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Albums Of The Week: The Doors | L.A. Woman 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

A compelling collection of fly-on-the-wall work tapes and a roster of classic blues covers shed new light on the creation of the band's underappreciated final album.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Doors found their mojo (and Mr. Mojo Risin’) in November 1970 as they recorded L.A. Woman over six days at The Workshop, the band’s rehearsal space on Santa Monica Boulevard. A success both critically and commercially, the album double-platinum album contains some of the band’s most enduring music, including the hits Love Her Madly, Riders On The Storm and the title track.

To commemorate the album’s 50-year anniversary, The Doors keep on risin’ with the L.A. Woman 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, which includes the original album newly remastered by the band’s longtime engineer and mixer Bruce Botnick, along with two bonus discs of unreleased studio outtakes that allow the listener to experience the progression of each song as it developed in the studio. The outtakes feature singer Jim Morrison, drummer John Densmore, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger working in the studio with two additional musicians: Rhythm guitarist Marc Benno (who worked with Leon Russell in The Asylum Choir) and bassist Jerry Scheff (a member of Elvis Presley’s TCB band).

In the studio, Botnick says the band took a more organic approach to recording instead of starting and stopping repeatedly to achieve technical perfection. “The previously unreleased reels here — serial takes of The Changeling, Love Her Madly, Riders On The Storm and L.A. Woman – depict a band obsessed with groove while executing turns and flourishes with the precision of a well-drilled soul combo … The idea was to go from song to song, to let it flow.”

Among the extras, you can also hear the band joyously ripping through the kinds of classic blues songs that Morrison once described as “original blues.” There are takes of Junior Parker’s Mystery Train, John Lee Hooker’s Crawling King Snake, Big Joe WilliamsBaby Please Don’t Go, and Get Out Of My Life Woman, Lee Dorsey’s funky 1966 classic, written by his producer Allen Toussaint.

In the collection’s extensive liner notes, David Fricke explores the whirlwind making of the album, which would be the last with Morrison, who died in Paris a few months after its release. “Morrison may never have come back to The Doors,” he writes. “But with his death, L.A. Woman became rebirth, achievement, and finale, all at once. It’s the blues too — original blues, as Morrison promised. Fifty years later, there is still nothing like it.”