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Essential Rarities by The Doors

Essential Rarities

by The Doors

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Essential Rarities

The Doors
Record Label
Elektra / Wea
Alternative Rock
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Audio CD
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Track Listing
Disk 1
01 Hello To The Cities (Live) (Lyrics)
02 Break On Through (Live) (Lyrics)
03 Roadhouse Blues (Live) (Lyrics)
04 Hyacinth House (Lyrics)
05 Who Scared You (Lyrics)
06 Whiskey, Mystics And Men (Lyrics)
07 I Will Never Be Untrue (Live) (Lyrics)
08 Moonlight Drive (Lyrics)
09 Queen Of The Hghway (Alternate Version) (Lyrics)
10 Someday Soon (Live) (Lyrics)
11 Hello, I Love You (Lyrics)
12 Orange County Suite (Lyrics)
13 The Soft Parade (Live) (Lyrics)
14 The End (Live) (Lyrics)
15 Woman Is A Devil (Lyrics)
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This collection, originally available only as a bonus disc in The Doors: The Complete Studio Recordings box set (fleshed out here with another outtake track, 'Woman Is a Devil,' from that set) is split just about evenly between a sometimes motley collection of outtakes and demos and a better slate of live material. It also argues that while most rock bands cut their teeth on blues and other roots music, then develop a distinct sound (or sell out to pop fashion trends), the Doors seemed to evolve ass-backwards, the band's, and particularly Jim Morrison's, college poet-nihilist pretensions slowly giving way to more blues-based influences. Indeed, after a few legendary years of late-1960s success and excess, Morrison had more than enough reasons to sing the blues. The studio leftovers here underscore why they're called 'outtakes' (1965 demos of 'Hello, I Love You' and 'Moonlight Drive' are historically interesting, if a bit bubblegummy) though there are some highlights. 'Whiskey, Mystics and Men' showcases another side of the band's tastefully odd Kurt Weill fetish; a '69 alternate of 'Queen of the Highway' is almost lounge hipster chic; and 'Orange County Suite' is a dirge from '70. Live cuts (all from '69 and '70) range from a baroque, affected PBS telecast of 'The Soft Parade' to an apocalyptic, overwrought 'The End.' --Jerry McCulley

Best Doors Album (2005-05-25)
In my opinion the BEST DOORS ALBUM. The box set was kind of a let down for me. This collection has just a perfect flow to it. It just works for me. It sounds so heartfelt and despite one or two muffled recordings, I feel it really captures the heart of the Doors. When the acid freaks realize that no one is tending the light at the end of the tunnel, that happiness cannot be bought with a $3 tab of acid, the psychedelic blues, the existential dread (paraphrasing here from Hunter S. Thompson and Stephen Davis)this album is the Doors that i like best, its harsh, its not overproduced. They seem to really enjoy playing these songs. of course the box set and even boot yer butt have some great moments, but for me anyways, these recordings, all on just one disc, are essential!

Most Of This Collection Has Been Done Better Before!! (2004-07-21)
Essential Rarities, that unexceptional disc of Doors outtakes that started out as a bonus disc on a 1997 box set, consists of one really good studio performance (which provides a sharp contrast to the rest of the material here), some mostly good live performances, particularly of Doors classics, and several rather forgettable demos. The studio masterpiece is, of course, 'Who Scared You,' which was inexplicably left off The Soft Parade in favor of such lesser songs as 'Do It' and 'Running Blue'. Highlights of the live performances include a very good version of 'The End,' a fine rendition of 'Break on Through,' and a rather lounge-lizard-style take of 'Queen of the Highway'. Most of the demos are (as singer Jim Morrison so aptly puts it) works in progress; they simply show that Morrison's fabulous lyrics alone aren't enough to carry the material without the band's special brand of studio polish. Probably the most interesting of these 'early versions' is 'Hyacinth House,' a fine performance which features bongos and a genuine 'beatnik poet' feel. In short, an interesting disc, but far from essential, as the only truly essential works in the Doors canon are the six glorious studio albums, all of which feature far superior versions of the tunes offered here.

Jim's back! (2004-06-06)
I would have given this 4 1/2 stars if it was possible. I found a lot of the material on here very interesting to listen to. Not everything on here was worth 5 stars, or even 4 stars, but there's enough to hold a Doors'/Morrison fan's interest. My wife's father heard me playing it on my stereo (he's a Doors' fan from way back), and he wanted to know what it was because he'd never heard it before. I let him borrow the CD, and he thought it was the best Doors' release he'd ever listened to (that's a matter of opinion). However, it's interesting to listen to if you're a die hard Doors' fan.

Something different, not essential (2004-03-09)
This disc is, of course, a sort of 'greatest hits' for the 1997 box set. As we all know, The Doors have about as many collections out as The Who and Gary Numan, making this non-essential.

The box set was not all it could have been, but it was nice to finally get. I would suggest buying the box at less than full price. The box is four discs, but essentially it's three, because the band had the gaul to actually release a 'band favorites' disc of material from the studio album, essentially including a greatest hits of stuff we already have. This is par for course, though.

The Doors are a great American rock band, however their release practices and sonic trickery on many releases is very frustrating for fans.

There are some very good tracks here, but be aware of some of the details.

Hello To The Cities is a brief intro by Morrison taken from a concert opening. That leads right into Break On Through from the 1970 Isle of Wight performance, one of the Doors' last. The track is definitely doctored compared to the soundboard-bootlegs that have been floating around. Infuriatingly, there are also guitar overdubs on the track by Krieger(!) Why he felt the need to doctor his own performance 20-odd years later is beyond me.

The trickery does not end there, of course. It's nice to have Who Scared You on CD, but why have they cut out an entire verse?

Then there's Someday Soon, a never released song only performed twice. The version here is from Seattle, 1970, which has been on every other Doors bootleg for decades. Of course, they butcher the beginning of the song, overdubbing crowd noise. A bootleg box set that appeared in 1998 actually included the other and better performance of this song, recorded for Absolutely Live.

The Soft Parade is, of course, the version we already own from The Soft Parade video. Thanks, guys!

There are some neat gems on here, though. The Hyacinth House is a demo done at Krieger's home, I believe, with someone on bongos. Always nice to hear the development of a song.

Queen of the Highway is a jazzy, alternate take on the Morrison Hotel track, and it's one of the best tracks here.

Orange County Suite is The Doors returning to the studio to lay down tracks around a recording of Morrison on piano, a good ballad, though it depends on how you feel about this kind of thing, sort of like the Beatles did a few years earlier.

Overall, the disc might be worthwhile if you're a more casual fan. But diehards will want the box, which was a bit of a disappointment, but at least you'll get everything rather than just a slice. Also, be aware that many of the live tracks on the box and on this disc are not even single takes from one concert, but rather spliced-together tracks in an effort to produce the 'perfect live' version, sort of defeating the purpose of a live album.

Such shameless practices continue to taint Doors releases, though they have made some amends by releasing previously 'lost' concerts through Bright Midnight Records on their website.

Interesting curiosity. Not quite essential. (2003-02-18)
It's not immediately obvious what audience this CD is aimed at. It condenses the 1997 Doors Box Set down to one CD. The hard-core Doors fans will already own the Box Set. Casual listeneres will most likely not be interested in any of this. 'Casual' listeners would be advised to buy the Doors' studio albums before this, anyway. Upon owning all the studio albums, however, they would cease to be merely 'casual' listeners. So, I guess if you're a big Doors fan, but you're on a budget and cannot afford the box set, then Essential Rarities would be a good choice.

The choices for inclusion here are pretty good. It's good stuff overall. A mix of live tracks, early demos and unreleased songs. The live versions of 'Break On Through', 'The Soft Parade' and 'The End' are the most worthwile. Also, as a boon for collectors, this CD contains a previously unreleased song that was not on the Doors Box Set, 'Woman Is A Devil', a fine 12-bar blues song, which I happen to like a lot.

The Doors Box Set itself is uneven (featuring a completely wasted fourth disc), but it has a lot of good material that will be of interest to big fans of The Doors. If you buy Essential Rarities, you're missing the live CD, Live In New York, and several other worthwile tracks. This however, is a good condensing of the box set, so if you can't spend big bucks for the box, this is a much cheaper alternative.
  pantufla | Feb 22, 2006 |
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