The Doors

603497857067The Doors
Waiting for the Sun: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
Elektra/Rhino
by David Chiu

(Promo photo by By APA-Agency for the Performing Arts-management, via Wikimedia)

The Doors’ excellent third album recently marked its 50th anniversary. And while it doesn’t have the popular recognition of  the self-titled debut record or L.A. Woman, Waiting for the Sun still shows a group at the top of its game. Five decades later, as this lavish reissue of the album demonstrates (2 CDs/1 LP), the songs on “Waiting for the Sun” still has this enduring quality. It contains several of the band’s most popular songs: from the bouncy opener “Hello I Love You”; to the baroque-sounding “Spanish Caravan”; to the haunting and anti-war sentiment of “The Unknown Solider” (with its depiction of an “execution” midpoint in the song); and to the urgent “Five to One,” which reflected the generational divide at the time. While those are the most recognized Doors songs, the rest of the album isn’t exactly filler: “Summer’s Almost Gone,” “Yes, the River Knows,” and the waltz-like “Wintertime Love” are pastoral-sounding, and “Love Street” is a whimsical ode that references where Jim Morrison and his girlfriend Pamela Courson lived. As Rolling Stone writer David Fricke mentioned in his liner notes for the new set, Waiting for the Sun is notable for the one song it doesn’t have: the epic set piece “Celebration of the Lizard,” which “Not to Touch the Earth” was excerpted from—even though the lyrics were printed on the album sleeve; the studio version of “Celebration” wouldn’t be officially released until 2003. This new reissue of Waiting for the Sun contains rough mixes of the album’s songs; they put in perspective the beauty of the songs in an unrefined manner—especially with Morrison’s lead vocals seemingly more out front like on “Wintertime Love,” as well his spoken words at the very beginning of “Five to One”—before the final mixes. The second disc includes several performances from a 1968 show in Copenhagen with “Hello I Love You,” “The Unknown Solider” and “Five to One” as well as “Texas Radio and the Big Beat” (that later appeared in studio form on L.A. Woman) and “Back Door Man”—they should be called rough because those recordings definitely sound that way, even though the performances were electric; it’s a nice time capsule, nevertheless.

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