L.A. Woman: 40th Anniversary Edition 


Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek idly runs through the chords of his band’s evocative new number, “Riders on the Storm,” a brooding meditation on the inherent madness of humanity, as drummer John Densmore quietly gets a feel for the groove. As Jim Morrison steps up to the mic to prepare for a take, Manzarek’s pattern triggers an unexpected synapse in the young singer and poet’s mind. “Riding down the trail to Albuquerque, saddlebags all filled with beans and jerky,” Morrison jauntily croons. “Headed for K-circle-B, the TV ranch for you and me! K-circle-B in Albuquerque!” Clearly local New Mexico TV personality Dick Bills’ KOB theme song was drilled into Morrison’s head as a boy, and the joyful way it comes springing out of him indicates the easy rapport the Doors shared by the time of the sessions for their sixth studio album.

This exchange is just one of the freewheeling insights into the group’s recording process featured on the second disc of this 40th-anniversary reissue of L.A. Woman. The first disc is the album as we know it, familiar from the already numerous repackagings of the Doors’ slim catalog through the decades. But the previously unreleased alternate takes that make up the bonus material here shows us the Doors at play, free of the self-serious façade they willingly showed the world. The only unfamiliar songs here are an agreeably hazy stroll through the blues standard “Rock Me” and the unheard original “She Smells So Nice,” a charming if unremarkable number marred by subpar sound. –Chris Neal

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