The Doors – Morrison Hotel

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  • A wonderful early pressing of this hard-rockin’ Doors album, with incredible Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish – reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • Rich, big and full-bodied, with clarity and energy to spare, this is the way you want to hear the Doors’ Bluesy Rock
  • Roadhouse Blues, Waiting For The Sun and Maggie McGill are KILLER on this pressing – all you Doors fans are gonna flip
  • Circus Magazine praised it as “possibly the best album yet from the Doors” and “Good hard, evil rock, and one of the best albums released this decade.”

Too many pressings aren’t rich and full-bodied enough to reproduce Jim Morrison’s rich baritone. He’s The Lizard King, not The Frog Prince for crying out loud. When he doesn’t sound big, powerful, and borderline scary, what’s the point? Not to worry. On these two sides, he sounds AMAZING. Just listen to him screaming his head off on Roadhouse Blues and projecting the power of his rich baritone on Blue Sunday. Nobody did it any better. By the way, the sound of the organ on that track is crazy good.

This vintage Elektra pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the best sides of Morrison Hotel have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1970
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

To hear the best sound on side two, drop the needle on The Spy — you won’t believe how much ambience there is! The clarity is stunning and there’s amazing depth to the soundfield. Check out the wonderfully dry drum sound on Maggie M’Gill. Be forewarned — you’re gonna want to turn this one up loud!

Man, it is almost impossible to find Doors records that sound like this. It’s hard to find clean Doors records at all these days, we find a small handful each year — not nearly enough to do these shootouts as often as we would like.

Both sides here have the deep, rock-solid bottom end this music absolutely demands. You’ve got to hand it to Bruce Botnick — he knows how to get real rock-’em sock-’em bottom end onto a piece of magnetic tape.

What do the best Hot Stamper pressings of Morrison Hotel give you?

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks for the guitars and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
  • Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt — Bruce Botnick in this case — would have put them.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Heavy Vinyl

Just for fun we recently played the Universal 180 gram reissue of Morrison Hotel. I have to admit that initially it was pretty good, but as time went on, the artificiality became more apparent — and annoying.

Just listen to the vocals — they’re all wrong. Morrison has one of the richest and most distinctive voices in the history of rock. When it doesn’t sound like the guy I’ve been listening to for close to forty years, something ain’t right. And what ain’t right — not to put too fine a point on it — is the sound of that record.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Roadhouse Blues
Waiting for the Sun
You Make Me Real
Peace Frog
Blue Sunday
Ship of Fools

Side Two

Land Ho!
The Spy
Queen of the Highway
Indian Summer
Maggie McGill

AMG  Review

The Doors returned to crunching, straightforward hard rock on Morrison Hotel, an album that, despite yielding no major hit singles, returned them to critical favor with hip listeners. An increasingly bluesy flavor began to color the songwriting and arrangements, especially on the party ‘n’ booze anthem “Roadhouse Blues.”

Review Excerpts

Morrison Hotel was, upon its release, seen by many as a comeback for the Doors following the critical failure of The Soft Parade and the Miami incident of 1969. Dave Marsh, the editor of Creem magazine, said of the album that it was: “the most horrifying rock and roll I have ever heard. When they’re good, they’re simply unbeatable. I know this is the best record I’ve listened to … so far”, while Rock Magazine called it “without any doubt their ballsiest (and best) album to date”. Circus Magazine praised it as “possibly the best album yet from the Doors” and “Good hard, evil rock, and one of the best albums released this decade”. ~ Wikipedia