Robby Krieger: The Ritual Begins At Sundown

Robby Krieger
The Ritual Begins At Sundown
(The Players Club)

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The horn-jumpin’ funky “What Was That?” opens Robby Krieger’s new album, The Ritual Begins At Sundown. This is the ex-Doors guitarist, songwriter’s first new album since his 2010 Grammy-nominated Singularity.

Krieger manages slide playing like only he can on the second tune, the slow and pretty much perfect “Slide Home.” Then things are up and running round funky jazz in “The Drift,” and a big stab at “Chunga’s Revenge,” (fitting, as there are plenty of ex-Zappa alums playing on The Ritual Begins At Sundown.) And with Chad Wackerman on drums, Tommy Mars’ organ, and co-producer Arthur Barrows’ perfect bass accompaniment, (and Krieger wailing as if he was still in his 20’s, trying to follow Morrison), this stab at this Zappa classic (and the only cover song here) is one of the highlights.

Mars gives us soft piano under Krieger’s slide on “Yes, The River Knows,” another great one, the two locked nicely together. But when Krieger lets loose, watch out.

“The Hitch,” wails with just pure jazz, rockin’ fun. “Dr. Noir” features funk organ pumping, horn runs, and “Bianca’s Dream,” gives us more fusion. Again, the players here are fantastic and each tune a gem.

The ender, “Screen Junkie,” sees Krieger handling a clean guitar sound running along with all the other instruments.

The thing about The Doors was always that I dug the Morrison mystique and love lots of their tunes (lots of which Robby Krieger penned). But for me, it was always Krieger who made that band. On The Ritual Begins At Sundown, it is obvious Robby Krieger is still a force to be reckoned with.

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