The Soft Parade

Producer Paul A Rothchild encouraged The Doors to employ lavish production and really try to make use of the studio. I’m not sure if all The Doors were keen on this idea but Ray Manzarek politely said ‘we had a lot of fun in the studio’ concerning the sessions! It sounds that way in places, actually. And, a couple of tracks are just dandy! Lets take opener ‘Tell All The People’. Brass instruments and a full sounding production are mixed in with an admittedly decent melody. It sounds even less like The Doors than parts of ‘Waiting For The Sun’. Still, it is a good song. Its a pop song really. And! ‘Touch Me’ is just stupendous! One of my favourite Doors songs. Its a simple song again, a pop song but here we do have Doors sounds and styles amongst the string section and poppy melodies. The rhythm of the keyboards inbetween the verses is a thing to behold! ‘Shamans Blues’ is slightly more Doors of old, though judged by those past standards – hardly classic Doors. I’d actually rather the first two ‘un-doors’ sounding tracks than a weak song in their old style. ‘Do It’ and ‘Easy Ride’ wrap up the first half – neither are essential if judged by previous Doors standards.

The second half continues the mix of the first but adds another element as well. The melodies take on a quirky mode. ‘Wild Child’ is delightful in its rising and playful keyboard lines, ‘Runnin Blue’ sounds like a country hoe-down. It sounds something of a mess but even considering it sounds NOTHING like The Doors famous sound, does possess a certain dumb charm I suppose. ‘Wishful Sinful’ overdoes the string section just a little for me. A perfectly fine string section that soars in places – but not integrated into the actual song too well. It obliterates it. Jim can hardly be heard. One fine moment on the album does remain, however, it will make you smile. And, that’s a promise! It’s eight and a half minutes long and borrows a samba rhythm from Jazz master Stan Getz. The opening Jim in preacher mode ‘PETITION THE LORD WITH PRAYER!’ makes you smile for a start. When the jazz samba kicks in, well. The whole thing becomes an impossible triumph and its only a quarter of the way through! The song proceeds through a bluesy section and gets rockier as it goes along. Jim is going all out by the end. Its a great song. ‘Touch Me’ is actually the only other moment of a similar quality.

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