Rhino [Release date 04.09.15] 2-CD
After Jim Morrison’s death in July 1971, and without their charismatic frontman, the writing was on the wall for the remaining members of The Doors. But in the 2 years before they called it a day, they released two albums – Other Voices was recorded between June and August 1971 and released in October 1971, and Full Circle recorded early in 1972 and released in August 1972.
Until now, they’ve not been widely unavailable on CD. This 2-CD release, re-mastered by The Doors and Love producer Bruce Botnick from the original tapes, and including liner notes by Rolling Stone editor David Fricke plus a rare B-side – ‘Treetrunk’ – puts that right.
But isn’t The Doors, without Morrison, unthinkable?
The speed with which both albums were put out suggests much thought wasn’t given to grieving, and neither release made so much as a ripple on this side of the pond. Even at home, they didn’t fare much better especially the more experimental Full Circle.
Thoughts of replacing Morrison were quickly discarded with Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger taking on vocals alongside their keyboard and guitar duties, and on both releases a number bassists guested alongside drummer John Densmore.
Frankly, although it must be said the particularly impressive remastering makes these recordings sound like they were recorded yesterday, the vocals – particularly on Other Voices – are not the greatest – ‘Variety Is The Spice Of Life’, for example, sounding far too like Chas and Dave for comfort. The musicianship on both releases is, however, faultless, and while Other Voices treads familiar Doors territory, Full Circle sees the band starting to explore new ground with growing confidence.
Both albums are, of course, products of their time and at times, both echoing former glories and crying out for the presence of Morrison (‘Ships w/ Sails’, being a prime example). Neither is now going to be regarded a ‘classic’, but for those with more than a passing interest in The Doors, they certainly merit exploration. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
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