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L.A. Woman was the sixth and last studio album recorded by The Doors with singer Jim Morrison, who died in July 1971 while the album was still in the charts. It is made up largely of blues rock tracks, with singer Morrison's voice audibly throatier and deeper, the result of years of drug and alcohol abuse.
The album opens with The Changeling, an uptempo song that finds Morrison yelling "I'm a changeling... see me change" in a threatening growl. Love Her Madly is another of those light, rather poppy songs along the lines of Love Street and the like. Been Down So Long (from which the title of my review is taken) is a harder, more rocky song with a strong beat.
Cars Hiss By My Window drifts along in a lazy, relaxed, Sunday morning fashion, while uptempo epic L.A. Woman largely coasts by, with a middle change in pace. L'America has a dark, threatening undertone, while Hyacinth House is another one of those songs that has a cheerful tune which belies the subject matter.
Crawling King Snake is a menacing blues rock song, while The W.A.S.P. has been described as an example of the "mythical tale of American music and culture". For me though, the closing track Riders on the Storm really stands out. An epic with atmospheric guitars and rain sound effects, it is eerie and melancholic.
1. The Changeling
2. Love Her Madly
3. Been Down So Long
4. Cars Hiss By My Window
5. L.A. Woman
7. Hyacinth House
8. Crawling King Snake
9. The W.A.S.P. (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)
10. Riders on the Storm
I feel L.A. Woman is the band's best album apart from their first two. It has many good songs including two epics, one of which is my favourite. It feels as though the band were settling into a blues rock style. Who knows what they might have achieved if Jim Morrison hadn't died. Then again, they might have burnt out - I guess we'll never find out.
LA Woman, The Doors, 1971
The Doors were one of the 60's greatest and original rock acts. Bridging the gap between psychadelia and heavy rock they exemplified the laid back cool groove of the hippie lifestyle. LA Woman was the band's final album after six years together. With the forceful persona of the band's unpredictable front man, Jim Morrison, the band's place in rock history was assured.
Amazingly enough most of the album was recorded live and apart from a few overdubs is pretty amazing really when you listen to the quality of the recorded sound. LA Woman was the band's most successful album since the eponymous debut and signified a more laid back, blues orientated sound.
Of course, LA Woman would prove to be the last Doors album to be made. Jim Morrison had become so unpredictable and by this point had decided to become a poet in exile. Morrison would move to France and within three months of the album's release he was dead.
LA Woman is a great album and sounds fantastic.
It's a very laidback album, sometimes dismissed as 'schmaltz', but it's also a very blues-rock orientated record with a number of the tracks being quite low down and dirty. This is no more exemplified than through the fantastic 'Been Down So Long'. Another great blues track is the glorious 'Cars Hiss by My Window' which churns along at a languished pace- delicious!
Theres something really quite posh about Morrison's vocals - almost Dean Martin and crooner-like in some parts, but also uniquely American in its drawl. From the psychedelic 'LA Woman' through to the folk-like 'Hyacinth House' we get to hear Morrison's full range and one of the reasons behind the group's lasting appeal. Morrison was obviously a bit of a strange character (as depicted in the Val Kilmer movie), but strangeness apart although the album and the band are billed as 'psychedelic rock', there is nothing really 'out there' about the album - really it's pretty middle of the road blues rock.
One song that got on my nerves a little bit was L'America, mainly due to its annoying lyrics and lazy writing style.
But its the epic 'Riders on the Storm' that really sets the album apart. Its my favourite Doors track, brilliantly moody and superbly atmospheric it ebbs and flows smoothly throughout it's seven and a bit minutes. The rain and thunder sound effects certainly add to the overall scope, as does the tinkly piano of Ray Manzarek - great stuff.
Highly respected and an album that sounds really great forty years on.
1. "The Changeling" - 4:21
2. "Love Her Madly" - 3:20
3. "Been Down So Long" - 4:41
4. "Cars Hiss by My Window" - 4:12
5. "L.A. Woman" - 7:49
6. "L'America" - 4:37
7. "Hyacinth House" - 3:11
8. "Crawling King Snake" - 5:00
9. "The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)" - 4:16
10. "Riders on the Storm" - 7:09
The final album released during Jim Morrison's lifetime, LA Woman is a return to top form from the Doors.
Released in 1971 (the year of Jim Morrison's death) the band decided that this album would be a back to basics album with a focus on 'blues-rock'. They found a new engineer in Bruce Botnick after a fallout with Paul Rothchild and got to work in the studio in late 1970.
As with many Doors albums, the tracks are a mix of songs by Robbie Krieger with Morrison lyrics added later and Morrison lyrics with Doors music added later, but both formulas blend well on this album, so much so its hard to tell which is which without reading biographies / professional reviews.
There are a number of tracks on the album that you will find on any Doors greatest hits album, such as 'Love Her Madly', a surprisingly upbeat song about how people can go insanely in-love as their loved ones leave them for someone else; the title track 'L.A. Woman', a seven minute track that builds up and down and up again with Mr Mojo Risin's (a anagram Morrison used in the song) mysterious lyrics possibly about a prostitute or possibly about L.A. itself - the best track on the album; and 'Riders of the Storm', one of the Doors most famous tracks released which uses real sound clips of a storm and whispered Morrison backing vocals to create a truly phenomenal feeling around the record.
Other tracks here are by no means second rate, with the album starting off with 'The Changeling', a very bluesy song brimming with Morrison's lyrics of being a rolling stone (not a reference to the band) and a low funky riff that screams out a bad boy image.
There's also the beautifully delicate 'Hyacinth House', allegedly influenced by Robbie Krieger's house which contained a large number of hyacinth plants. The lyrics seem to be coming from a man in a desperate place full of depression, paranoia and loneliness - hopefully not a reflection of how Mr Morrison spent his final days. The lyric "Why did you throw the jack of hearts away?/ it was the only card in the deck, that I had left to play/" is particularly striking.
There is also the progressively up-tempo inclusion of 'L'America' and the wonderful spoken word 'The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)' containing some of Morrison's greatest lyrics and matching music from the rest of the band.
There is the slight disappointment in the song 'Crawling King Snake', a song written by John Lee Hooker, a slow blues song that would probably set late night blues clubs alight, but just not me.
Overall it's a top quality album, but it is missing that little extra push to make it an all-time classic like their first album. I'd like to give the album 4.5 stars, but the album is closer to a 5 than a 4 so I've gone for 5. Enjoy
LA Woman confirms the Doors transition into the world of Rock and Roll with a smattering of blues thrown in for good measure. Morrison Hotel, their last album, started their transition into this arena but LA Woman shows a more mature output, the next logical step after Morrison Hotel. When this record came out it was widely speculated that this album was going to be there last, this was without the hindsight of Morrison’s imminent death in Paris. Whether this true or not I feel that the LP has a reflective quality about it, like the band knew it was the end of the road. The product of their work is outstanding. When the album was produced, Morrison recorded his vocals in the makeshift studios bathroom. This certainly gives his vocals a unique edge and as a whole Morrison is on incredible form. The rest of the band is on great form as well, Manzarek as usual, drives the chorus and Densmore and Krieger are magnificent as well. I sometimes get sad when listening to LA Women, I wonder whether they would have made any more records and gone onto make even more great music. Even so they have left a lasting legacy for which they can look back on with justifiable pride
I have been a Doors fan for about 8 years now and pull out one of their CD's every couple of weeks. LA Woman is consistently good from start to finish, LA Woman is Jim's Au Revoir before expiration in Paris and it is a dandy. The title cut is one of the all time greats, packing great images of LA into lively keyboard and guitar work; Mr. Mojo Risin' is not exceptional but is like an eye of a hurricane leading into a powerful climax. The Wasp also has great lyrics by Jim, and excellent drumming by John rides through primitive style instrumental rhythms and beats. Riders on the Storm is also a classic, and evokes a dark mood that is more broadly palatable than the other Doors dark songs. Love Her Madly is a fun song with a carnivalesqe tone that had more power than other Doors tunes of that nature. Been Down So Long and Cars Hiss By My Window interspace an insular and introspective mood between faster songs; Hyacinth House is fairly average but with a good sense of humor--all three songs have an interesting claustrophobic feel.
i stumbled across this album/cd a coupla months ago, and although i did know these songs, i was addicted to several songs from this cd. like "la woman, lamerica, riders on the storm, and love her madly" among half the other songs on this cd. it's a great buy. and it's probably cheap too so buy it especially if you're a classic rock fan. morrison was great i admit. but calling him godlike would be to much for you to believe. but he's kinda godlike with this cd. it's very cool. well that's enough for me. buy the cd. it's great. and support the economy.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 The Changeling
2 Love Her Madly
3 Been Down So Long
4 Cars Hiss By My Window
5 L.A. Woman
7 Hyacinth House
8 Crawling King Snake
9 The Wasp (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)
10 Riders On The Storm
11 Orange County Suite
12 (You Need Meat) Don't Go
13 No Furthe