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The Doors - Other Voices CD (album) cover

OTHER VOICES

The Doors

 

Proto-Prog

2.77 | 93 ratings

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Progfan97402
3 stars This has been the era of the Doors I've been hesitant to buy. I constantly see these two LPs used, so I picked up Other Voices. There are many reasons I've been hesitant, like how few bought these albums when they came out because they felt the Doors were through without Jim Morrison. I met quite a few people who didn't even realize the Doors didn't quite throw in the towel after Jim Morrison's passing! To be fair, they're younger listeners (my age or younger, that is Gen X and Millennials, I belong to the former) so they didn't have the benefit of being there when it happened. Other Voices is the first of two post-Morrison efforts. This album was actually recorded with the hope Jim would return from Paris back to LA to have him lay down the vocal tracks, but as of July of that year (1971) that was very much out of the question. So that left Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger to do the vocal duties. Hence the Other Voices title. It's not the first time they sang. Manzarek was apparently forced to sing occasionally live when Jim was just too far gone to perform or didn't even show. Krieger shared a lead vocal on "Runnin' Blue" off the Soft Parade (that funny little Dylan vocal during the country/bluegrass break), to be fair, that was Robbie's song to begin with.

Is Other Voices really that bad? Well I'd be lying if I state this stuff stacks up very well to anything they did with Jim Morrison. Of course that's not true. No rock critic thought so, and none of the few buyers who actually bought it thought so. But there really is nothing on here I found offensive or truly cringeworthy. The music doesn't have that gloomy atmosphere of Morrison-era albums, sometimes it's pretty upbeat. This is what you get when Krieger and Manzarek do the songwriting. The first two songs, "In the Eye of the Sun" and "Variety is the Space of Life" are as I describe, not exactly bad, not great. "Ships w/Sails" can show that the remaining Doors can record a great song if they wanted to. Manzarek does his best Morrison, but you can tell he's no Jim. Imagine what would happen had Jim sung this! I really love this song, it's a big standout. "Tightrope Ride" was released as a single, wasn't exactly a chart stormer, and you can see why. Like most of the album, not bad, not great, but perfectly listenable. "Down on the Farm" has a more folk feel, sounding like Peter, Paul & Mary gone electric with all male vocals. "I'm Horny, I'm Stoned" is Krieger's song, and I really have a blast listening to this! Sounds so not like the Doors, here it's just a plain silly song, they weren't taking themselves seriously. Perhaps because they realized that the Doors with Jim Morrison took themselves way too seriously, and they knew it. Although I have to admit "Runnin' Blue" from The Soft Parade is the only Morrison-era song that didn't take itself seriously (with that Dylan-like vocal part from Robbie Krieger), but then that song is credited to the same person as "I'm Horny, I'm Stoned". "Wandering Musician" is another one that isn't bad or great, but I really love the last piece, "Hang on to Your Life". It's a nice jazzy Latin-influenced song with some great passages that are almost proggy, especially with all those electric pianos. This song even gets help from Afro-Cuban percussionist Francesco Aguabella.

Listening to this album it's very hard to believe this was released only six months after L.A. Woman. Nothing on Other Voices reaches such mindblowing heights as "Riders on the Storm", but on the other hand that's not what I expect when it's all the work of Manzarek, Krieger, and Densmore (and some extra help when needed). To me there's three songs that stand out, one of them for being funny (I'm referring to "I'm Horny, I'm Stoned", which I'm sure won't be to everyone's liking). While this album isn't likely to visit their turntable (or CD player) as frequently as the Jim-era albums, I am happy to state that I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't have high expectations and come out finding it not bad, but hardly a classic. I can give this a three star rating because nothing here is cringeworthy to my ears (although I'm sure "I'm Horny, I'm Stoned" may be to some).

Progfan97402 | 3/5 |

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