of the Door's savoi-faire...but it does do catchy pretty well. 'Spanish Caravan' is no real great song by any stretch of Plastic Man but it's 'shot on location', if you can dig me, and therefore at least gets me interested. And Jim's bomb-in-the-skull revolution anthem 'Five To One' sounds like it was meant for a different band...maybe the MC5 or someone like that. The way the man spits out 'we're TAKING OVER....c'mon!' is precisely priceless. Oh, this band (with the possible exception of Jim, but who knows?) probably was about as politically radical as a box of Cheerios in real life but hey...its a great song and a great singing job.
Capn's Final Word: Like an 'Odds and Ends' package except all the songs are new. And doesn't even include the title track. Just get away from me, stupid Canadian record store operator!
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Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: this album is a classic ok so its poppy like between the buttons but this is much fucking better than between the buttons ever was or will be no disrespect to the stones.its underrated not as much as the soft parade but make no mistake this is highly underrated, cant imagine my cd collection without it. the doors were a truly great band possibly the greatest, by the way my wild love is not a song and wintertime love is a wonderfull tune have you seen the chords overall another classic by the doors everysong great as usual.ps david elliott is a wanker
The Soft Parade - Elektra 1969
The Door's Vegas record, the one where Jim decided he'd like to be just like Neil Diamond and sing a bunch of sloppy non-rock schmaltz on top of horns and jankly pianny but with a straight face. This is the Doors out of character, so far out of character that you could swear Robbie and Ray had little to do with this record, but hold on! There's Robbie compositions here. So maybe this is exactly what they wanted to make in 1969, which is even scarier than making this album by accident, which is what it sounds like at first glance. Like take the single 'Touch Me', located right in the usual Doors 'hit single' second track slot. The song starts out with a cool acceleration section, but then there's Jim going 'cmoncmoncmoncmon now Touch me, babe!' and there's those syrup-dripping strings and horns. And the hard rockers, those who somehow made it through Waiting For The Sun intact, rip the tone arm from the record and go off to exchange this for some Grand Funk. But thise of us who make it through the first half minute are more than likely able to see that this song is just cheesier than a Packer tailgate party and has a good sax solo in store for us. And is a lot of fun if you can loosen your rim a bit.
What's funny is that, you know when I said above that the Doors 'album tracks' weren't so great? Well the secondary tracks on here aren't bad, (and damn sure aren't great), but are listenable and surely at least okay. They're just messy and are played with less grit than an average Chicago tune. Like, if you gave 'Easy Ride' to the 1971 band, they would've played it about half as fast, excised the stupid gospel-y organ part, and would've made it sound like the Hell's Angels are coming to eat your bathroom fixtures. Instead you DO get the doinky Nintendo-sounding organ, an over-happy early Stones-sounding guitar part, and Jim's heavy vocal part is just sorta out of place. A LOT of the songs are are just like that, and Jumpin' Muhummad, there's only 9 of the dang things! So, let's just say that ALL of these songs would've been much better if recorded by a band who's main interests included 'playing rock 'n' roll' rather than 'sounding good enough for the females to eat'. As it stands the biggest part of the record is a limp noodled rush that can't hold a candle to the band's best work.
And hey! They brought the 1961 Bob Dylan in to record on 'Runnin' Blue', probably the STUPIDEST and most thrown-together mishmash track in the Doors catalog. That's great. I wonder if he brought his hayseed hobo train conductor hat or not. Or is the first part of 'The Soft Parade' (jesus...does EVERY Doors album have a song with the same title? I guess the first one doesn't. A song called 'The Doors' would be pretty dumb. Not even Kiss did that, but they did come close.) the stupidest thing they ever recorded? This whore gives you a damned stupid bit of poetry at the beginning 'YOU CAN NOT PETITION THE LAW-ARD WITH PRAI-AR!!!!" (but I heard you can petition Him with Sweet Tarts) and leading on to more of those over-serious and ultimately laughable Doors mid-period attempts at sounding profound. See, in their early years they put so much oomph into it, if you were in a gullible mood you might find some entertainment in their drama. In the later years, Morrison was so frigged over that he sounded like a corpse confessing his sins so you couldn't help believing the guy. But in the middle he was just a foamed-up fool who didn't know whether he wanted to be Frank Zappa or Frank Sinatra. The first part, with the harpsichord, ain't so bad, but then you get this fucking MORONIC disco part with lyrics about sweets intoned like, shit, maybe one of the lesser blue monsters on Sesame Street. And it continues like that until the groove kicks in at 3 minutes and the voice that sounds like Ken Kesey talks about this being the best part of the trip. Well I don't know what drugs this is supposed to be 'trippy' on, but to me and my brothers this sounds like half of the Santana band tuning up before a show, except the tape's been slowed down to half speed. This part ain't dumb, but it also isn't very good...and some BAD plus some not very good equals 8 1/2 minutes of useless, a pretty harsh price on an album that only clocks in at 33 minutes anyway.
Capn's Final Word: 'If all else fails we can whip the horse's eyes and make them sleep...OR CRY!' is considered to be a REAL GOOD deep, important, shattering line on this record. And since they forget to play their instruments on most of it I suggest you piss on The Soft Parade.
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email@example.com Your Rating: B-
Any Short Comments?: This isn't nearly as bad as so many would lead you to believe. It's not great, but as Nik Cohn wrote circa 1969, "the Doors are no great band and Morrison is no great singer". And I do like the last track, I like the way it changes tempo. I got this record in 1969, and then it did seem better. I thought because Jimmy had a good voice he was a good singer-- not the same thing.
Your Rating: A+
Any Short Comments?: im sorry but b- is too low this is an excellent record and the most underrated album of all time, buy it, buy it now, run to that record store and spend your money you shall not be dissapointed buy it now!!!
Morrison Hotel - Elektra 1970.
Lots, and I mean, lotsa folks like to reckon this album as the best Doors record, but I'll bet 'em dollars to dildos they're basing their opinion on smoking a bunch of dope, listening to the farking-fantastic opening 'Roadhouse Blues' and half of 'Waiting For the Sun', then turning on some Cartoon Network and eating some Ho-Ho's as the rest of the record plays on ignored. This approach is the idiotic, lazy one, but unfortunately tends to be the norm. OR they're subscribers to the theory that, this being the least Doorsy of the regular release records, it's therefore the best for someone who doesn't much like the band. That approach is at least understandable, because if you tend to tire easily of amateurish crap like the title track to the The Soft Penis, and in general feel that Morrison's attempts at romantic jailbaiting to be a complete, choke-on-your-beer joke, this record is for you. Because unless you're a teenage girl or a flamboyant gay guy, the Morrison of 1969 is MUCH less exciting than the bluesy/boozy Morrison of 1970.
And since I know that MY sensibilities are much more firmly based in 'rock' rather than 'interesting pop' (or else I wouldn't slag on XTC as much as I do, the fairies) this album comes out smelling mighty fine in comparison to the band's two previous efforts. That opening track is simply one of the best basic stripped boogie rock tunes outside of a Stones record, and the lyrics ('save our city!' 'I woke up this morning and got myself a beer....the future's uncertain and the end is always near!') WORK like Doors lyrics have never worked before. Excellent, five star, A+, kick ass track. The Doors best ever. In addition, 'Waiting For The Sun', though not as good as all that, is still a fresh update of the Strange Days sound, and as good as any of the tracks on that album. It also helps that the thing has its rock priorities in the right positions...when that 'Waiting for you to...come along! part snaps clear its Jim reassuming his deity-position as a rock singer after flushing it some time in 1968. Nice to see you back, Jimmy.
I'm just not as enamoured of the rest of the songs on the record as I am of the album tracks on either LA Woman or Strange Days. Yeah, they're all pretty heavy and respectably catchy, and some even have some nice flashes of smarts in them (like the wah guitar on 'Peace Frog' or the swangin sea tempo shifting of 'Ship of Fools'). Its just that Jim is just Jim on most of this stuff (he's not even trying to be odd any more), and the band just sounds normal. They sound like any other boogie rock'n band you care to raise a Bic to. Of course, on Soft Parade they sounded worse, but after those first songs tick out I'd much rather be listening to the real deal than a reasonable facsimile. I like the Doors doing Doors stuff and still rocking out hard...something they only really did on the next record. But still its a pretty meaty sandwich, so if you want to hear Morrison's still-powerful vocal cords and some of Robbie's best guitar work over some perfectly average late-60's hard rock tunes, this album's for you.
Capn's Final Word: Doors for Doors fans who hate the Doors. Good guitar and convincing writing but nothing special outside the first two tracks.
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Acer Rubrum Your Rating: B- Any Short Comments?: Pretty much what you said. Here's what Morrison's own wife, rock critic Patricia Kennealy, had to say about "Morrison Hotel": "...a Fanny Farmer Valentine quality that is not only lacy but craven. Oh fie. Where are the DOORS, those musical brats?...Morrison looks like he just missed the urinal." And she said that in PRINT! In her magazine Jazz & Pop. The mind reels, the spirit quails at what she must have said to him in their bedroom. If he married her thinking she was going to go easy on him in the review department, Mr Mojo obviously underestimated his Mrs.
L. A. Woman - Elektra 1971
Uncle Jimbo bit it in his Parisian bathtub just before the release of this, the first REALLY good Doors album since Strange Days, but boy if this isn't some different sort of band than the one that recorded that spooky little dedication to carnival freaks. LA Woman is the sound of an old fart dying, heavily. But oh man is it ever fascinating. Each one of the sweat drippin' toons on this disc is a chronicle of exhaustion, beardedness, and hardcore stringed-out-edness. The band is just unable to break on through to the light and therefore leaves their house unclean to the world. Instead they flail around in the bleary-eyed blues box they first explored on Morrison Hotel, but here they're through playing around with blues toys and are ready to bash one after another out in close succession. They're happy to pass off oft-heard heavy blooze covers (or near covers) like 'Been Down So Long' and 'Crawling King Snake', but they pull it off and make them stick. Stick like a punch in the gut. The blues-allergic out there may have a problem with it, but I say The Doors doing blues is always slightly more interesting than the usual late 60's band doing them, because for once the emphasis is placed on singing instead of wanking. Mr. Goodbar. And yards of hose better than doing essentially generic hard rock like on Hotel.
And when they try to break out and make a longish Doorsy classic like they do on 'Riders' or the title track, for once they make it sound dangerous, not merely risky. Maybe its just that Morrison's voice, as worn out and wasted as it is, sounds so wise that you can't help but take the songs seriously (unlike, say, on the debut, where the guy sounded like he was acting like a bad guy). Someone unknowingly putting this on after the debut will be getting a mighty shock from Jim, that's fer sure. Maybe its just that the band also sounds like they're playing for their very lives and the singer just came from witnessing/ participating in a manslaughter on the way to the session. Even the 'single' 'Love Her Madly' evokes none of the usual somewhat dorky Doors themes of sex/Boo! but sounds more like a song written by a guy too messed up to care when his woman leaves him. Authentic.
The thing that smacks me in the face about even the minor tracks on this record is there's 1) no phony sloganeering or attempts to stay 'current', except maybe on 'The Wasp', which is an older outtake-type song anyway 2) no dumb attempts at humor and 3) no attempts to be avante-garde or 'boundary stretching'. And they sure as heck aren't trying to be very commercial. Its just the Dudes doing what only the Dudes could do at this point: play a bunch of fairly simple songs, but hard. And sound damned convincing. Also, the classic tunes are nicely spread out over the entire running length instead of mashed at the front and end like usual, so it flows like no Doors ever done. Flows better than a newly womanized 11 year old fat girl.
And have I mentioned that it rocks? Score some points for the braindead in the audience. Such as myself. This album Rules.
Capn's Final Word: I know I've barely mentioned any songs in this review, but who cares. The record isn't like flawless or anything, but its sure a great listen. Buy it.
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firstname.lastname@example.org Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: 'Riders On The Storm' is a good song, unfortunately I've heard it far too many times to enjoy it. After all, the first time you hear the Zepsters do 'Stairway To Heaven' you like it, but after you've heard it several hundred times you hardly hear it at all, except maybe for some of the lyrics. In 'Stairway' there's the line "sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven". In this song you might hear "his brain is crawling like a toad" or "sweet memory will die". But after hundreds of times of hearing the music I turn it off. Here is the math of Morrison's libidinous obsession: crawling toad + crawling king snake= sex in general; penis in
Other Voices - Elektra 1971
Right-o! Within a year of Mr. Join So Rim's untimely fat demise, the 'Integrity Trio' released Other Voices, an album of self-performed tunes one can only hope had no writing input from Jimbo himself....'cos this album buh-lows. Like an Alberta Clipper. Sure, it took real-live man testicles to release an album using the Doors name such a short time after the loss of their frontman and reason for existence, but since Robbie was always the one behind most of the music I guess they thought they finally had a chance to drag themselves from beneath the rotting carcass of Jim Morrison and make a name for themselves. Or just grab a few bucks from hippies too burnt out to realize Morrison had died months before, which I suppose is nearly as noble anyway. So whatever their motivations might've been, they had little desire to emulate the classic Doors sound as it had developed by L.A. Woman (raunchy, jazzy debauche-rock) beyond a few lousy lounge jams, and to push matters from worse to much, much worse, their songwriting had somehow sunk faster than a Mongolian battleship. From a band that had just released 'Love Her Madly' and 'Riders on the Storm' less than a year before, it's a noticeable plunge to Smothered Voices, a plunge that can't be attributable solely to missing the inimitable charm of their lead singer on vocals. Doors minus Jim Morrison isn't just the Doors minus a vocalist...it's the Doors minus the point.
Not that they don't try...I'll give 'em that. They really put out the effort to make this album something decent - they pack in extended instrumental sections in an attempt to show off their progression as players, they write songs in all kinds of weird, original variations on their rootsy boogie woogie, and as far as I can tell, they all try their hand at singing. So, if I may say something positive (at least before I lay into this album like the Panzertruppe into Luxembourg), I'd like to say that the Oors really attempt to make this album their own as opposed to simply rehashing what they'd already forged under Jim. Oh, and Robbie Krieger still sounds pretty good in a few spots here. There! Great! Don't we all feel like going downtown and digging through spongy boxes of dusty old Firefall records to find a copy of this and pay $35 for it? Well just hold yer horses thar, cowboy (not you, Catherine the Great).
They just totally and completely stink at it. The main extended musical section, 'Ships Without Sails' is nothing more than a stripped down, sleazy Latin jam that sounds like the Allman Brothers missing half their fingers. This is also one of the few moments when you can really feel that the Rock Bottom Remainders are trying to rip the old Doors off, obviously taking more than a few of their cues from 'Riders on the Storm' (the electric piano, the jazzy drumming, the booming vocal). Anyone who sees it as anything other than pure self-cannibalization and a crass attempt at 'instant credibility' from their live audiences (Just imagine the smarmy grin on Ray Manzarek's face as he segues from 'Riders' to ''Sails' in the middle of a concert and no one notices) All those 'weird variations on boogie woogie' turn out to be a mishmash of sickeningly cutesy parodies on country rock, beit the rhythmically retarded rocker 'Tightrope Ride', where Densmore's drumming is so ahead of the beat it sounds like a march, the vomitessent 'Down On the Farm', 'Variety Is the Spice of Life' or the godforsaken 'I'm Horny, I'm Stoned', which has to set some sort of record for the worst puddle of snail snot to ever hold a passing resemblance to the carnival music of Strange Days. The lugubrious life-on-the-road battleaxe 'Wandering Musician' isn't much better, but at least it sounds like a parody of some awful cliche (the I've-got-to-be-travelling-on cock-rocker ballad) than on a music genre that never hurt anyone.
And the singing...oh God. Suffice it to say that whatever descriptions I used of Jim Morrison being 'sleazy' or 'garbled', these guys top them. I'm not good enough to identify who is singing lead on each track without liner notes (and don't hold your breath for me to buy some Ray Manzarek solo albums so I can settle it for sure), but my hunch is that Ray sings most of the leads. Whomever it is, and again I think they all get at least one turn on the mic each, they sure as fuck all suck ass at what they're doing. Each one of them oversings and overemotes rather than make a stab at staying on-key, which is pretty goddamn futile considering they seem to think 'pitch' is what Don Drysdale does twice a week. Let's just leave it that the vocals are a joke, and considering most of these songs are some form of unfunny goofball joke themselves, it all fits together like Lincoln Logs in the end.
Okay, so nobody in their right mind who loves the Doors would admit to believing that the band should've continued on after Morrison bit the big beach ball, and that's because we all really knew it'd stink like Mojo's sweatsocks all along. The only songs I would even come close to liking on here are 'Hang On To Your Life' and 'Tightrope Ride', one jazzy and sordid and the other, well, rocking and sordid, and I guess if you twist my arm out of it's socket I'll say that 'Sails' is okay, but that's mostly out of relief from not having to hear Manzarek's warbly hippie slimebucket voice for a few minutes. Otherwise, this thing is about neck and neck with a live field recording of Jim's bloated cadaver leaking methane gas. It's great. Fifteen stars and half a dozen four-leaf clovers. Fuckheads.
Capn's Final Word: Sometimes it's best not to move on too quickly after a loss. Especially when you're knee deep in shit.
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Full Circle - Elektra 1972
Because one round of throwing dogshit on their legacy wasn't enough (and neither would this - see the recent 'reunion' of Ray and Robbie with famed drummer Stewart 'Should Know Better' Copeland and that junkie drooler lead singer from the fucking Cult that toured last year for more tasteless grave-dancing), the Doos released yet another trio album that nobody who liked the Doors failed to miss. Luckily, in comparison with the last one, Full Circle comes across like a halfway decent debut album by a bunch of vocally debilitated El Lay nobodies rather than a stake through the heart of their career. Sure, the songs are still about as good as the ramblings of an acid-ravaged second rate keyboard player could be expected to be, but Holy Crap they play more and sing less. Thank the good Spirit. There's a whole shitload more of that jamming stuff that filled up 'Ships Without Sails' on the last one, but they do it better, more often, and with less obvious borrowing from their back catalog. They even have the good sense of often 'harmonizing' (well, more accurately 'tripling') their vocals to better cover up their tonal retardation, flat timbres, and lazy diction. In short, the songs are still as worthless as a million-mile Yugo, but the moments during which I just don't care are increased tenfold. The prime moments include Robbie's manic Brit Invasion guitar solo on the goony, schizoid '4 Billion Souls' and the threateningly sax-fractured jam during 'Verdiliac'. 'Mosquito' also has a jam section, one that probably leans a bit too heavily on the shoulders of Mr. Carlos Santana (and especially the sound achieved on his legendary 'Woodstock Jam') to really be any good as an original song. As an excuse to solo and show off, it's great...man, that Robbie Krieger can still twiddle his fingers with the best of 'em. Shame the song has to begin with another patented 'witty' parody bit, this time managing to offend the entire Spanish-speaking population they'd proceed to steal their rhythms, tones, and chords from in the ensuing jam. Way to burn them bridges, boys! Why not lynch a young black man and follow it up by recording your version of 'We Shall Overcome' while you're at it? Or rape a lesbian on the way to the studio to cover 'I Am Woman'? Or take breaks in between sessions for 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' by going out and peppering the sky with 12 guages? Or, umm....not change the oil in your car every 3,000 miles before you...erm...cover the theme song to Herbie Goes Bananas? Why don't you, you dogfuckers?
Okay, so I'm tired of listening to the rest of the tracks on this album because they all feature Ray Manzarek using this voice that sounds like he's trying to slime his way into some chick's underpants all the damn time. 'Piano Bird'. 'Get Up and Dance', and especially this disgustingly overblown 6-minute Jimbo-imitating box of hornswaggle called 'The Peking King and the New York Queen' beg for Jim to come along and throw up all over that damn piano player so he can't write shit like this anymore. ('Peking' also features an embarrassing racist stereotype, as if once isn't enough on one shitty record.) If the C/W trifle 'Hardwood Floor' and the pro forma 'Good Rockin' are slightly better than the string of insults on Other Voices, the low moments here are far lower than the worst parts of that album (which is the entire Other Voices, pretty much). There is no reality in which you could explain 'Peking' in the context of the Doors we know and love, and whatever embarrassing excesses the Jim band may have had ('Celebration of the Lizard'), they were at least pretentiously profound instead of just plain ridiculous. It makes me a little sad that there really was a good bit of decent playing wasted on this album, and a definite case can be made for Robbie Krieger pursuing a solo career, but for each step forward there's a stumble back again. When you're already starting somewhere a couple miles behind the starting line, it shouldn't bee too surprising that Full Circle is yet another bust by the Denials.
Capn's Final Word: Better, but all in all I'd still prefer a band with once singer that doesn't make me want to puke my Cheerios.
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An American Prayer - Elektra 1978
If this is how Jimbo prays, I'd hate to be there for grace at Thanksgiving Dinner! 'If it's gonna be that kind of a party, I'll stick my dick in the mashed potatoes!' The story here is that the remaining Doors had been sitting on a bunch of studio tapes of Morrison recording his beatnik-y poetry and they decided to put incidental backing music to it. Hey, that's better than the two Jim-less Doors albums, isn't it? It has to be, because the other Doors don't sing on this one and I've heard better singing out of a Doberman with his ear caught in a metal gate than out Ray and company's way. Just let 'em play, let Morse-o spout off, and it'll sound just like most of Absolutely Live except without as much guttural screaming. Hell, all the Do's gotta Do is just play their patented two-chord comp mambo and have Densmore tippity-tap on his cymbals like his name was Tony Williams or something, and we've got a throwaway from Jim junkies everywhere. Throw in a rare live track and a classic Doors studio single or two and even casual fans might bite. All the Surviving Trio have to do is keep out of the way, just like they did while Jimbo was alive, onstage, fishing his wiener out of his skin-tight leathers.
Ugh, but they fuck even that up. Instead of trying to sound, you know, Doors-y, they're still stubbornly insisting on making 'new' music that fits their current perceptions. And since this is 1978, yet another of the lowest years of all for former hippies who couldn't roll with the times, the word is disco. Disco and more of that sleazy hipster Santana-lite makeout muzak that must roll off Kriegers fingers like joints do off Manzarek's. Gawd...the new 'single' here is 'Ghost Song', which falls somewhere between a Steely Dan rehearsal castoff and the Grateful Dead's lowly 'Shakedown Street' from the same year. It's truly awful, the kind of music you'd expect to hear during an old episode of Barnaby Jones where ol' Buddy Ebsen has to check for clues in a real groovy go-go bar. Moreover, it's clearly intended to let the Doors musicians 'shine' since there's long pauses where, again, all the band does is comp over the same gay polyester riff. Ug-ly, man...ug-ly. Elsewhere it's much of the same, with Densmore sometimes getting off some cool whacks 'n' tumbles, but mostly we're stuck in a 1978 hell with no one to guide us through our bad trip but Ray Manzarek in a leisure suit.
As for Jim, ostensibly the 'real' star of this album (that's his swollen mug right there on the cover, no less!), his verse is an unresolved mess of twisting references and half-borrowed space-cowboy desolation. Now, I'm not Mr. Iambic Pentameter here, and don't claim to know the first goddamn thing about poetry or poets (as opposed to lyrics and 'lyricists', who I guess I've got a good enough handle on), but I will say that Morrison's verse is so disconnected and tangential often cutting out before a verb is placed anywhere close to the subject that I wonder about the editing of these recitations. Hell, Jim must've been pretty fried when he recorded these back in '71, maybe ol' Ray and his pals thought they'd splice 'em up a little bit so they'd leave off all the really obscene and incoherent bits where Jim just started sputtering and regurgitating his half-gallon of cheap French wine. Whatever it is, there's a real problem of Jim not finishing his thoughts here. There's some nice scene setting, maybe, but that's about all, and when he does try to tie things up, he often takes a cheap cop out to finish his idea, and when he just starts to get warmed up on an interesting story (e.g., the 'Indian Ceremony' snippet that Oliver Stone spun out to preposterous levels in his overheated biopic Doors). Nope. Jimbo was no Adonis, no Dionysus, and no Arthur Rimbaud. Hell, he wasn't even Bea Arthur, as far as I'm concerned.
The only real reason for somebody who loved the original Doors albums (as opposed to 'loving' Jim Morrison, those of you out there who do should probably skip buying Strange Days and all that good shit and just start here...there's enough red herrings and dimestore profundities to last you until the next time your fake alligator boots need resoling.) to come within half a mile of this record is an especially raunchy live version of 'Roadhouse Blues' inexplicably included, except under the very real possibility that a true Doors fan at the record company threw it on at the last minute once he saw what a slash-and-burn job the rest of this 'album' was. Now, the rest of this album ranges from dull to uncomfortable to merely unsettling (mostly based on how the surviving members chose to score their pal's recitals), but this is a moment that any Doors fan will dig right into with relish. Try to hunt this track down on WinMX or whatever...you won't be disappointed.
You will by the rest though. Dis-gusting this is, and Jim's droning raps don't much help. I guess the boys had their hearts in the right place, but this just turned out to be that much more mud on the good Doors name. I did hear that this was the only Doors album that industrial music pioneer Genesis P-Orridge's (of Throbbing Gristle 'fame') liked. Isn't the recommendation of the man behind such classics as 'Slug Bait' and 'Maggot Death' enough for youse? Well, then, what's wrong with you?
Capn's Final Word: As Jimi would say...'blah blah woof woof'
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Alive, She Cried - Elektra 1983
This 1983 single-live album (later paired with
Absolutely Live and At the Hollywood Bowl for the 2 CD In Concert,
all of which is compiled from the Door's unhip 1969-70 pre-collapse period)
is probably the most song-oriented and least 'stagey' of the available
individual live documents, with only the automatonic 'Light My Fire' extended
out to a still-sane 10 minutes, but it's also the most boring. 'You Make Me
Real', 'Texas Radio and the Big Beat', 'Love Me Two Times', 'Gloria', 'Moonlight
Drive' and 'Little Red Rooster' are also included, of which I'd say the 'wrap
your thighs around my neck' version of Them's trash-rock standard 'Gloria' is
the only thing truly noteworthy. The Morrison-as-circus-ringleader mesmerism of
his more 'out-there' moments is nowhere near this album.
Capn's Final Word: I'll leave the real, monotonous, uninformative prattling about this live material to my review of In Concert, so let's cut this one short by saying that Cate Blanchett's pussy smells like dirty salmo
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In Concert - Elektra 1991
Doors concerts in the late 60's were 'events' at which you could never tell how long it'd be before ol' Jim started wiggling his wrinkly little alcoholic penis around in a cop's face, or bizarre fights would begin to break out in the audience, or the fire marshall would cut the power without warning. Then again you could never tell when the Doors would begin to comp for half an hour while Jim Morrison would go off on one of his many 'poetic' tangents, many times culminating in him berating the audience or simply yelling unintelligibly or falling silent until audience members began to pelt him with Junior Mints. In Concert, a 2-CD live compilation including the entirety of the bands' Absolutely Live and Alive, She Cried albums, Yup, those Doors were a barrel of laffs onstage, and to hear Iggy Pop tell it, many jocks would go to their concerts with the singular goal of making Jim Morrison lose his cool. See, by 1969-70 (the period from which the grapes as tasted on In Concert were plucked), the Doors were by no means as cool as they'd been just a couple of years earlier: their singles had begun to flop, they were no longer seen as part of the hard rock cutting edge they'd helped to create, and even their carnival organ/twiddly bop guitar sound had begun to show serious signs of outdatedness. Moreover, after a few well-publicized fuckups, seeing them live became more about the satisfaction of a morbid curiosity about just how screwed up this guy really was, and maybe, just maybe, see him blow a gasket and get arrested or something. You know, they were there to watch ol' Jimmy Mo Do Something Shocking. The music wasn't really part of the equation for the majority of the people in the hall, and that includes the Doors themselves. The Doors sounded great in the studio and on the AM radio, but live their dinky sound ensured they were hit-and-miss. Manzarek's choices of keyboard sounds (mostly 'Comiskey Park' or 'Barnum and Bailey', take yer pick) and Krieger's rejection of really loud guitar distortion combined with his spidery, single-note lead style simply failed to fill up most halls. This, plus their fondness for studio overdubbing, guarantees that live versions of even their most muscular singles sound like 90 pound weaklings alongside their studio counterparts.
Moreover, when Jim goes off on one of his numerous side-trips, the band has a feeble tendency to fall into a pattern of chord-comps about as inspired and repetitive as Jay Leno on a slow news day. And let there be no mistake - Jim loves nothing more than to go off, whether it's screaming 'SHUT UP!!!!' during a pause in 'When the Music's Over' or put on his best lecherous Aqualung impression for his lovable cuddly-pie version of 'Gloria' ('Show me yo thangg....Wrap your legs around my neck!...Wrap your arms around my feet!...It's getting' HARD-der!'), which can be sometimes fascinating and sometimes a complete and utter waste of time. Granted, some might see 14 minutes of 'When the Music's Over' (the first seven of which are actually a pretty great copy of the studio version) as hypnotic: a real-life trip into the mind of Jim Morrison as he hollers and whispers and farts and falls down and passes out for minutes at a time, and that's all well and good, singers are pretty cool when they're willing to put forth a little extra effort, you know. You know, poetry, blah blah blah whatever...what I hear is that his backing band has no clue as to how to make this song any more interesting than a couple of tinkly organ bass notes and Densmore's trap-set drumming. Since they never know when Morrison is going to pipe up next, and they don't have the minerals to do anything without waiting for him to take the first step, there's simply HUGE SECTIONS WITH NOTHING HAPPENING. While that might've been okay for those 'at the event', for us stuck here with the live album it's A MONDO WASTE OF TIME. Wasting time might be great if you're having a fantastic nose-pick session or planning revenge on your sworn enemies, but listening to a drunken Jim Morrison attempt to figure out what profundity to utter next while his dimbulb backing band trundles on like a metronome is time wasting I can do without. I'd rather do the dishes.
There's a whole host of these regrettably 'extended' tunes, the aforementioned 'When the Music's Over' (shoot me in the head), the finally-released-in-its-full-form 'Celebration of the Lizard', wherein Jim recites more of his mystical/dirty/inane 'poetry' either with or without the Door's magical two-chord comp machine, a fairly standard screamfest 'The End', which, as you might already you know, is about envying your daddy's peenie and wanting to off him so you can steal it and put it in your mommy's woo-woo yourself. Apparently Jim just found this out, because he's all about that 'Momma' part...he stretches it out to at least 30 or 40 minutes all by itself, returning to it several times throughout the song. Oh, right, and there's a fairly decent 9-minute 'Light My Fire' solofest, but otherwise you might be surprised to know the Doors spend a damn huge part of this double album playing concise hairy-man boogie-woogie blues rock. Surprised, that is, if you didn't already know they'd be coming out with the ZZ Top tribute album Morrison Hotel in 1970. They cover 'Gloria', almost qualifying it as a sort of mini-'The End' in terms of wino-impotent sexual aggression, straight-up versions of 'Alabama Song', 'Backdoor Man', 'Who Do You Love', and 'Little Red Rooster', all of which are damn strong, stronger in fact than any of their own songs besides 'Break On Through', 'Love Me Two Times', and 'Roadhouse Blues'. I admit I'm just not a guy who looks at the back of a Doors album and says 'WHOO! It's got 'Moonlight Drive' on it!' Fucking sue me. I either like my Jim thin and wired and singing freaky three-minute carnival tunes, or fat, drunk, and singing three-minute blues songs, but not that whole nasty Soft Parade middle period where he got in touch with his inner Mad Libs book. Fuck that. Luckily, In Concert gives us a mixture between the Good Jim and Bad Jim, or else it'd be unlistenable. And since I've still got a nose full of gold nuggets and a whole list of enemies to exact peculiar versions of revenge from, I'll be waiting to review the ever-more-self-indulgent Live at the Hollywood Bowl.
Capn's Final Word: They keep it short, they keep it good. Vice versa, not so much.
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Doors Boxed Set - Elektra 1997
Yup, a boxed set from the band, finally. Originally enough, the band goes the way of The Collector rather than the Casual Fan, which to me is the only way that makes a shred of sense. I mean, the Casual Fan already has a bunch of greatest hits to choose from, anything from the lame Doors Movie Soundtrack to the fairly comprehensive Best Of 2-discer. But the Doors wanted to present their fans with a sort of Rarity Combination Platter No. 4, with Salsa and Tortillas. So, we get 2 discs of mixed unreleased rarities (mostly bad), live stuff (mostly good, but we've heard the songs before), and their '65 demos (eh...). We also get another live concert on one disc ('Live In New York City') which, again, shows that the Doors were no fantastic live band. And, for padding, a disc of 'Band Favorites' (but not 'Greatest Hits', another originality!) which you probably already own anyway.
I can see the Casual Fan being totally bewildered by most of the stuff on here. When the Doors weren't doing 'singles', most of the time they were pretty mediocre, and as live performers...there were only three instrumentalists! How much power can you get from only two melodic instruments on stage, especially when the lead guitarist is usually playing clean twinkley window dressing rather than kicking out the preserves like Pete Townshend or Jimmy Page? Sound hollower than...shit, a hollow thing.
I can also see the Collector being interested, but probably will buy this thing anyway, just to have it. So why am I addressing them? Shit. I should just shut down this review.
Capn's Final Word: Big and okay. And at least they put some thought into the boxed set format....give 'em credit for that.
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