The Doors – L.A. Woman

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  • With two Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides, we guarantee you’ve never heard L. A. Woman sound remotely as good as it does here
  • Dramatically better than most of what we played, this early pressing is huge, lively and rich, with in-the-room vocal presence
  • Our White Hot Stamper of L.A. Woman was the best copy we heard in our recent shootout – it’s got the big Bruce Botnick sound we love
  • If all you know are the various Heavy Vinyl versions, this outstanding copy will show you just what you’ve been missing
  • “The seven-minute title track was a car-cruising classic that celebrated both the glamour and seediness of Los Angeles; the other long cut, the brooding, jazzy ‘Riders on the Storm,’ was the group at its most melodic and ominous.”

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 Amazing Sides Such as These Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • 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 1971
  • 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
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

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.

We Love the Doors

Rock, specifically of the Classic variety, is at the heart of our business. Finding quiet, good sounding pressings of these albums is what we devote most of our resources to, and if we can be indulged a self-compliment, it’s what we do better than anyone else in the business.

But is that really saying much? No one else in the record business does it at all. No record sellers that we are aware of make any effort whatsoever to critically evaluate their records. If they do I sure haven’t seen any evidence of it.

And who can blame them? It’s hard to put together the resources necessary to pull it off. There are a substantial number of steps a record must go through before it finds itself for sale, and that means there are ten copies sitting in the backroom for every one that makes it to the site.

If the goal is to move product, this is a very bad way to go about it.

Then again, we don’t care about moving product. We care about offering our customers the best sounding records ever made. Those two things have turned out to be very much at odds in our experience.

What We’re Listening For on L.A. Woman

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • 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 would put them.
  • 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, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also 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 instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Botnick Is The Man

This album is of course engineered by the legendary Bruce Botnick. The best pressings give you the kind of low-end punch and midrange presence you hear on The Doors’ first and second albums (when you play the right gold label originals). Botnick engineered them all, and those two are hard to beat for recordings from 1966 and 1967, respectively (both, of course, were released in 1967).

All tube from start to finish, the energy captured on these Hot Stampers has to be heard to be believed. Not to mention the fact that the live-in-the-studio musicians are swimming in natural ambience, with instruments leaking from one mic to another, and most of them bouncing back and forth off the studio walls to boot.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

The Changeling
Love Her Madly
Been Down So Long
Cars Hiss by My Window
L.A. Woman

Side Two

L’America
Hyacinth House
Crawling King Snake
The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)
Riders on the Storm

AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review

The final album with Jim Morrison in the lineup is by far their most blues-oriented, and the singer’s poetic ardor is undiminished, though his voice sounds increasingly worn and craggy on some numbers. Actually, some of the straight blues items sound kind of turgid, but that’s more than made up for by several cuts that rate among their finest and most disturbing work.

The seven-minute title track was a car-cruising classic that celebrated both the glamour and seediness of Los Angeles; the other long cut, the brooding, jazzy “Riders on the Storm,” was the group at its most melodic and ominous. It and the far bouncier “Love Her Madly” were hit singles, and “The Changeling” and “L’America” count as some of their better little-heeded album tracks.