Wednesday, 1 August 2018

The Doors - The Singles

(This review first appeared in issue #72 of Shindig! magazine.)

Rhino 2CD

It's difficult to think of an American band from rock's late '60s salad days that so divides sentiment. For every person that holds them in high esteem, there's another that will decry the band as overrated, at times pretentious, indulgent and overblown. Even among their West Coast contemporaries were musicians that refused to open up to The Doors. Former Byrd David Crosby to this day doesn't have a kind word to say about them, as anyone who follows his Twitter feed will know. His main gripes being that as a band they “didn't swing”, and that Jim Morrison was a bit of a bozo.

Whether you agree with Crosby or not there's no denying that among the band's back catalogue contains a body of work that has stood the test of time and gained new fans from successive generations. And listening to this value for money 44-song collection, the accusations of being overblown are easily laid to rest. Their reputation has long been that of an “albums band”, or one best experienced live where they had the freedom to improvise and give in to their jazz-rock/free-form leanings. But from the evidence here they could also turn in concise, memorable tracks that fitted nicely onto a 7” pieces of plastic, had catchy choruses and sounded good on the radio

All the tracks have been remastered, with killer A-sides 'Break On Through', 'Light My Fire, 'Hello I Love You' and 'Touch Me' all sounding as fresh as they would have done when the LA quartet first committed them to tape. This collection's other USP is the inclusion of all B-sides including those from their posthumous releases right the way up to the 1983 release of 'Gloria'/'Moonlight Drive (Live)', along with four tracks in in mono radio versions. The only omission is of ' Not To Touch The Earth, the flip-side of the 1980 reissue of 'People Are Strange', but given the other riches I guess we can live without that.

If your vinyl copies are wearing a little thin this could be just the compilation to have on your Christmas list. Unless you're David Crosby that is.

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