Rhino 2007 Reissues

The Doors

In 1967, The Doors lit the world on fire with their landmark self-titled debut. Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, John Densmore, and Ray Manzarek would go on to record five more wildly indescribable albums together — each unrivaled in their fluid timelessness, brazen in their intensity, boasting a sound and dynamic impossible to duplicate. Demand for Doors’ music is an ongoing concern, stirring up creative repackagings of their catalog on a continual basis. In 2006, all six studio albums were remixed in 5.1 surround, expanded with bonus nuggets, and bundled together for the Perception box set. Now, in celebration of The Doors’ 40th anniversary, Rhino has issued each CD individually, allowing discerning fans to pick and choose what they want if they don't want it all.

The Doors, the first album, is arguably the pick of the litter — startling, visceral, and overlty expressive in its immediacy, without resolve, without compromise. The new remix extends the range and corrects the old recording’s speed and key — a forty-year-old defect Doors engineer Bruce Botnik stumbled upon during the restoration process. “Break On Through” blasts through the living room speakers with fresh velocity, Morrison lunging ferociously through each verse. You can even hear him sing “she gets high” without the word “high” getting the ax. “The Crystal Ship” floats through a surreal sea of morose volatility, igniting "Light My Fire" into a blaze of sanctity. “The End” intones its finality with an authoritative roar that shakes the rafters. The three bonus tracks include alternate takes of "Moonlight Drive," the song that originally brought Morrison and Manzarek together on that fateful day in Venice to form a band named after a passage in William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

Strange Days, Waiting For The Sun, and The Soft Parade faithfully follow suit — each sonically sweetened to succulent scrumptiousness and rounded out by alternate takes of ‘Love Me Two Times, “Not To Touch The Earth,” and “Touch Me,” mixed in with random dialogue snippets and oddball rarities like “Whiskey, Mystics And Men,” Tommaso Albinoni’s classical composition “Adagio In G Minor,” and the 17-minute “Celebration Of The Lizard,” Morrison’s shameless, reptilian rant that thrusts its lance at lions in the street, hill dwellers, and the palace of exile. Morrison Hotel stacks the deck with an extra ten tunes, including four takes of “Roadhouse Blues” and an impromptu stab at Chuck Berry’s “Carol.”

The sun sets as L.A. Woman slithers across the lunar tarmac — “The Changeling” darts the back alleys, “Cars Hiss By My Window” caresses the astral glide, and “Riders On The Storm” sideswipes a cataclysmic shift during its gentle, wavering drive, Morrison cautioning the wanderer of his impending fate over a lightly dressed melody awash in sanctified allegory. Regretfully, the two bonus tracks on this sixth and final studio collection — the uneventful "Orange County Suite" and "(You Need Meat) Don't Go Not Further," which originally appeared as a b-side to the "Love Her Madly" single and features Manzarek on lead vocals — get lost in the understated elegance. Altogether, the final musings echo out beneath the sky of infinite mortality while the never-closing 'doors of perception' access new labyrinths of madness.

~ Shawn Perry

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