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by Doug Collette
Given his fascination with media, the late Jim Morrison would no doubt be deeply bemused at the irony of the release of a Doors compilation on cd (a dying configuration) due its popularity as a Record Store Day 2014 issue on vinyl lp (the configuration that won't die). It's no accident that Bruce Harris' original liner notes for Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine have been retained (nor pure expedience either, though there's no indication these tracks have ...read more
by C. Michael Bailey
The DoorsL.A. Woman: 40th Anniversary EditionElecktra2012 In the end, The Doors were a jazz organ trio playing the blues, what keyboardist Ray Manzarek called The Modern Jazz Quartet of Rock." Flirting with psychedelia on its first four albums, providing an acid soundtrack to 1967's Summer of Love, and releasing a critical career- killing album in The Soft Parade (Elektra, 1969), the band found its roots and made comeback skid-marks with Morrison Motel ...read more
by Doug Collette
The two-disc reissue of The Doors' L.A. Woman (Elektra, 1971), released to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the original album, documents how this band achieved what The Beatles could not with Let It Be (Apple, 1970). Jim Morrison and company effectively and authentically went back to their musical roots and, in so doing, restored their camaraderie as a band.It matters little whether disc one or disc two is approached first--the former contains the now-classic, finished product, the latter ...read more
by J. Glenn Miller
This album can be judged by its cover, an illustration by David Wilcox depicting an idealized old-growth forest. Scattered amongst the too-perfect trees and well-pruned shrubs are various oversized acoustic instruments sharing a well-manicured lawn with a gray squirrel, a curious raccoon, a startled owl and a pileated woodpecker. It's all pleasant greens bordering warm shades of brown and yellow. Well-placed, softly-shaped boulders invite you to sit and relax. The owl and the raccoon stare back at you, as if ...read more
by Doug Collette
A decidedly conventional work from a decidedly unconventional group, Phish’s Undermind is a perfect marriage of purpose and production. Initial packing includes a DVD with studio footage and interviews with the band, but watching that disc isn't nearly so enlightening as hearing the CD in its entirety from start to finish. The artistic and personal unrest that may have led to the recent announcement of the band’s disbandment has clearly provided fuel for their collective creative fire.
If it weren’t ...read more
by Ashley King
People have been expecting big things from Natalie Merchant. While her latest release, Motherland, may not make many Best of" lists for 2001, it most definitely made some Most Anticipated" lists prior to its November release. On the heels of an American Folk Music tour and out of a collaboration with renowned roots-rock producer T-Bone Burnett ( O Brother Where Art Thou? ) comes Merchant's fourth post 10,000 Maniacs outing--the result being a record that, while more adventurous than either ...read more
by Ed Kopp
A fine blues guitarist and singer, Saskatchewan native Colin James dabbled in the swing thing long before it became the pop flavor of the month. His 1993 release Little Big Band featured a dazzling band that included Roomful of Blues, Chuck Leavell and Reese Winans. James revives that sound here by inviting blues and swing talents Kaz Kazanoff (saxophones), Greg Piccolo (saxophones), Winans (keys), Brian Casserly (trumpet) and many others to join him in the studio. This collection mixes blues ...read more