Following James Lee Stanley and John Batdorf's critically and consumer popular All Wood and Stones, a CD of highly interpretational covers of Rolling Stones standards, a rather unusual event occurred. Stanley, at a Woodland Hills restaurant, asked Doors drummer John Densmore to autograph a copy of his Riders on the Storm book, written by Densmore about his days in the infamous ensemble. Turning the tables, Densmore commented on how much he'd loved the Wood & Stones disc and asked to be included should Stanley ever consider covering Densmore's old band in similar fashion. James Lee was, as he put it, "floored", and thus began this marvelous new disc.
The choice of Cliff Eberhardt as co-lead was a great idea, but Batdorf, thank all the dakinis in nirvana, likewise returned to the fold along with—now get this!—Paul Barrere, Timothy B. Schmidt, Peter Tork, Laurence Juber, and several other heavy hitters as well as not only Densmore but also Doors guitarist Robby Krieger. As Frank Zappa would blurt, "Great Googlymoogly!" A line-up like that is money in the bank, Jackson, and the treatment of Doors classics is a joy, as original as the Stones effort…and maybe even better. Fusing the mellifluous with a light soulful, somewhat jazzy approach tinged with laid back rock and the expected folk, each track is an exercise in stretching Morrison & Co.'s classic oeuvre. In fact, I'm minded of the just-released second Moody Bluegrass disc in terms of completely reconditioning beloved old comps into completely different contexts; the two are basically that kindred
The choice of cuts is tantalizing as well. Not only Light My Fire and The End, the latter heavily CSNYed, but also Crystal Ship (one of my all-time Doors faves along with Horse Latitudes), Moonlight Drive, and others. Take It as It Comes is particularly catchy, far more a fantasia here than when Morrison cut the original. The vocal harmonies are enchanting, particularly in the refrain's declensions, and Strange Days proves to be the perfect follow-on, rustically laconic, almost eerie. Everything about Stanley and Eberhardt works very well, trading off vocals, rhythm guitars, and lead lines in around riffs from the other six fretbenders, all of whom are 100% copacetic, no one gloryhogging.
Can't wait to see which band is next in this series. I'm pretty sure it won't be Led Zeppelin…but then again…
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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