LA Woman is The Doors’ 6th studio album, and packed full of bluesy licks and solid rhythm the album is possibly one of their greatest. Opening up with ‘The Changeling’, Ray Manzarek hits the ground running with a grooving organ line that echoes throughout the track, while Jim Morrison’s iconic voice tears its way through the speakers. ‘Love Her Madly’ – like every other track on the record – is crammed full of rhythm and blues, as Morrison howls the chorus you find yourself unconsciously engulfed by the beat, swarming through your brain isolated from the realms of reality. As your mind fades hazily into the distance it is abruptly awoken as John Densmore (drums) thuds his way through ‘Been Down So Long’. Meanwhile, Robbie Krieger (guitar) effortlessly lases around the beat with bluesy licks that seemed to have dripped like honey from Blues Heaven. Morrison matches these smooth sexy licks with suitably sexual lyrics as he cries “Won’t you get down on your knees”; words such as these are a reflection of the sheer passion and emotion Morrison is capable of conveying, infused with his own whiskey stained twist.
As the record progresses to ‘Cars Hiss By My Window’, the momentum is taken down a notch as Jerry Sheff (bass) creeps through with an ominous blues-infused bassline that leaves you slowly grooving in your own world. Krieger’s solo screams in a controlled concise manner that seems to put the icing on the cake, it slices through the sinister grooving bass and everything melts into place followed abruptly by silence. Title track ‘LA Woman’ quickly gathers the momentum and the band’s rhythm section unites to lay down the base to possibly the greatest song The Doors released. Kreiger mimics Morrison’s voice and then leads his way into another chilling solo. As the track presses on everyone in the band comes together into one unstoppable rhythm and blues machine; Morrison’s voice gradually revs up, forcing everyone to shift up a gear of awesomeness. Suddenly, everything peels apart and the drums grind to an antagonizing speed, still somehow maintaining their timing. After a few seconds, the eternal words of Morrison echo “Mr Mojo risin” (for those who don’t know this is an anagram for Jim Morrison), and like the experienced musicians they are, the band circle back to the original rhythm. Eventually, the first side of the album drifts to an end despite your deepest wishes for it to repeat eternally.
Side two offers more of the same rhythmic blues; continuing on with ‘L’America’, Krieger leads the track with an eerie riff followed on by Sheff and Densmore’s marching rhythm, as Morrison’s strangely over the top vocals are eventually met by Manzarek’s suitably strange organ. As the album moves on the familiar lyrics to the ancient blues song ‘Crawling King Snake’ work their way into your head. Originally written by Big Joe Williams it seems fitting that such a bluesy band cover a blues standard like this. However this is no simple note-for-note cover, as with every track on the album The Doors craft it into something exceptional.
‘The Wasp’ differs from the rest, as for the most part Morrison simply talks over the blues shuffle in a detached manner. The track shifts pitch and continues to work its magic while Manzarek’s organ soulfully boogies in the background, before the track eventually comes to a climax, with a brief drum solo to end. The final track is yet another iconic master piece, and as it’s the final song of The Doors’ studio career, you can’t but help feel saddened. That said, they certainly went out with a bang! The song opens with a sinister thunder through one speaker, while the organ weaves its way into the tracks beat. Krieger glides through with a trebly guitar sound, not yet showcased on the album, and the band soon come together as one, occasionally breaking into the chorus. Morrison’s voice floats along with Manzarek’s organ, every so often to be interrupted by the sound of thunder, adding to the ominous atmosphere forged by the total talent of this band.
Overall, LA Woman is a fantastic album full of passion and soul, completely unparalleled by anything in the charts at the moment.
Words by Elliott