The Doors: L.A. Woman (40th Anniversary Edition)
You’ve heard L.A. Woman, right? The seminal last album by the Jim Morrison-led Doors? Well the 40th anniversary two-disk set of this masterpiece offers some surprising gems.
This sixth studio album of The Doors is offered here in a competent remix/remastering that will allow you to hear stuff you never knew existed. The album features the organ-chunk opener “The Changeling,” that roiling piano on “Love Her Madly” (with Robby Krieger’s guitars up front in a way that they have never been before), and that perfect L.A. song, “L.A. Woman,” which is as floaty, fun and spirited as always (this might just be the Doors at their best, really). Then there is the snap of the band and Morrison’s talking-vocal-poetry, “we is stoned, immaculate,” on “The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)” and the menacing closer “Riders On The Storm,” with Ray Manzarek at maybe his most inspired ivory tickling.
It’s on the second disk where things are really wild and loose, seeing as these are more or less alternate versions. We get Morrison talking to the control room a hell of a lot, and that’s fun to hear as it is, but we get a faster, more jangly “Love Her Madly” with Morrison occasionally eating words and just rolling down to his lowest register (there’s a great piano lead here too). A truly bluesy “Cars Hiss By My Window” is very much like the one on the original album, but anytime I get to hear Robbie Krieger noodling, as he does ever so slightly differently on this version, I’m a happy man!
“L.A. Woman” sounds the most different from the original version, that famous pre-Mojo rising part is nearly unrecognizable to the one we know (though John Densmore’s drums are perfect to Morrison’s rising in both versions); generally though the “L.A. Woman” we know is the superior version. We get more studio talk on a pretty-much realized “Riders on the Storm” and then two rockers that did not make the original album, “She Smells So Nice” with a distorted Morrison vocal and a slinky “Rock Me.”
This 40th Anniversary of L.A. Woman might just be worth picking up for disk two’s chock-full of truly different versions of songs we have known for so long but never heard this way.