The Doors – L.A. Woman (40th Anniversary Edition) (Elektra/Rhino)

This is the umpteenth reissue of The Doors’ final album with Jim Morrison at the helm. It was released in 1971, just a few months before Morrison died in Paris. The album found the band buried deep in the blues. In my opinion, it’s their best one, after their iconic debut album.

So why is L.A. Woman so good? Well, basically, it rocks. The tracks were recorded basically live in the band’s rehearsal space and they really sound tight. They find just the right balance of spontaneity and slickness. Plus the songs, like Love Her Madly and Riders On The Storm, are among their best.

Morrison’s voice is perfectly suited to the blues as he growls his way through John Lee Hooker’s Crawling King Snake and his own Been Down So Long. Another highlight is the poetic, yet bluesy The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat).

This new edition features an additional since featuring alternate versions of most of the songs on the original album. There are a few lyrical variations as Morrison hones his lyrics, such as on Love Her Madly, but nothing here that really adds anything to what we already know about the songs or the band.

Also included is the previously unreleased She Smells So Nice which segues into a version of B.B. King’s Rock Me. It basic blues and Morrison’s vocal is quite distorted which probably explains why it’s been unreleased until now. This is bottom of the barrel-scraping stuff.

L.A. Woman is a must-own album, and if you don’t have it, well, here’s your chance. I recommend the surround-sound mix that was released a few years ago, it is truly awesome.

Marty Duda

Click here to listen to an alternate version of Love Her Madly