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FULL CIRCLE

The Doors

Proto-Prog


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Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars By all standards this is definitely a bad record. The last official studio release by the original DOORS sans Morrison shows that the magic is gone and that the spirit of the group had mostly been maintained by Jim's charisma. Still, Krieger's latino rocker "The Mosquito" is among the most catchy and playful Doors tunes ever, while "Verdilac" and "The Piano Bird" are somewhat proggy nice jazz-improvisations. But, this is not enough for real recommendation, so "The Full Circle" remains of collectors' interest only.

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#105505)
Posted Thursday, January 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album, like all the others from The Doors, brings me a lot of memories...

In mid 1972 one of my brothers (a big Doors`Fan) and me were friends of one of the families who lived in the same neighborhood. Our friends had at that time a very good collection of Rock albums. So, when this album was released, they bought it first, the Mexican edition, and we listened to it and particularly I liked it a lot. In September 1972 I went to a record shop with my father and I saw the Import Copy (made in the U.S.) and I asked my father to bought it. He did it. This first U.S. edition had the bonus of a zoetrope, not longer available in later editions. Unfortunately, I was 7 years old then, and my father took the zoetrope and put it inside another record of his great collection of records (which I can`t remember which it was), so the zoetrope`s "existence" remains in mystery since then! (I still can`t find it!).

The album remained in our collection until one day my brother lent it along with several Doors`albums to a fellow employee in his job and this man stole it in the early eighties! So, with this album being out of print in the U.S. since the mid seventies, it was until 1982 when I saw it again in a record shop, made in Germany, that I bought it again, along with "Other Voices". This German Edition is very good in sound and cover quality, but it didn`t include the zoetrope anymore!

Now, about the album:

After the release of the "Other Voices" album, The Doors toured again, this time recruiting additional musicians (Jack Conrad and Bobby Ray), having some success and good reviews, but without the same success as years before. So, they recorded this album, producing it themselves (without long time recording engineer / co-producer Bruce Botnick) in Los Angeles. After the release of this album, in July 1972, they toured again until mid September 1972, when they played a concert in Los Angeles, which was their last concert as a band. Then, in late 1972, they went to London looking for a new singer, but it seems that Manzarek didn`t think that it was a good idea and decided to leave the band: "I thought that it was the time to close The Doors". It seems that the title (suggested by Manzarek) and cover design of this album showed that at least for Manzarek, "it wasn`t right for the band to play without Jim anymore", so the title was like a prediction for their future, like an unofficial statement of their split which was confirmed in early 1973. In London, Krieger and Densmore recruited new musicians and tried again as "The Butts Band", releasing two albums, without much success, until their split in 1975. Manzarek started a solo career. The Trio worked again to provide the music for Morrison`s pre-recorded poetry for the "American Prayer" album, which was released in late 1978.

It seems that for "Full Circle" the band wanted a more "light" approach to the music style, so this album is a bit more "commercial" in sound in comparison to "Other Voices".

Song by song:

"Get Up and Dance": released as a single in the U.K., with a B-side song called "Tree Trunks" which is now a "rarity" only available in Bootlegs. "Get Up and Dance" is a commercial song, sung by Manzarek, with female backing singers.

"4 Billion Souls": a song composed and sung by Krieger with very good organ / guitar melodies and arrangements.

"Verdilac": a good Jazz-Rock song with good sax by Charles Lloyd. A "mysterious" song in sound and in title (Verdilac? What does it mean?).

"Hardwood Floor": another good song by Krieger but sung by Manzarek with the female backing singers, and good harmonica solo by Krieger. Densmore plays good drums.

"Good Rockin`": an old Rock and Roll song cover.

"The Mosquito": a funny song with "spanish lyrics" sung by Krieger. The main thing in this song is a very good instrumental section, showing very well the talent of each musician, including bass player Leland Sklar (a very known session musician who has played and recorded with a lot of musicians, including the underrated Phil Collins).

"The Piano Bird": the best song in this album, composed by Densmore with Jack Conrad who plays rhythm guitar in this song. Again, it has a very good instrumental section with very good contributions by all the musicians, particularly Manzarek in the electric piano, Densmore in the drums, and a very good flute played by Charles Lloyd. Again, the Jazz-Rock / Latin Music influences shine in this song. One of the best songs they recorded as Trio, IMO.

"It Slipped my Mind": composed and sung by Krieger, with very good guitars by him.

"The Peking King and the New York Queen": composed and sung by Manzarek, with very good keyboards arrangements. It also has the female backing singers. The lyrics are about peace between West and East, a theme very common in those years.

The recording and production of this album is better than in "Other Voices", IMO. The band sounds better, like they gained more confidence as a Trio. Krieger sang much better than in "Other Voices". Unfortuately, this album was even less successful that "Other Voices", and maybe it was one of the reasons to split the band. But, IMO, the band "closed The Doors" with a very good album.

In www.youtube.com there are some videos of The Doors playing live for the "Beat Club" T.V. programme in Germany, in 3- May-1972. They played "In the Eye of the Sun", "Ships w/ Sails", "Tightrope Ride" and "I`m Horny , I`m Stoned" from the "Other Voices" album, plus "Verdilac" (titled "Vertilac" in that website) from this album, and "Love Me Two Times", with Jack Conrad (bass) and Bobby Ray (guitar, percussion, vocals). These videos show that the band was very good playing the music, but the vocals are not very good, IMO. Manzarek sings well most of the time, but Krieger`s vocals are not very well. Maybe the problems with the vocals were the main problems after Morrison died, so they decided to split the band.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#105670)
Posted Friday, January 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album comes from a period in the band's life after the sad passing of Jim Morrison. Once upon a time I really loved this LP, and the previous release, 'Other Voices' (which has proven to be my preferred album) but in the light of the many wonderful bands and intense music that I've discovered since, one can't get too excited.

The most engaging tracks on the album are possibly ; 'Verdilac', with its mysterious atmosphere, jazzy inclinations, a great sax workout, abstract lyrics and interesting structure - Ray recites something in Latin (or maybe Egyptian ??) after the instrumental section, almost laughable, but quite effective and spooky. 'The Mosquito', shows off how tight the band can be - especially Ray's extraordinary organ work, as well as searing guitar breaks from Robbie.. 'The Piano Bird' , a song by drummer John Densmore and friend Jack Conrad, and is very laid back with blissful electric piano work, soft flute playing and some cool drum fills. The melodies are beautiful. 'The Peking King and The New York Queen', the longest track, clocking in at 6min 25secs, starts with some lovely Harpsichord (or is it a 'tack' piano ??) and a funky riff, and features amusing lyrics - like the quirky character conversation in the middle section - (The King) "I like Sushi" and (The Queen) "Eating raw fish is digusting", but musically maybe a bit repetitive and 'standard' to make any major impact on the listener. Perhaps '4 Billion Souls' is almost classic Doors, had Jim been at the mic.

The remaining tracks (Get Up and Dance, Hardwood Floor, Good Rockin' and It Slipped My Mind) are generally straight-forward pop/rock songs, well written and arranged, but don't really offer anything new. Overall, a good album, but any really special ideas were scarce this time around. I should mention that the female vocal backings employed on this album give it a commercial feel.

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#107514)
Posted Monday, January 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The last Doors album (if one excepts the tribute to Jim with "An American Prayer"). It is available as an import and is packaged together with "Other Voices" for a decent 18 ? budget at a well known Internet reseller (you know, the Brazilian one).

The jazzy and bluesy tone of "Other Voice", their previous album is also very present on this work.

The rocking and childish opener "Get Up And Dance"sounds like an ELO song (but not of the best ones). Very basic number. I do not like at all the country oriented style of "Four Billion Souls" acompletely useless track. "Verdillac" almost sound as a King Crimson song. The jazzy ambience and the improv style are really close to this other important band. If you would not know it is The Doors, you really can feel the KC mark on this number. One of the very few stand out tracks.

Most of the songs are tasteless and frankly not good. Where one could find some nice Doors touches in "Other Voice", there is almost not such moments here.

"Good Rocking" is a pure rock'n'roll number (hence its title). It is just better compared to the other tracks featured on this release. By no means it is an outstanding song. There are zillions of better songs out there. Nobody would even mention it was it not released by The Doors.

This album is no masterpiece as you can imagine. The poorest one along with "The Soft Parade". I am even hesitant to give it the two stars rating. On "The Soft Parade" there were at least some valuable numbers. But let's proceed...

It is not the Mexican joke "The Mosquito" that will change my mind. Stupid lyrics (an attempt to be funny probably) : "No me moleste mosquito, let me eat my burrito". You have to dare ! The second half of the song features a very good guitar solo as well as a good drumming work. At least, it saves it form being completely messy (it should have only featured this instrumental part actually).

"The Piano Bird" is my fave. It reminds me the mood of "Riders Of The Storm" exactly as "Ships With Sails" did on their previous album. Very nice to hear that they still can produce good Doors song. The groovy flavour is very nice. But one needs almost to wait the end of the album to get this. Very nice flute play as well (which is extremely rare in a Doors song). For this album (as for their previous one), some guests musicians were featured to give it a bit more weight to the core trio. Very few songs will benefit as much as this one of this addtional line-up.

"It Slipped My Mind" is dull for most of it but the guitar work from Krieger if great. So half the track is good while the other half just doesn't work.

The closing number is another classic Doors song although at times one seems to hear Tull's "Hare" part in "A Passion Play". Most of this long song (almost 6'30") is a solid rock tune. Here and there it deviates from its main direction and explores the grotesque and clownesque style (already featured in several of their old songs). All in all, one of the best here.

After this album, the trio will call it quit for some time. I am grateful to you Ray, Robert and John to have prolonged The Doors experience for a little while. It was simply not possible on the long run to do it without Jim I guess.

Thanks to the average numbers at the end of this album, I will rate it two stars, but I am doing an effort, really.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#119183)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Better than you think.

The record starts off strong with the gospel of "Get Up And Dance", a jamming feel good rock tune. "4 Billion Souls" is a decent song with some good guitar and organ parts but in the end, not too memorable. With "Verdilac" the album takes a funkier turn. There's horns and a groovy bass line with some great saxophone and guitar soloing. Jazzy and a real jewel. "Hardwood Floor" brings back the country western bar atmosphere heard on 'Other Voices' and is a good song with harmonica playing. "Good Rockin'" is a cover song and works well, rocking and rolling. Next one, "The Mosquito" is the only song from the non-Morrison era that made it to Elektra's 2000 'The Best Of The Doors' compilation and it's definitely one of the better songs here. Humorous and well written & arranged. Then "The Piano Bird" brings back the soul and funk influences and it is good in all it's trippyness. "It Slipped My Mind" is a more average Doors song and not very memorable, while the ending track "The Peking King and the New York Queen" is an upbeat rocker with some well arranged parts and pretty good lyrics.

Overall: This is probably one of the most experimental Doors albums. The jazz and funk influences make this an interesting one. The material is suprisingly good throughout, maybe even more so than on 'Other Voices'. 'Full Circle' still lacks any absolute highlights and this makes it a rather forgettable album. By itself, it may not be all too tempting of a purchase but nowadays when you can get it on the same disc with 'Other Voices', you've got little to lose. It's still quite an alright Doors release.

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Send comments to Jimsey (BETA) | Report this review (#135865)
Posted Sunday, September 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Whistler
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars (Peking King and the New York 2.5)

Well, somewhere along the line, the band apparently remembered that they were The Doors, not some second rate art-country band. And if they were the Doors, they’d have to have ATMOSPHERE, man. Something creepy and psychedelic. And, while quite a few people find it refreshing that this album tries to emulate the Doors earlier feel without raiding the back catalogue as obviously as Other Voices, I for one do not like this album.

For one thing, rather than Jim leading the way with his darkness and atmosphere, we get Ray Manzarek. And rather than being the highly original circus freak Morrison was, Ray comes off like a psychedelic relic, and ends up leading the band down its darkest path imaginable.

Case in point: “Get Up and Dance” is, easily, the worst Doors opener ever. The weak “Changeling” and goofy “Tell All the People” sound like Mussorgsky in comparison. A stupid melody dressed in fake emotion and FEMALE BACKUP SINGERS. Hell...

“4 Billion Souls” tries to go psycho blues on us, and it’s okay...but it’s still stupid. But at least it’s goofier, which saves it slightly. “Verdilac” is also goofy, and it’s also okay. It’s kinda groovy actually, but in terms of spookiness it really falls flat, and the sax solo has about as much to do with the Doors as my grandmother has to do with racial tolerance (in other words, not much).

Anyway, it gets worse before it gets better. The country boogie of “Hardwood Floor” tries to suck us all in with an energetic sheen, but the sheer repetitiveness of it ought to turn most off. “Good Rockin’,” a cover, is even worse. I mean, once again, it’s strictly speaking okay, but it’s so goddamn generic. And is Ray starting to get on anyone else’s nerves at this point?

If you’ve stopped paying attention at this point, turn the volume back up. “The Mosquito” is certainly the best song on the album, and perhaps the best thing the post-Morrison band ever churned out. Although it starts as a take on Mexican folk (alternating between acoustic guitar and carnival organ), it turns into a massive jam. And it’s a good jam! The riffs may be pretty straightforward hard rock, but the Doors can play good and fast! Pay attention in particular to Robbie’s guitar solo and Densmore’s drumming, as the two clash for title of gnarliest dude in the bad, particularly when the rest of the instruments drop out. Now if this violent jamming were all the album was about, I’d be much kinder to it.

Or maybe not; “The Piano Bird” is another take on the jazz ballad. Unlike “Ships with Sails” though, you get no obvious aping of the band’s back catalogue here. I wouldn’t call it beautiful or anything, but it sounds pretty for sure, and Ray’s attempt at crooning, and especially his electric piano, are more than acceptable. Finally, “It Must Have Slipped My Mind” might be another piece of throwaway psycho blues, but it’s far better than anything else approaching blues on this record, and the stomping rhythm and goofy lyrics are perfectly welcome.

But the bad couldn’t let well enough alone, could they? Sadly, “The Peking King and the New York Queen” is NOT a new Lou Reed song. Instead, it’s another attempt at a closing epic, but it’s essentially ripping off something from LA Woman (the title track) or Morrison Hotel (um...something from the middle of that one). The result is a repetitive boogie, and a waste of a good keyboardist and guitar tone. More backup vocalists, more Ray being irritating and pointless, not to mention a laughably bad spoken part in the middle (completely misinformed too!). And, to top it all off, it’s politically motivated! What the hell guys? The six plus minutes take FAR too long to conclude, and perhaps mercifully, as they fade away, so does the Doors’ album streak.

See, Other Voices just sounded like a bunch of professional boogie musicians, who were “experimental,” but lacked an identity. Which would always be the problem without Jim. So Ray took it upon himself to find a purpose for the band. Unfortunately, this ended up being a politically motivated one; but this is ’72, and Ray sounds like an aging hippy who’s finally dropped enough acid to lose touch with reality altogether, something that Morrison never quite accomplished (simply because I think that Jimbo liked hippy idealism as much as he liked pants; good for a laugh, but better off discarded).

Also, Ray takes over most the singing on this one. While that makes it much more vocally consistent (since the first post-Morrison one was more scattershot), it also means that half the time he shouts his head off (“Peking King”), and the rest of the time he sounds like he’s trying to slime his way into some sixteen year old’s pants (“Hardwood Floor”). Only on “Piano Bird” does he sound passable.

The final word is that, while the Doors were still excellent musicians capable of writing decent material, they’d lost their way. Simply put. Ray was not strong enough (or smart enough) to give them a new direction, and so, they folded. Which, in a way, was sad, since some of the songs on this album are fine in their own right, and most young bands wouldn’t mind to have this material (of course, the concept of the Doors playing it is what kills it); it just needed a good kick in the right atmospheric direction and the right sort of vocal approach, and it would be fine. But those things kind of died in Paris in 1971, didn’t they?

DIEHARD fans might want to hold onto this one, but others should tread carefully. Certainly anyone who has faithfully called himself a fan of Robbie Krieger’s guitarwork NEEDS to hear “Mosquito,” and might even be curious to hear his tone pasted around the album. But beyond “Mosquito,” only “Piano Bird” is recommended, “Slipped My Mind” is mentioned. The rest is masochism.

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Send comments to The Whistler (BETA) | Report this review (#239064)
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars This was the second and thankfully the last album the Doors recorded w/o the talents of Jim Morrison. I remember the punch out that you put together and fixed it to the turn table. Then you watched the cave man evolve into our present state. Now with this release, the Doors went in the opposite direction as far as evolving goes. It is by far the worst of the studio albums. The only song worth listening to is "It slipped My Mind," written and I might add well sung by Robbie Krieger. Other than that, the record stinks. I think it slipped the band's mind that they were capable of much better songs than this bunch of crap. It is more of fifties type rock and roll and Chuck Berry does a much better job than these guys. This release, instead of making you want to "Get up and Dance," you want to get up and leave the album in the trash can. I seriously wondered what I ever saw in the Doors after listening to this one. It gets .5 stars from me and that is because of the one song I did like, so it actually gets 1 star.

Edit 1: I will have to amend my above statement a little. I completely left "The Mosquito" out of the equation. It is not a bad song and the band does a couple of interesting changes, but I still will not go above 1 star for this one.

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Send comments to Keetian (BETA) | Report this review (#273159)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2010 | Review Permalink

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