Release Date: Jan 24, 2012
Record label: Elektra
Some artists create their most intense work when they hit rock bottom: See Vincent van Gogh, Billie Holiday, Nick Drake and Jim Morrison, whose final album with the Doors is a Southern California death trip that matches anythingin their catalog for beautifully spooked rock & roll urge-purging. Made amid professional train wrecks and personal downward spirals, it’s a surprisingly focused set, in part a return to the Doors’ blues-rock roots. Morrison’s hot baritone killed, Robby Krieger’s guitar is laser-guided, and “The Changeling” and “Been Down So Long” are garage-style classics.
The final album with Jim Morrison in the lineup is by far their most blues-oriented, and the singer's poetic ardor is undiminished, though his voice sounds increasingly worn and craggy on some numbers. Actually, some of the straight blues items sound kind of turgid, but that's more than made up for by several cuts that rate among their finest and most disturbing work. The seven-minute title track was a car-cruising classic that celebrated both the glamour and seediness of Los Angeles; the other long cut, the brooding, jazzy "Riders on the Storm," was the group at its most melodic and ominous.
Before anything else gets said, it should be mentioned that this is a great road album. Driving, biking, walking, whatever; it’s the kind of record that pushes you forward. And isn’t that really one of the highest compliments you can give? This January reissue of the Doors’ last and maybe best album might seem completely unnecessary—there’s already a remastered CD readily available.
One of the band’s best, and their final fling with erratic frontman Morrison. David Quantick 2012 The Doors’ career was a peculiar one. Beginning as a fairly standard Los Angeles RnB and blues band – their cover of Them’s Gloria was always a live highpoint – they entered the national consciousness as a pop group, thanks to the catchiness of singles like Hello, I Love You and the raw brooding unbridled shagnastiness of singer Jim Morrison.
With L.A. Woman, their sixth and final album with mythic frontman Jim Morrison, The Doors submerged almost entirely into a bleary-eyed blues-rock swamp. Their previous effort, 1970’s Morrison Hotel, saw the group steering cautiously toward those waters, but L.A. Woman is downright raw – Ray Manzerek’s colorful, signature Hammond organ is pushed way back in the mix, making more space for Robby Krieger’s drunken slide guitar rave-ups and the beastly thump of newly implanted studio bassist Jerry Scheff.