Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Doors 9: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine

Once the Doors were deemed finished, the powers that be valiantly attempted to preserve Jim Morrison’s legacy in rock. Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine presents a sprawling overview of the band’s work over two LPs, crammed to the gills with their biggest radio hits and album tracks. It nicely avoided anything already on 1970’s 13; while an obvious cash-in, it remained the “hit single” companion compilation, particularly if you wanted “Light My Fire”, “Touch Me”, “Hello I Love You” and so forth.
Weird Scenes represents each of the six studio albums, nearly equally, with the shortest shrift given to The Soft Parade. While that title track would have been welcome here, it’s place is perhaps taken by two then-unalbumized B-sides: “Who Scared You” from the Soft Parade era, and “You Need Meat (Don’t Go No Further)”, the flip of “Love Her Madly” featuring the imitable vocal stylings of Ray Manzarek.
Outside 1973’s The Best Of The Doors, which was released exclusively to meet the fleeting demand for quadrophonic sound, Weird Scenes and 13 sufficed. Then two things happened: “The End” was used in Apocalypse Now, and the salacious Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive kindled interest in the band among a generation who missed out on them the first time. Money was to be made, and confusion be damned.
1980’s Greatest Hits supplanted 13 by including two songs from L.A. Woman, but lost points for “Not To Touch The Earth” (the only explicable reason being the “I am the lizard king” lyric). 1985’s Classics went more for album tracks, but the same year’s double LP The Best Of The Doors retread both that and Greatest Hits. The ‘90s brought more interest via Oliver Stone’s movie, the soundtrack of which leaned on the idea of Jim as a poet. Greatest Hits was also expanded slightly for CD with a new cover. The new century started the wave all over again, with another sequence deemed The Best Of The Doors, and two different sets called The Very Best Of The Doors, none of which should be confused with Legacy: The Absolute Best, The Future Starts Here: The Essential Doors Hits, or The Platinum Collection.
Along with the same handful of songs included for the ninth or tenth time, some kind of rarity was always stuck in the middle of these sets to entice repeat consumers. The 2010 documentary When You’re Strange, for example, attempted to undo the myths perpetuated by Oliver Stone, and its companion CD mixed hits, poetry readings, and some live versions. It should also be no surprise that for all but three of these albums, Jim was the only guy depicted on the front cover. And only Singles, available as 20 replica 45s or a two-CD set (or a deluxe version containing a Blu-ray with the 1973 quad Best Of), touched on the music the other three made without him.
Each new set only underscored how solid Weird Scenes was, and remained. At 99 minutes, it was too long for a single CD, but the emergence of Record Store Day as a marketing ploy led to its reissue on vinyl in 2014, as well as a digital version and double-disc set, using the newest remasters and restored vocals. If you must have any, pick that up and 13.

The Doors Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (1972)—4

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