Album Review: L.A. Woman by The Doors

by Tom Edathikunnel

L.A. Woman is the sixth and final studio album by The Doors, and is the last recorded album with vocalist Jim Morrison, who died shortly after the release of the album in 1971. What makes this album unique compared to the previous works of The Doors, is the incorporation of  studio bassist Jerry Scheff and rhythm guitarist Marc Benno. The addition of these two musicians, compared to the normally 4 person line-up gives this album a much more unique depth of sound and style, creating a very blues album with the classic rock dexterity.

What predominately  interests me about this album is the fusion of deep blues rhythm and hard rock melodies. Songs such as ‘Love Her Madly’ and ‘L.A. Woman’ still stand the test of time compared to contemporary rock songs, and are radio hallmarks. to this day. In pervious albums The Doors did not feature a proper bass line, and keyboardist Ray Manzerek and drummer John Densmore led the band’s rhythm. With the inclusion of a bassist, the rhythm of the entire album stays consistently engaging, providing a rich depth of sound with the familiar Doors style.

Morrison’s lyrics remain cryptic and mystically poetic as ever throughout the entire album. Songs like ‘The WASP’ and ‘L’America’ always challenge me to listen closer and to question perception. These accents and tweaks to The Doors already signature style culminates to, what is in my opinion their greatest song, ‘Riders on the Storm’. The simple blues bass line really stands out, but is further complimented by the smooth lead guitar work of Robbie Krieger and the impressive electric organ work of Manzerek. What is really great about this song is the impressive breakdown in the middle, which features some interesting instrumental movements that completely remain unique to The Doors. Although this album may not contain the chart toppers of their previous works, such as ‘Break on Through’ from the eponymous 1966 debut album, I still consider L.A. Woman to be The Doors creative masterwork.

L.A. Woman by The Doors
Jim Morrison: Vocals
Robbie Krieger: Guitar
Ray Manzarek: Piano and Organ
John Densmore: Drums
Jerry Scheff: Bass
Marc Benno: Rhythem Guitar

Album concept/design: Carl Cossick