Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Doors - Alive, She Cried - 1983

So usually the year an album is released has something to do with how good an album is, or at least, if I know nothing about an album, I do a year check, and that gives some insight to where the artist was in their musical development. Alive, She Cried was released in 1983. Ummm, this must be a greatest hits live album from The Doors....blah. Au contraire, this live album is a compilation from performances recorded from 1968-1970, which vanished in the 70s and was considered to be lost forever. That is until a videotape of a Copenhagen performance surfaced and yielded "Texas Radio and the Big Beat" (full of Jim Morrison's spoken poetry) and "Love Me Two Times". The rest of the live recorded tapes from these years were found in an undocumented shipment at an LA storage facility that longtime Doors producer, James Rothchild, used in the rest of this album. Rothchild notes that in the making of this live compilation album, he would not repeat any titles from Absolutely Live, no matter how different the recordings were, making this album chock full of totally unique live recordings. Thank you to the Black Cat's Record Fair where we scored this one.

The story behind the making of this album is intriguing, but I have yet to mention how good the music is. For live recordings, the fidelity is as good as any studio album. The album opens with a version of Van Morrison's "Gloria" as recorded in the Aquarius Theater in Hollywood as a trial run in a series of future upcoming shows. The harmony of the band is unparalleled and you can tell they are having a great time playing for the crowd. A shoutout to Krieger for his sweet waaah wah waaah on the bottleneck guitar on "Moonlight Drive." "Little Red Rooster" is in full glory in this recording with an appearance from John Sebastian of The Lovin Spoonful, and easily sounds as if they were having a blues jam with Taj Mahal or Buddy Guy. The whole disc is infused with a ramshackle stuttering blues swing.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal - The debut album from this legendary blues artist was a lucky find and pick-up at the
CD Game-Exchange in Takoma Park. There was a hunch that this fella was a mean music maker, but I couldn't put my finger on why. Well, about twenty spins later the proof is in the playing. Side A is full of classic sounds, several of which remind me of Hendrix blues of the same era. These are the blues that make you want to get up and dance, while he really gets the sad jazzy, county blues on Side B. Taj Mahal (aka Henry Saint Clair Fredericks) studdied animal husbandry in school, but for some reason decided to rock out instead. Good choice Taj.

Of note on this album is his rendition of "Statesboro Blues", which in my opinion is better than the later to come Allman Brothers version. "Diving Duck Blues" is reminiscent of what The Doors were doing with funky blues and soul. A dimly lit bar and whiskey on the rocks is what comes to mind with "The Celebrated Walkin' Blues" and I wouldn't be offended if someone put this track on repeat on the jukebox all night. In fact, this album should definitely be a staple in the jukebox of a good bar.