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Essential Rarities

4.5 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 20, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Compilation album featuring numerous bonus and rare tracks from The Doors.

Amazon.com

This collection, originally available only as a bonus disc in The Doors: The Complete Studio Recordings box set (fleshed out here with another outtake track, "Woman Is a Devil," from that set) is split just about evenly between a sometimes motley collection of outtakes and demos and a better slate of live material. It also argues that while most rock bands cut their teeth on blues and other roots music, then develop a distinct sound (or sell out to pop fashion trends), the Doors seemed to evolve ass-backwards, the band's, and particularly Jim Morrison's, college poet-nihilist pretensions slowly giving way to more blues-based influences. Indeed, after a few legendary years of late-1960s success and excess, Morrison had more than enough reasons to sing the blues. The studio leftovers here underscore why they're called "outtakes" (1965 demos of "Hello, I Love You" and "Moonlight Drive" are historically interesting, if a bit bubblegummy) though there are some highlights. "Whiskey, Mystics and Men" showcases another side of the band's tastefully odd Kurt Weill fetish; a '69 alternate of "Queen of the Highway" is almost lounge hipster chic; and "Orange County Suite" is a dirge from '70. Live cuts (all from '69 and '70) range from a baroque, affected PBS telecast of "The Soft Parade" to an apocalyptic, overwrought "The End." --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Hello To The Cities (Live)
  2. Break On Through (Live)
  3. Roadhouse Blues (Live)
  4. Hyacinth House
  5. Who Scared You
  6. Whiskey, Mystics And Men
  7. I Will Never Be Untrue (Live)
  8. Moonlight Drive
  9. Queen Of The Hghway (Alternate Version)
  10. Someday Soon (Live)
  11. Hello, I Love You
  12. Orange County Suite
  13. The Soft Parade (Live)
  14. The End (Live)
  15. Woman Is A Devil


Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 20, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B00004TSHE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,230 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By N. P. Stathoulopoulos on March 9, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This disc is, of course, a sort of 'greatest hits' for the 1997 box set. As we all know, The Doors have about as many collections out as The Who and Gary Numan, making this non-essential.
The box set was not all it could have been, but it was nice to finally get. I would suggest buying the box at less than full price. The box is four discs, but essentially it's three, because the band had the gaul to actually release a 'band favorites' disc of material from the studio album, essentially including a greatest hits of stuff we already have. This is par for course, though.
The Doors are a great American rock band, however their release practices and sonic trickery on many releases is very frustrating for fans.
There are some very good tracks here, but be aware of some of the details.
Hello To The Cities is a brief intro by Morrison taken from a concert opening. That leads right into Break On Through from the 1970 Isle of Wight performance, one of the Doors' last. The track is definitely doctored compared to the soundboard-bootlegs that have been floating around. Infuriatingly, there are also guitar overdubs on the track by Krieger(!) Why he felt the need to doctor his own performance 20-odd years later is beyond me.
The trickery does not end there, of course. It's nice to have Who Scared You on CD, but why have they cut out an entire verse?
Then there's Someday Soon, a never released song only performed twice. The version here is from Seattle, 1970, which has been on every other Doors bootleg for decades. Of course, they butcher the beginning of the song, overdubbing crowd noise. A bootleg box set that appeared in 1998 actually included the other and better performance of this song, recorded for Absolutely Live.
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Format: Audio CD
It's not immediately obvious what audience this CD is aimed at. It condenses the 1997 Doors Box Set down to one CD. The hard-core Doors fans will already own the Box Set. Casual listeneres will most likely not be interested in any of this. "Casual" listeners would be advised to buy the Doors' studio albums before this, anyway. Upon owning all the studio albums, however, they would cease to be merely "casual" listeners. So, I guess if you're a big Doors fan, but you're on a budget and cannot afford the box set, then Essential Rarities would be a good choice.
The choices for inclusion here are pretty good. It's good stuff overall. A mix of live tracks, early demos and unreleased songs. The live versions of "Break On Through", "The Soft Parade" and "The End" are the most worthwile. Also, as a boon for collectors, this CD contains a previously unreleased song that was not on the Doors Box Set, "Woman Is A Devil", a fine 12-bar blues song, which I happen to like a lot.
The Doors Box Set itself is uneven (featuring a completely wasted fourth disc), but it has a lot of good material that will be of interest to big fans of The Doors. If you buy Essential Rarities, you're missing the live CD, Live In New York, and several other worthwile tracks. This however, is a good condensing of the box set, so if you can't spend big bucks for the box, this is a much cheaper alternative.
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Format: Audio CD
My friends, this is a great compilation of rare and often candid Doors songs.
For those of you familiar with The Doors, you may find that some of the stuff found here can be found on bootlegs, but the sound quality here is much, MUCH better. Believe me, I've got the uncut Rock Is Dead bootleg, and ``the woman is a devil" is barely audible on THAT. Here it is all skillfully re-mastered, in all it's 24 bit glory, by original Doors tech Bruce Botnick. So buy this before leaping into the realm of bad bootlegs. This will whet your appetite.
For those who are mildly acquainted with the Doors, i.e. you saw the movie, i.e. you like ``Light my Fire", i.e. there's a movie! This here is a good album to cut your teeth on. It has many popular Doors songs such as a fantastic rendition of Break on Through from the Isle of Wight Concert('70), a rockin'-er version of Hello, I Love You and the oft-claimed best version of The End ever caught on tape!
Other tracks, including Hyacinth House, Queen of the Highway, I Will Never Be Untrue,et cetera..showcase The Doors very eclectic musical tastes, ranging from alternative-rock(yes thats John Densmore on the bongos!) to jazz inflected grooves to mellow blues, respectively. This is true music! It's freedom music, music for the road! Dig the words and let the music transport you....but always... keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel!
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By J. Fahs on September 23, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Bring out your dead" cries Jim, a caller through the streets of Paris during the Black Plague. It is as if we are visited by the ghost of Jim in this collection. I can rarely listen to the studio albums, having listened to them for 40 years, and the live albums, though exciting, seem dated. This disk is as if it was found on Jim's grave in Pere LaChasse. These tracks, rejected during his life, are now his freshest expression.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've been a Doors fan from the age of 14, and a fairly obsessive one at that. I've read all the books (that's saying something at this point), heard most of the live shows, all the interviews, read all the biographies, band memoirs, and lyrical cliffnotes. I own every studio album, every collection of Jim Morrison's poetry, etc. For whatever reason, this collection seems to have rung out in the recesses of my mind. It was originally a CD on Doors Box Set, or a mashup of a few of those songs, but they are somehow in perfect order. It's like a black and red circular hole through which Morrison's spirit continues to breathe. The arrangement of the tunes might seem disjointed, but they aren't:

1. Hello To The Cities (Live)
2. Break On Through (Live)
3. Roadhouse Blues (Live)
4. Hyacinth House
5. Who Scared You
6. Whiskey, Mystics And Men
7. I Will Never Be Untrue (Live)
8. Moonlight Drive
9. Queen Of The Highway (Alternate Version)
10. Someday Soon (Live)
11. Hello, I Love You
12. Orange County Suite
13. The Soft Parade (Live)
14. The End (Live)
15. Woman Is A Devil

These tracks (two from the demo, one from a PBS television special known well to fans by now, one discarded from the band's fourth record "The Soft Parade" for reasons I don't quite understand and others, one a ballad a la stoned Keats to the singer's girlfriend Pamela Courson) have a kind of crystalline descent and reverse: the band green, young, and full of energy, and the band aged like vintage wine with the lead singer perfectly in the middle vocally--almost tepid, but with his baritone vocals rich with strange soil.
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