The Doors time had come. They had been a large part of the Los Angeles club scene, led by the talented and appealing (especially to the opposite sex) Jim Morrison. They also had three other great musicians: Ray Manzarek (keyboards and organ); Robby Krieger (guitar); and John Densmore (drums). These four musicians released this debut album in early 1967 and it changed the way that music was listened to. Let’s observe this album, track by track.
We kick off with Break On Through (To The Other Side) which has some cool drums, before organ and guitar enter. Jim Morrison’s legendary voice enters, singing in quite an original way for Rock music. The lyrics are really awesome to hear. The organ solo here is wonderful, it sounds super catchy and unusually listenable. References to one’s lover getting high, and other similar 1960s ideals, this is pretty cool. A nicely crafted piece of music from start to finish.
Next is Soul Kitchen which begins with a cool organ riff, before the bass sound and guitar kicks in. Jim Morrison then begins singing. Incidentally, Jim Morrison himself was influenced heavily by Crooners such as Frank Sinatra. This comes out quite clearly in a song like this. A very 1960s piece with psychedelic imagery, this is quite different, in a very good way. The guitar solo here by Robby Krieger is fantastic, a nice piece of Gibson SG beauty that it is. An excellent listen once again, and sounds very good from start to finish. Clever and essential Pop/Rock music.
The Crystal Ship begins with Jim Morrison singing, before the rest of the band enter in an accomplished way. Lyrics that are quite romantic here, and the band play quite a beautiful piece of music, especially with the piano recorded here. This is quite a melancholy ballad, but at only two and a half minutes long. It builds up to a glorious climax towards the end, and finishes dramatically. Good song.
Twentieth Century Fox begins with some cool, somewhat Funky guitar playing, before this piece gets underway. A really timeless and excellent listen, this is another good song, especially with the chorus sung wonderfully by Jim Morrison. The guitar playing here is highlighted nicely, especially the guitar solo. Lyrically and musically Psychedelic, this is very different and unique listening to most things out there, especially today. Very catchy and nicely crafted for a song.
Following is Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) which has a sort of instrumental call-and-response to begin with, before going into an interesting song about searching for said whiskey bar. The instrumentation and musicianship here is wonderful, and Jim Morrison sounds like a legendary singer here. Singing about finding a woman to love is here as well, all-in-all an interesting listen with some great organ and keyboard playing here. Memorable, and fun to hear. Jim Morrison sounds glorious towards the end here. A rather amusing song that is nonsensical, but good listening regardless.
The classic song Light My Fire is next, beginning with a decent beat and awesome organ. Jim Morrison quickly enters, singing about drug use and other similar activities. From the beginning, you can sense the excellence of this song. It quickly goes into a funky sort of jam with the bass sound and organ solo to match. It is really catchy, and is wonderfully delivered by The Doors. A truly great song, this is an instant classic from 1967. It just demands dancing and is really enjoyable listening. Towards the middle, we hear some bashing drums and the whole thing steps back for the guitar solo, which is very eastern sounding. Marvelous and miraculous, this is an amazing listen that in seven minutes of length never is dull or boring. Top notch, this is a fine listening experience and just sounds brilliant for an extended but intelligent jam. In the second half, the guitar leads the way and we go back into the first section of the song, and Jim Morrison begins singing again. A different yet memorable song, this is one of the highlights of the album. Urgent singing and a brilliant climax finish this off. Brilliant.
Back Door Man begins with Funky guitar and bass sounds, before launching into a cool and rather groove based piece that is great to hear. Perhaps referring to a particular sexual activity, this is a cool song with a great rhythmic sensibility about it. The guitar solo here is a bit slower and more rhythmic based than before. The music here is definitely different from much of what was out there at the time. Towards the end, Jim Morrison begins screaming wonderfully, and with a sense of urgency. Good effort, once again.
I Looked At You begins with some great playing on the drums, before launching into a very 1960s romantic sort of piece. This is very nicely performed and playing by the band, sounding as very much though it was recorded and delivered in one take. A basic song that is likely about young love, it has a surprising false ending, before going back into the song at hand. Clever and interesting, this is another good song. Great to hear.
Next is End Of The Night which begins with ghostly sounding slide guitar, an unforgettable organ melody and slow percussion, it is a perfect backdrop for Jim Morrison to sing slowly and calmly over. Some really impressive lyrics are here, and these sorts of songs cement The Doors into musical history. The slide guitar solo and toybox like keyboard melody do sound different to much of what was out at the time of release. An interesting and very listenable piece of music, this is cool to hear.
After that is Take It As It Comes which is lovely and melodic listening, and is a very catchy piece of classic 1960s artistry. The organ solo early on in this piece is awesome and majestic. A great slice of Pop/Rock goodness, it is something that one can really dance along to, even though it is only two minutes long. It gets very wonderfully catchy towards the end, and builds up to an awesome finish.
The End begins with subtle guitar playing and hi-hats, before going into a beautiful eastern style melody on the guitar. If anyone knows anything about The Doors, this is the story of Oedipus Rex set to music. Jim Morrison and tambourine shortly enters to sing about said end, along with awesome organ keyboard here. The song itself is quite good, and it goes into a very nicely worked on jam. The melodies here are great ear and candy and unforgettable. Singing about how all the children are “insane” and other semi-Psychedelic ideals, this is as suspenseful as a postmodern horror movie. Given that this is an 11 minute long piece, it never gets dull or boring throughout, as other pieces of music can do. References to “riding a snake” could be about sexual activity, LSD use or both. Other stream of consciousness lyrics follow, and this piece is really top and amazing to hear. It goes quiet in the second half, before going straight into the piece about the story of Oedipus Rex. It is pretty confrontational and a rather disturbing listen, especially back into the 1960s. After a brief musical climax, it quieter before launching into a dance style groove to imitate the sound of sexual activity. Very much dramatic but extraordinary, it speeds up and crashes back down to earth before finishing subtly and quietly. It goes into a lone vocal part at the end of the song, before finishing nicely. Brilliant.
This album is a very good listen and although the longer pieces here are clearly the highlights, the whole album is a consistent listen from start to finish. It brought a new dimension and listening experience sonically that arrived in early 1967, just before the Summer Of Love kicked off. Very good and not a dull moment here, if you like weird Psychedelic music, this is a record you must hear.
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