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The Doors - L.A. Woman CD (album) cover

L.A. WOMAN

The Doors

 

Proto-Prog

4.03 | 457 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The closing of the Doors

We have only reached 1971, when prog was really getting into its stride, and yet the doors are already closing on one of the bands who helped to lay its foundations. "LA woman" was to be the band's last album with their leader Jim Morrison, who pressed the self-destruct button one too many times in Paris that year.

Despite the adverse circumstances surrounding its recording, "LA woman" turns out to be a highly accomplished album. We have the usual collection of sophisticated pop based material ("Love he madly" and "Changeling") and blues ("Been down so long" back to back with "Cars hiss by my window" and later John Lee Hooker's "Crawling king snake"). On tracks such as "Been down so long", the damage Morrison was doing to himself shows through in his much rougher sounding voice. The irony is though, he sounds really good. "L'America" takes us back to the atmosphere which prevailed on previous albums, the psychedelic overtones sounding somewhat out of place here.

For me, "Hyacinth house" is the weak track of the album. From a compositional point of view it is poor, and the half hearted performance and production do nothing to improve upon it. Worthy of mention is "The wasp" which finds Morrison reciting his poetry while sounding rather like a preacher at a salvation show.

From a prog perspective the interest really lies in a couple of songs. The title track is an 8 minute piece which sets off as a rock and roll song. The pace varies as the song progresses, developing through instrumental breaks and Morrison's exciting vocal. What we were perhaps totally unprepared for though was "Riders on the storm". If ever a band signed off on a high, it was The Doors. The song is a masterpiece of understated melancholy, with an atmosphere which paints a thousand pictures (yes in this case it is words which paint a thousand pictures!). The deceptively laid back, almost lounge like, mood of the piece disguises a quite stunning combination of melody and lyric.

"LA woman" is an album which defies the odds, and provides a fitting coda to the Morrison era. The masterstroke is undoubtedly to sign off with what is surely the best song they ever recorded.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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