96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2007
For all reading this review I am referring to the March 2007 re-release of this milestone album. It was remastered and remixed as part of the 4oth anniversary Doors celebration. In the liner notes it is stated that the remaing Doors used the original master tapes, and remixed them to reveal subtleties not revealed in any previous release of this cd (They've done the same for all six studio albums) . The result is astounding. Morrisons voice cuts you like a knife, Manzareks keyboards are front and center, and you can hear the details of Kriegers' very focused playing. Certain songs have extra time on them. For example, the fade on "Love Her Madly" extends a bit more, and you hear a previously unreleased part of the original intro to "LA Woman". The sheer clarity of the recording reveals that "Riders on the storm" is even errier than when we first heard it back in 1971. This release of LA Woman is THE definitive version for anyone who loves the Doors. It's a rock/blues drenched masterpiece that transcends time, and its remix is simply amazing. I wish Jim were here to listen to it ....he'd be smiling for sure.
108 of 115 people found the following review helpful
It's getting annoying, isn't it -- the endless parade of rereleases, remasters, and repackagings designed to bleed music fans with the promise of something new from a long-gone band?
Reluctantly, I checked this album out on a streaming service. I wasn't about to part with another dollar to re-re-re-buy this middle-aged album without a good reason. I had the thing on vinyl, for cripes' sake. Then two CD versions, including the "Perception" box set... and now this.
If you don't own a version of this album, and if you like the Doors at all, you must jump on this. And even if you do own a previous version, this edition is well worth it.
Why? Well, if you don't own this album, you're missing a major shift in the Doors' direction, from sinuous adolescent psychedelia to boozy desert blues. It's not an easy shift for the listener to make; it took me easily 20 years of Doors fandom to really come around to this album after cutting my teeth on the poppy "Waiting for the Sun" and the hallucinatory "The Soft Parade" and all. I get it now. I'm glad I waited it out.
And if you do own the album, I recommend you grit your teeth and spring for this edition (perhaps vowing, like me, that this will be the VERY LAST time you pay for this music).
Why? First, it sounds great. Bright enough to hear all the instruments clearly, but not so bright that it sounds "modern." Let's face it, the warm sound of the music of this era is a major part of its attraction. No weird, forced stereo separation; no strange emphasis on any instrument or vocal; it's just pleasant to listen to.
And now -- you need alternate versions? Don't go no further. The second half of this reissue is chock full of truly wonderful alternate takes that I personally had never heard. These are complete takes that stand on their own -- any one of them would have been worthy to be the final take (barring the rather lackluster "Love Her Madly (Take 1))." Some of the chatter before the songs is quite amusing as well, especially the cutting up before "Riders on the Storm." Given the serious tone of most of the album, it's great to hear a bit of Jim's funny side.
As for the two "new" entries, "Rock Me" and "She Smells So Nice"... Well, "Rock Me" is a cover of the old blues standard, "Rock Me Baby," which they often performed live. And the "new song" that's been so hyped, "She Smells So Nice," isn't really a song, more of a loose, drunken jam on a blues theme. On both cuts, the band is ramshackle and Jim's voice is muffled and poorly recorded, and there are audible microphone crackles. I suspect these were warm-up jams that just happen to have been recorded. If you're a huge fan, you may want to get "She Smells So Nice" anyway, just for fun, but a "lost song" it ain't.
The only thing keeping this from being the definitive, ultimate "L.A. Woman" issue is the lack of the bonus tracks from the 2007 issue: "Orange County Suite" and "(You Need Meat) Don't Go No Further." Neither was included on the original "L.A. Woman" issue, but both are real songs (unlike "She Smells So Nice") and both are worthwhile. I'd go so far as to say they're essential for the Doors fan, especially "(You Need Meat)," a Willie Dixon cover. It's one of their best latter-day rockers and it really fits in with the rest of the album. Your best solution, if buying this album for the first time, is to buy this edition and go buy those two tracks individually. Then you'll have everything worth having... until they "discover" another "new" track, that is.
84 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2005
The Doors final album with Jim Morrison (they would go on to record two more albums as a trio), remains their masterpiece and belongs in every rock collection. From start to finish, the album is brilliant. It was the Doors at their absolute best. The Doors previous albums ranged from very good to classic, but their sixth album "L.A. Woman" was their crown jewel.
It's common for most bands to start out playing the blues and then evolve into a musical style/idenity all their own. In this sense, the Doors sort of evolved backwards. They started out playing crazy, psychedelic music, and then ended their career playing the blues.
"L.A. Woman" is a very bluesy album. It's not pure blues (B.B. King, Leadbelly), but it's rock tinged with blues. The band never sounded better. To be sure, the Doors albums were always terrific, but they sounded most at home with the blues. Playing blues rock brought out the best in all the Doors members. Ray Manzarek (organ) and Robby Krieger's (guitar) solos worked perfectly against a blues backdrop. Drummer John Densmore's jazzy style was also well suited for the blues.
As for Jim Morrison...I think the Jim Morrison of 1967 was best suited to sing psychedelic acid rock. His ultra-cool swagger and showmanship was the ultimate voice for such music. But the Jim Morrison of 1971 was a much different person. In four years, Morrison aged a lifetime. In 1967, he sounded and looked 23. In 1971, he looked and sounded like an old man. It's hard to believe that the same voice that sang "Light My Fire" sang "Riders on the Storm" only four years later. On "L.A. Woman," Morrison sounds worn and tired, but it matched the bluesy-jazzy downbeat music perfectly. Morrison's finest poetry was also in this swan song. Noting too obscure or bizarre to be found. It was his most honest, straightforward work.
"L.A. Woman" is simply The Doors finest collection of songs. There is no filler to be found. Each song is a jewel on The Doors crown creation. From the opening "The Changeling," to the closing "Riders on the Storm," every song is great. Whether is be the hard rocking "Love Her Madly," the downbeat "Cars His By My Window," the bohemian "The Wasp" or the sublime "Riders on the Storm," every song is a masterpiece.
The general theme of the album seems to be the underbelly of L.A. in the early 70s. The album seems to function as a snapshot/soundtrack of that time and place. It's all about living day-to-day, strung-out, alone, not knowing when it will all end. In that sense, I take "LA Woman" to be sort of like a diary in the lives of Jim and (his wife) Pam. When you listen to this album, you can feel the longing, the desperation, the torment, the addictions, of that time and place. These songs sound lived in. When you listen to Morrison's screams in the title track, or soft-spoken baritone in "Cars Hiss By My Window" you get the sense that he knew it was going to end soon. "Riders on the Strom" seems to acknowledge and accept this fate.
The Doors "L.A. Woman" is one of the greatest albums of all-time and it is an album that every rock fan should own.
40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
"L.A. Woman" is the final album put together by the Doors before the death of Jim Morrison and what is so striking about it for me is how the two best tracks, the title one and "Riders of the Storm," are so different from the rest of what is on the album. Contrasting the start of those tracks with the opening song on the album, "The Changeling," and they are like night and day. Most of the rest of this 1971 album is really blues oriented, with "Love Her Madly" clearly being the best of the bunch, and some of the rest being instantly forgettable. I think it is obvious that the band was trying to get back their credibility after veering too far in the direction of pop for a couple of albums, with "Morrison Hotel" and this one righting those wrongs. But since a few of these songs are pretty forgettable, "L.A. Woman" is an album that is caught between a 4 and a 5 but you have to round up given how good its two best songs end up being.
My two favorite parts of Oliver Stone's movie "The Doors" is when we hear Ray Manzarek in the background fooling around on the organ until he gets the bit for "Light My Fire" right and the end credits with the tracking shot showing the record of "L.A. Woman," with Val Kilmer's Morrison taking advantage of the great acoustics in the bathroom. For years when I was driving back from the Twin Cities and coming up the final hills before being able to see the lights of home, to wit the "city of lights," "L.A. Woman" was the song I would play in the car because it perfectly suited the moment.
Since the track opens with the sound of an accelerating car engine it is easy to see why the songs is associated with driving. Robbie Krieger simulates that sound on his guitar, but with a hint of eeriness that leads into first Manzarek's keyboards and then John Densmore's cymbal tapping and session player Jerry Scheff's throbbing bass. From that intriguing beginning the song generates its compelling rhythm and allows Morrison to wax lyrical. The bridge represents one of the most creative changes in rock history, using a tango tempo while Morrison sings about burning hair before getting to the final section where the anagrammatic "Mr. Mojo Risin'" makes his appearance. On a lot of these tracks Morrison's voice sounds about shot, but there are no complaints about "L.A. Woman," which qualifies as his last great vocal performance.
"Riders of the Storm" is one of the moodiest Doors' songs and the lyrics create a sense of foreboding (e.g., "Into this house were born/Into this world we're thrown") representing the questionable side of human existence. Musically Manzarek captures the sound of the storm, with actual thunderstorm sound effects dubbed on to the track, while Densmore again works the cymbals and Scheff provides a simple bass line, reflecting a minimalist approach that is quite effective. The song made it to #14 on the Billboard charts after Morrison's death in Paris ("Love Her Madly" had made it to #11 while the title track was just too long for AM radio). The "L.A. Woman" album only made it to #9, which, believe it or not, makes it the worst performance by a Doors album. Of course, a decade later Morrison and the Doors were bigger than ever and "L.A. Woman" was a frequent mention as the group's best track.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2001
This is so close to a perfect DVD-Audio disc from Warner Music that it is disappointing it isn't. The tracks have been meticulous remastered and the sound is sharp and "new". "Riders on the Storm" has the storm in all the channels and is extremely effective. I played it in a local home theater store that had overhead rear speakers and that was very interesting.
The one track that still needs work is "Love Her Madly". The drum solos fly around all the channels per beat. An interesting effect but somewhat annoying after a while. But, the real disappointing part is the LFE (the .1 low bass channel). The LFE level on "Love Her Madly" is almost non-existent on the DVD-Audio version but powerful on the Dobly Digital version. Unfortunately, this means the Dolby Digital version sounds better than the DVD-Audio version of "Love Her Madly". I find it hard to believe that this was intended.
So, with the exception of the one track, the disc is excellent. Too bad Warner Music can't fix that problem and make this a fully enjoyable disc.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2001
When I first heard this album, I was absolutely blown away. My previous exposure to The Doors had been limited to a double-CD set with all the hits. I'd heard "LA Woman", but not "The Changeling"! What a revelation! This album is especially poignant to me, because it is the final Doors album and the last piece of work produced by that madman Jim Morrison. Listen to him on "Hyacinth House" singing "I need a brand new friend who doesn't bother me, I need a brand new friend who doesn't trouble me, I need someone, yeah, who doesn't need me".
What was he talking about? A new girl to replace Pamela? A new drug to replace alcohol? A new muse to replace those he had lost on his haphazard journey through rock stardom? It seems to me that Morrison was tired of the whole "rock star" schtick and wanted to finally be the artist he had always dreamed he would be : an old bluesman that we could all understand. He, along with the other band members, found that bluesman for this album and forced him to write some great songs.
The album opens with "The Changeling", and it grabs you by the throat as Jim's howls compete with Ray's dominant keyboards. Robbie's "Don't You Love Her Madly" pulls us back from the brink with a nice little ditty which Morrison makes his own with his deep, bottom-of-the-well bellows.
Next up is a song that's blues on steroids, "Been Down So Long". The addition of an in-studio bass player really gives some balls to this song. "Cars Hiss By My Window" is so mellow it almost puts you to sleep, but it's so spooky, almost as if Morrison's in the room with you, at a cheap motel on a beach, in the early morning darkness. "Side One", as we used to call it, ends with "LA Woman" and it's everything the supposed opuses on previous albums, "The End" and "When The Music's Over", were supposed to be. "LA Woman" succeeds because it's a better song straight up than the other two, but also because the lyrics tell a coherent and believable story. We get to ride with Morrison for a night and what a wild ride it is!
Side two opens with an entirely different feel, "L'America's" military drumbeats marching us along to Jim's vocal cadence. Is he the rainmaker, the widowmaker, or just someone who wants to steal your wife? Who knows?!
"Hyacinth House" is, in my view, the saddest song Morrison ever wrote (just ahead of "Crystal Ship"), with Jim's mournful tone and Robbie's tasteful guitar fills dancing together. "Crawling King Snake" is probably what had been in Jim's head since he was a kid listen' to black radio. It's nice to see him take another legend's material (John Lee Hooker) and make it his own.
"The Wasp" continues the hard-driving blues train and is Jim's own contribution to the genre. His poetic lyrics drive this one straight into your mind's eye. He could be a good poet, when he took the time to polish his raw product, which he seems to have done with the lyrics for this song. The album ends softly with "Riders On The Storm", a eulogy for Morrison if there ever was one. Last words, last words... out!
Nobody knows what Morrison and the Doors would have done if he had not died in Paris in '71. We can only speculate. I am just thankful that he lived as long as he did and contributed so much to my life and the lives of countless others through his musical talents. This album is a big part of that gift, so if you do not have it, buy it today. You will not regret it.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2001
Not as splashy as ELP's Brain Salad Surgery DVD Audio but still a quantum leap over any CD version I've ever heard (including the new remasters). There is no audible hiss; the guitars and drums are crystal clear. The Lizard King sounds like he''s in your room. My only gripe is the underutilization of the subwoofer channel. However, this is a must buy.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Let's get one thing straight-I've been listening to THE DOORS since the band's beginning-both live and on record. So please don't think I dislike the band or their music when you read the following. The four "stars" are for the original album. I still own the original vinyl release-the one with the cool, clear plastic over the portrait of the band-along with all the other Elektra Records albums.
Well-here it is I guess. The original album plus about 51 minutes of previously unreleased alternate tracks. Plus the unheard song "She Smells So Nice" (with a poorly recorded vocal). Plus some between takes studio chat. A booklet with a few photos of the band working in the studio, plus an essay by noted writer David Fricke. All in a cardboard tri-fold package. The sound is very good-even having a little warmth to it, reminiscent of the original vinyl release.
Was "L.A. Woman" THE DOORS' greatest album? Maybe, maybe not. Certainly it's one of the band's best albums. And while I, too, like to hear unreleased stuff for a better understanding of a band, I can't help but think that listening to these extra tracks, proves that the original record was a good, stand alone album. The extra tracks are interesting, and at times, even exciting, but overall they're superfluous-it's obvious that the basis (especially early on) of the band's music (not necessarily the lyrics), and Morrison's first love and influence, was the blues. And that's fine. But I don't understand Mr. Fricke, who I've read from his first days at Rolling Stone Magazine (when that magazine mattered), and who is usually right when writing about music, when he writes that THE DOORS were "the most thrilling American band of the '60s caught live,". What? In an era when rock (as opposed to r'n'r) was producing a number of exciting live bands, why are THE DOORS at the top of the heap? And he writes that this album is "arguably, the first true indie-rock album, the sound of a band writing and playing on home ground, beholden to nothing but their own passionate standards". What was the difference between what THE DOORS were doing, and all the other great bands of the era? Maybe it's me, but his comments seem to go a bit too far. He seems to be, perhaps, over-selling the whole thing a bit. "L.A. Woman" is a good album-as good (I feel) as the band's first album, and "Morrison Hotel". But there were other bands producing music of great excitement and worth during the same period.
Was this another "cash-in"? Who knows. If you don't own the original album, this is the one to pick up if it's cheap enough. Now if you're a died-in-the-wool DOORS fan/collector, you'll probably disagree with what I've written-that's fine. To each his own. But I can't help but get a slight, underwhelmed feeling with the whole package. I listen to the original album fairly often when I'm in a "DOORS mood", and I continue to think back to hearing the band just after their first album was released,and how exciting it all was. In those days the abbreviated version of "Light My Fire" was played on AM radio. Initially very few people knew of the longer version-it was played on the then new FM "underground" radio-usually only broadcasting late at night in San Diego in those first years. I still remember the feeling of hearing THE DOORS first album-with those long tracks, and lyrics that were a long way from the teen pop of the era-something weird was going on here. And the few people who knew about the band (including me) felt like they were in a group apart-we knew something the rest didn't-cool! But this "40th Anniversary" release isn't really necessary if you want to hear one of their best albums. The extra tracks seem to dilute the power, the feel, of the original album. As I wrote, there are some good moments on the second disc-but the original is still the best.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2001
Being a doors fan is one thing but after hearing them all over the room in diffrent places, I love d.v.d audio, This is the best d.v.d audio I have herd so far it has better sound then any c.d. you will ever here!!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2012
No this one isn't just another reissue of the well known album but also one for the discerning Doors fans and collectors, the 2 CD triple fold out set featuring as it does, alongside the original album, different versions of 7 of the 10 tunes (exceptions being "Hyacinth House" (unfortunately as it is a beautiful song), "L'America" and "Crawling King Snake"). There's also the image of Morrison crucified on a telegraph pole included with the early original vinyl issue on a poster and on the inner sleeve (referred to here as "Electric Woman").
They were all recorded in The Doors Workshop at the time of the "LA Woman" sessions (hence the title of the double vinyl edition, "The Workshop Sessions" (which features only the alternate versions but doesn't appear to be widely available at present). The quality of the alternative versions is, as one would expect, excellent of course and I'm surprised that they have never appeared before though that's probably down to the cynical record company penchant for making maximum money off old material (not that I am a cynic myself, you understand).
Enough has been said about the original album so I'll concentrate here on the alternative versions. I haven't actually compared any of them to the originals, merely listened to the unreleased ones and said what comes to mind, but I can say with certainty that most of the alternate versions are less polished than those used on the album and, indeed, sound at times like demos at times rather than alternate takes or versions. One does, in fact, mention the take number, which probably means that none of them are actually demos. Studio chat features too.
"The Changeling", which Jim tells the band is his favourite number, is longer at nearly 5 minutes and powers along at around the same speed as the album version but with a different keyboard riff. It is, perhaps, more powerful and certainly bluesier with more raucous lead guitar. A few bum notes slip in but do not spoil the overall feel of the song.
"Love Her Madly" features a lazier Morrison vocal with different lyrics and a totally different keyboard section in the middle.
"Been Down So Long" is probably the least different alternative, much the same as the album version apart from being a bit rougher and longer.
The slow, dirty, blues of "Cars Hiss by My Window" seems to feature somewhat more prominent guitar than the LP version and is 30 seconds longer.
"LA Woman" meanwhile features different lead guitar riffs and a weird bit of extra vocalising brings it to a sudden end at 8.45.
"The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)" features different lyrics and is 1.20 longer than the album version but this comprises a cacophony of jazzy guitar and drums with no discernible tune. There's an instrumental version thrown in too.
Clocking in at 2 minutes longer than the original, "Riders on the Storm" could have been the jewel in the crown here, were it not for the fact that the extra time is occupied by a throw away Morrison ditty, false start and chat occupying the first 2 minutes plus a somewhat flat Morrison vocal, especially evident at the start of the tune proper.
Finally, music-wise, you get the addition of an actual unreleased song, "She Smells so Nice", which morphs into "Rock Me", but both are pretty much of filler or single B side standard and it`s no wonder they were not used on the "LA Woman" album proper or indeed anywhere else.
The 3-way fold-out card sleeve packaging features, in addition to the original album artwork, 3 photos from the "LA Woman" sessions and, as mentioned earlier, a replica of the striking image of a naked Morrison crucified on a telegraph pole that came as a poster and on the inner of early copies the original vinyl LP (though it's referred to as "Electric Woman" on a vinyl set packaging sticker I always understood it to be Morrison and it does look like it could be him).
As stated earlier the 2 LP 180 gram vinyl version features only the alternative versions spread over 3 sides. The lyrics of the original versions of the alternative songs are etched onto side 4. The gatefold sleeve features a largely white mock up of the LA Woman sleeve with recording details, credits and the crucified Jim image. At £17 to £19, 3 sides of music in a gatefold sleeve seems like pretty good value. Buy it this way if you still have a record deck and do not want another copy of "LA Woman" on CD.
Now all that is needed is for alternative versions of songs from their other albums to be unearthed and issued in these formats.