The Doors – “L.A. Woman” (1971 / 2008)

Out here, we is stoned… immaculate.
— “The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)”

L.A. Woman marks the last stop in my journey through The Doors’ catalog courtesy of The Doors Vinyl Box.

I only recognized a couple of songs on each of the last few Doors albums I listened to, but L.A. Woman includes a number of the band’s most popular recordings – “Love Her Madly,” “L.A. Woman,” “The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat),” and of course “Riders On The Storm” are all bonafide classics that would likely be on any greatest hits compilation. But even with these four well-known entities, I still find myself surprised to find there are six songs on L.A. Woman that I’ve never heard before.

It’s interesting… Morrison Hotel struck me as very much a blues-rock record, and while those influences certainly exist on L.A. Woman with songs like “Been Down So Long” and “Cars Hiss By My Window” (the later of which is absolutely amazing!), The Doors didn’t maintain the same consistent sound they had in their prior album. Right from the opening track, “The Changeling,” it was obvious that the band had again expanded their horizons, producing a song that sounds like almost pure funk to me. I don’t even know what “L’America” sounds like, other than it has a very martial drum beat, something the band used on a handful of other past songs as well. And certainly their most well-known songs stray from the blues sound to a very great extent – though Morrison sings like a possessed, amped-up blues singer on the album’s title track.

L.A. Woman is absolutely solid, and probably rounds out my top three Doors albums following The Doors and Morrison Hotel. All in all I was both surprised and impressed with the depth of The Doors catalog once I got outside of their mainstream “greatest hits” songs. Their blues chops are unquestionable, and they certainly weren’t afraid to explore some unusual musical places along the way. It’s too bad we lost Morrison so young – I’d like to have seen what he would have produced as he grew more mature. But it wasn’t meant to be, so we should be happy that he and The Doors left us behind six studio albums. Even though it still doesn’t seem like enough…

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