Friday, 26 April 2019

The Doors - Morrison Hotel (1970)

You make me real....

  

Released February 1970

After their stunning, innovative and atmospheric debut album, The Doors released three increasingly experimental and quirky albums, all of which were impressive, but are slightly more of an acquired taste than this often regarded as a "back to basics" rock album. To an extent. There are still quite a lot of instantly recognisable Door-isms all over the album. The swirling organ sound, the haunting vocals, the Germanic, Brechtian influences. The bizarre, mystical lyrics. They are all still there.

TRACK LISTING

1. Roadhouse Blues
2. Waiting For The Sun
3. You Make Me Real
4. Peace Frog
5. Blue Sunday
6. Ship Of Fools
7. Land Ho!
8. The Spy
9. Queen Of The Highway
10. Indian Summer
11. Maggie M'Gill                                        

"Roadhouse Blues" is a superb, pounding slice of proper blues bar-room rock, full of killer guitar, harmonica, drums and a strong vocal from Jim Morrison. Great stuff. Don't be misled, though, into thinking this is a blues rock album, though, just as "L.A. Woman" didn't mean the album that bore the same name was one either. The track is substantially different from most of the subsequent material.

 "Waiting For The Sun" takes the title from the band's 1968 album and evokes a bit of the spirit of those times with a mysterious, brooding number that, although it had some heavy rock sounds, particularly on the drums, harked back to those heady psychedelic days. The glammy "You Make Me Real" surely was listened to by those who became The New York Dolls. It was in-your-face upbeat glam rock before anything like it had been thought of.

"Peace Frog" has a sumptuous funky wah-wah guitar, organ and drum intro and a moody, soulfully funky vocal from Morrison. This was a sound the group had not really produced before, although there are still some trademark organ breaks. The mid-song guitar solo is superb and Morrison's spoken part half way through must have inspired a young Patti Smith. The song suddenly morphs into the sleepy, sonorous Teutonic "Blue Sunday", with its Velvet Underground overtones. A strange contrast.

"Ship Of Fools" evokes "Break On Through" with its rhythmic intro. "Land Ho!" is lyrically perplexing, but it has a lot of atmosphere and some sublime bass and cymbal backing. "The Spy" is a bluesily thumping and menacing slow-burning paranoid number. "Queen Of The Highway" is a blues, evocative groover that once again is packed full or portent, but musically doesn't quite seem to know where its going, chopping and changing slightly too much for my liking. The dreamy "Indian Summer" was actually recorded in 1966 for the debut album and has hints of "The End" in there. The blues rock that was given to us on the album's opener returns on its final track, the chugging, industrially riffy rock of "Maggie M'Gill".

A good album, as all The Doors albums are - interesting and intriguing. The sound quality on the remaster taken from "The Complete Studio Albums" box set is excellent.

B-

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