Following ‘an incident’ where it was alleged Jim indecently exposed himself on stage, The Doors found themselves banned from almost every major concert venue in the states. The result of this was actually they had a lot more time to focus on the recording of a new album. It’s a record that continues from ‘Morrison Hotel’ in the sense of The Doors being aware of the blues. They had help on bass guitar from Jerry Scheff. He did such a fine job, they wanted him to go out on tour with them to promote ‘L.A. Woman’. Around the same time, Jim announced he was leaving, and he didn’t know when he was coming back. At the same time ‘L.A.Woman’ was being released to critical acclaim Jim was in Paris trying to rediscover himself. He would never return. All this is by the time when it comes to actually listening to the record! Does it matter? Not really – here is the album. Do you like it? Well, it is relevant, the time they had to prepare new songs, the great bass player. Jim’s voice may well have been the worse for wear but he certainly gave it a go. His new gruff voice suited the material, actually.
The way this record begins…..THE WAY THIS RECORD BEGINS!!!!!!! Well, we have ‘The Changeling’ and ‘Love Her Madly’. ‘The Changeling’ is prime Doors, no question. The guitar, the great keyboards all over the place. Great bass and vocals. What can you say, its groovy! Its rocking! It makes you want to scream with joy. Well. You know, it’s pretty good. ‘Love Her Madly’ is a great Doors pop song. Perfectly done, great little break in the middle. You can really hear Jerry Scheff here especially – he did a fantastic job and fitted into The Doors perfectly from a musical point of view. Both these opening songs are classics. ‘Been Down So Long’ isn’t a classic, just a blues number. Its well done though, and here Jim’s voice especially suits the material. It’s a voice that’s lived, shall we say ‘Cars Hiss By My Window’ is pure blues which benefits from wonderful guitar work from Robbie.
The title song, placed in the middle of the album, is almost an album by itself. Almost eight minutes long, never dull or repetitive or boring for a single second. It cooks! It’s a great driving song! ‘City of night, whoa!’. Fantastic stuff. Wonderful playing from everyone, again. Musically, The Doors were probably at the top of their game at this stage. ‘L’America’ is slightly quirky in its melodies but does open atmospherical with strange-sounding guitar. It sounds pretty intense, builds up as it goes along – ray does a great job on keyboards. ‘Hyacinth House’ is simple and fun, ‘Crawling King Snake’ a classic blues tune converted to The Doors style. Done very well, actually. We are nearly at the end. ‘The Wasp’ is the only thing here which probably should have been thought about a bit more. It’s one of the more silly things I’ve heard in my entire life. Why is it so much fun? The melodies are simple, quirky. Jim’s poetry borders on the ridiculous. The whole thing is done with such concentration…..that its funny! The guitar solo that appears in the middle is great though.
We have ‘Riders On The Storm’ to end. Like ‘LA Woman’ – this is almost an album in itself. Jim sounds in fine voice, the music is stupendous, everything came together. All Doors together. It matches anything they ever did. Anything. We have an utterly hypnotic keyboard solo – it’s just beautiful. We have doses of brilliant guitar work. The keyboards continue, the bass continues. Jim soars above it all, in the clouds, in the heavens. ‘Riders On The Storm’. I dream about the melody. It appeared to me in my sleep. I probably shouldn’t be saying that should I? I dream of music. This ‘Riders On The Storm’ though is one of the most dreamlike pieces ever created. It’s a sheer work of genius. I can’t help myself, I can’t explain. The Doors reborn. This was called their ‘comeback’ album by some. I can understand why. Although the high points of the record do overshadow the rest, it works as a whole nonetheless. Jim would never return. This is some way for the original Doors to go out. Going out on a high as ‘Riders On The Storm’