Review Summary: The Doors' Masterful Debut - and one of their very best.
This classic, outstanding album, first released in 1967 on the Elektra label is, undoubtedly, one of the most impressive and compelling recordings in rock music history. It is also most certainly one of the very best first-outings by a rock group. Indeed, The Doors were one of the most exciting, influential and controversial rock bands of the swinging sixties, featuring the legendary genius Jim Morrison as The Doors lead singer, Ray Manzarek controlling the spiralling electric organ, John Denmore on drums and Robby Krieger on gurtar. The Doors never actually recruited a bass player so the sound was, endearingly, highlighted by Ray Manzarek's predominant electric organ, providing a hypnotic backdrop for Jim Morrison's captivating vocals, who rides through the inventive musical landscapes with finesse.
The Doors (1967) album introduced the world to their adventurous, startling fusion of rock, blues, classical and jazz. These diverse blend of styles intertwine beautifully with the poetic, often thought-provoking lyrics, making for an incredibly powerful, innovative album that has set standards for generations. The opener is the belting and infectious 'Break On Through (To The Other Side)', one of my personal favourites. 'Break On Through' was also The Doors debut single release. The propulsive rhythm flows gloriously with notably nifty guitar work courtesy of Robby Krieger, entwined with Ray Manzarek's bewitching, ever-effective electric organ interludes and incessant, pounding drum beats from John Denmore,and not to mention Jim Morrison's rocketing vocals. An extremely credible start to the album and the single deserved far much more commercial recognition than it initially received at the time.
The stomping, thunderous rock of 'Soul Kitchen' is a cracking affair, complemented by Morrison's mesmerising vocal delivery while the beguiling Oriental mystery of 'The Crystal Ship' is a pure masterpiece, mellowing the mood somewhat. Beginning with a magical guitar riff, blended with the customary electric organ, this leads us into another compelling, stomping rock number 'Twentieth Century Fox', while the fun 'Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)' making for an immediately striking and rather diverting experiment. Morrison's deep, sonorous voice pulsates seamlessly through all the enchanting ebbs and flows.
'Light My Fire' is an out and out classic and one of The Doors major landmarks. Hauntingly atmospheric with its funeral-like electric organ backdrop and Morrison's stirring delivery. They enjoyed their first real taste of significant commercial success and acceptance with 'Light My Fire', swiftly topping the US Billboard Chart (though barely dented the UK Top 50 on its original release; upon its re-issue in the summer of 1991 it flew up into the Top 10). The full seven-minute version is a pure sonic masterpiece, allowing us to enjoy the groups ever-dynamic playing. Another utterly hypnotic affair.
The mid-tempo rock number 'Back Door Man' captures yet more powerful, expert playing, hosting a rich and deep performance from Morrison who also enhances the tremendous and startling production of 'I Looked At You'.
The dreamy, mysterious 'End Of The Night' highlights the groups remarkable affinity for shrewd, poetic, profound lyrics. Beautiful. 'Take It As It Comes' kicks up the tempo again and this held ample commercial potential (as did practically every track on here), while the tinkling 11-minute oedipal drama 'The End' is literally spine-tingling and has to be one of The Doors most daring, compulsive outings that is completely haunting with its non-stop melodicism, dynamic tension and sombre, dreamy tone.
This album is a pure masterpiece, ranking (in my opinion) among their very best, most innovative work. Excellence all the way. It also became a major seller and spending over two years on the US Billboard chart.