Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Doors - Morrison Hotel

I know that Morrison famously said of the LA Woman album, “we finally made a blues record!”, but this seems, in part anyway, to be an earlier attempt at this worthy goal.

Right from the beginning, one of their strongest blues-oriented outings is delivered, the incredible “Roadhouse Blues”. A perfect, simple blues riff, cool harmonica, pounding piano and great guitar playing all combine in this one. Add Jim’s lyrics like “woke up this morning and got myself a beer” and his blues-scat singing and you have a classic in the truest sense of the word! A rockin’ intro to a cool record!

Taking its title from their 3rd album, “Waiting For the Sun”, has ethereal moments mixed with powerful accents, all augmented with Kreiger’s slide guitar. His style is quite different from most blues players – using it more for melody than pure rock/blues riffs. This is darkly pretty…

There is an unusual combination of harpsichord with fast guitar riffs in “You Make Me Real”, an energetic rocker. “Peace Frog” is driven by a funky, wah-wah guitar figure making a good, danceable number, but it is not catchy enough to be completely memorable. Even less successful is “Blue Sunday”, a meandering, almost AOR-ish slow song that doesn’t seem to ever really go anywhere.

Again, the group puts together several seemingly inconsistent parts to create “Ship of Fools”, from guitar/organ licks to a jazzy middle section. Not exactly a pop song, but some interesting bits. Fuzz guitar starts out “Land Ho!” and keeps it movin’ but without a strong chorus, it is not as powerful as it could be.

A slow, stalking blues is performed in “The Spy”, with a groove that you can’t help but move along to. While not one of the better known songs, this is pretty excellent! “Queen of the Highway” is also a little disjointed – like the group had too many ideas and didn’t know what to do with them all so threw everything in a blender and hoped for the best! Obviously, this didn’t completely work out for them! The simpler tunes are the ones that work on this record.

Another insubstantial number is the quiet ballad “Indian Summer” but the closer, “Maggie M’Gill” brings everything back to the blues, with a heavy back beat, great guitar licks and a terrific melody. A perfect bookend to “Roadhouse Blues”!

Another flawed album, with some filler, but also some of their most potent blues-rockers.