Forty years ago in 1971, I bought L.A.Woman, and as all Doors fans back then, was completely blown away by their yet- another amazing sound. As like the Classic Albums dvd THE DOORS from 2008, this dvd also takes us into the making of the Doors L.A. Woman, with amazing stories and footage. The surviving Doors John Densmore, Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger tell us the stories behind 9 of their 10 songs- The Changeling, Been Down So Long, Crawling King Snake, Love Her Madly, L.A. Woman, The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat), Riders On The Storm, Cars Hiss By My Window and Hyacinth House. The only song not covered is L'America.
Jim Morrison was and would never be the same after the Miami arrest, and his lyrics on this album especially attest to that fact. When The Doors went to begin recording this album at the Sunset Sound Studios in LA, Paul Rothchild didn't like one sound they were playing and walked out saying he would not record any of it. Paul Rothchild recorded all The Doors albums, so this really came as a shock to all of them. Bruce Botnick ignored Rothchild's walk out and took The Doors to their rehearsal studio and asked if they had anything else to record. As always, Jim and Robbie always had plenty of material for songs.
Unlike being in the Elektra Studio at Sunset Sound, where it took dozens of takes ending up in weeks or months to get the songs just right for one album, The Doors finished this album in their rehearsal studio on Santa Monica Blvd. in 4 days! All the songs were finished after one or two takes, making this a true garage band album. Bruce Botnick brought in some extra talent with Jerry Scheff on bass guitar and Marc Benno on rhythm guitar. All 4 Doors were excited, especially Jim, to be working with Jerry Scheff, who was bass guitarist for Elvis Presley's TCB band. I'm sure the heavy blues sounds on L.A. Woman came from the addition of these two highly talented guitarists.
Riders On the Storm came from the old cowboy classic Ghost Riders In The Sky, of which I still love the Johnny Cash and other old cowboy versions. The Doors and Botnick dissect the songs for us and let us hear Jim sing with the different rhythms, which is really fantastic. Crawling King Snake, John Lee Hooker's huge hit, really brings out the blues in The Doors. The big bonus on this dvd, is the song, She Smells So Nice- another blues song that I have never heard before- and Jim can sing with the best of the bluesmen on this recording. Robbie tells of writing Love Her Madly based on watching his girlfriend walking out after a fight. The Changeling is truly Jim Morrison's farewell to his life, family and friends here in America, and so sadly to The Doors.
There is plenty of seen-before footage and photos of The Doors- about 70%, but another 30% I have never seen before, and I have everything on The Doors since 1967! The talks about the music and stories I have never heard before, from The Doors, Botnick, Rothchild, Jac Holzman, Bill Siddons and other friends and associates are very interesting. Another great bonus feature is The Doors Guide to L.A.- seeing the places The Doors were at, back in 1971 and now, really added to the dvd. For a Doors fan, this inside look into the making of The Doors last album with Jim Morrison is well worth buying. On this blu-ray's 103 minutes running time, I viewed a good 30% of never been seen before photos and footage, heard stories about 9 of the 10 songs that I have never heard before, got a view of The Doors LA hangouts from both 1971 and how they look now, and got to hear for the first time The Doors song She Smells So Nice- a fabulous blues song that goes well with Crawling King Snake.
This dvd is bittersweet because it would be Jim's last album with the Doors, as after the 4 days of recording, he would join Pam in Paris, never to return, but it also brings a lot of happiness in listening to these great stories from the surviving Doors and the fact that this album was finished in 4 days in a garage type studio is testament to the sheer genius that was and always will be The Doors. I hope the surviving Doors keep making dvd's taking us into the creation of their other albums, as I can never get enough of their pure magic, that even after 40 years is still there!