The Doors - Morrison Hotel - Review
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critics' view

The ever-brilliant quartet opened the 70s with “Morrison Hotel”, their most muscular set to date. The album is divided in a titular fashion, side 1 being labelled “Hard Rock Café” and side 2 bearing the front-cover title “Morrison Hotel”. The suggestion is that the outright rockers dominate the first half, and the second side is a tad more artful, although that doesn’t bear up in reality; the artfulness seems omnipresent to me.

The storming “Roadhouse Blues” gets things off to a surprising start, with Lonnie Mack being drafted in to provide an insistent bass guitar part (unusual for the Doors), the prominence of which proves to be the making of the classic piece. The dramatic “Waiting for the Sun” immediately follows, and recalls psychedelic glories of ’67. The super-funky “Peace Frog” emerges as the killer highlight in every way; musically and poetically brilliant. By the end, I’m as traumatized as the 4 year-old Jim by those Native American ghosts. Well, maybe not quite – but his imagery is potent.

Land Ho” gets side 2 off to a flyer; it’s quintessentially Doors, packed to the hilt with action and adventure; rhythms that ebb and flow, instrumentation that swirls around your head like a rush, and a commanding vocal from the charismatic front man. Almost making a mockery of the “Hard Rock Café” title of side 1, “Maggie M'Gill” ends side 2 with the hardest blues rocker yet, bringing the album full circle from “Roadhouse Blues”. It was a sure pointer that they were ready to fully embrace blues rock as the Doors sound of the 70s.

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