Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Doors-Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine

The Doors might be the most binge and purged bands of all time.  Certainly the market is over-saturated with various Doors best ofs, box sets and compilations that it just might be Five To One in terms of best ofs over actual albums. And true to form I do have the six studio albums plus Other Voices, the 1971 life after Jim Morrison album that got so so reviews, I still enjoy Tightrope Ride and would have bought that as a single had the stores had it in stock back then.   Never bought Full Circle their 1972 farewell.

You might not care but Rhino has reissued Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine this week and although I have no need for that album, I did once had it on vinyl when I lived in Arizona and Tower had it for 10 dollars on sale. Basically the second best of at that time (13 was issued earlier) Weird Scenes is more of a tribute to the legend that is Jim Morrison and although the majority of songs have been issued time and time again, the rare exception was Running Blue, the failed 1969 single, which had a middle eight sounding more country and off the wall.  Other oddities include Who Scared You, the B side to Wishful Sinful and Ray Manzarek doing a cover of You Need Meat Don't Go No Further.  But for the most part it has the most of what we know that is Jim Morrison, all the way to the 11 and half minute The End and the 11 plus When's The Music Over.  Which is also on many other best ofs.  It also includes the quite boring Maggie M'Gill, and The Spy, from Morrison Motel, an album that I don't play very often.  In 1972, Weird Scenes was a adequate but expansive (12 dollars back then) overview that is more a luxury than essential.

Since then, The Best Of The Doors came out in 1985 and Weird Scenes was eventually cut out from the catalog. And then The Doors Legacy replaced The Best Of The which The Legacy, The Absolute Best remains on my shelf.  Found for 2 dollars at a pawnshop, it does include some oddball stuff, Break On Through (with Morrison screaming She gets HIGH when the offending word High was edited out of the original version) the cover of Van Morrison (no relation to Jim...DUH) Gloria and the overblown Celebration Of The Lizard it's perhaps the best of the Mix Cds as we call them.

But for shits and giggles I ended up getting the soundtrack to The Doors, since there was a dollar copy at Half Priced Books and it has a bit more of the Jim Morrison poetry that graced An American Prayer, the 1978 album to which the surviving Doors played along to the musings of Mr. Mojo Rising.  It's another pointless comp, adding the Velvet Underground's Heroin and Carmen Buranda as cheap entertainment. But it's still a money grab regardless.

So in the end is Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine worth 17 dollars on CD and a bit more on vinyl (the local record store had a RSD copy of it for 50 dollars)?  If your thinking of nostalgic values it is, some people today still consider it the Ultimate Jim Morrison for better or for worse over the countless repackages of the Doors' best.  And perhaps the more darker and brooding images of Morrison's songs (Mute Nostril Agony on Horse Latitudes one of Morrison's best zingers...which also feels like my damn nose after a week of the flu/cold).  If The Absolute Best Of The Doors, Legacy is the band's best overview, Weird Scenes is Morrison's legacy to the band, that is without him they were basically the backing band.  And it's better to hear all of this on vinyl rather than CD.  The pops and cracks that begin The End on my old copy is the stuff of legends to hear on the record player rather than MP3 or CD.

Grade B+  


Since nobody bothered to, I ended up getting that cheap 2 dollar The Future Starts Now, the last Doors best of.  I really didn't expect much but I think this was for the 40th year celebration of The Doors first album.  There are some new surprises on the remixes, L A Woman now is expended to Ray Manzerek's opening chords, to an extended endings of Love Her Madly and Hello I Love You and of course Break On Through To The Other Side leaves in "she gets high" which was on the Doors Legacy 2 CD best of.  There's more clarity to Robbie Kruger's guitar work and John Densmore's drums are more fuller on the tracks from LA Woman and the mixes do have a bit more bite.  Not much else for surprises, The End is the edit from the Apocalypse Now Soundtrack and the hardcore are bitching about that.  If that bothers you enough, you can find the full version on the first album and Very Best Of The Doors, or Doors Legacy or Weird Scenes. Bruce Botnick mix for the 40th anniversary is perhaps the most clear that I have heard out of all the 20 best ofs and albums out there.  A bit too much dependence on the first album (7 Songs are on this) but all the chart toppers are on this and Jim Morrison's poetry is kept to a bare minimum.   In other words, a more cheaper alternative to the 2 CD Very Best Of The Doors for those who don't have any Doors.  

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