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Old 06-23-2010, 02:00 AM   #171 (permalink)
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The Doors - Strange Days
(1967)



Tracks

1 Strange Days 3:09
2 You're Lost Little Girl 3:03
3 Love Me Two Times 3:16
4 Unhappy Girl 2:00
5 Horse Latitudes 1:35
6 Moonlight Drive 3:03
7 People Are Strange 2:12
8 My Eyes Have Seen You 2:29
9 I Can't See Your Face in My Mind 3:26
10 When the Music's Over 10:59



After launching themselves onto the world with their self titled debut in January 1967, Los Angeles’ very own The Doors were back in the studio in February of that year trying to create another marvellous impression on the West Coast scene. Previous to 1967, The Doors had spent a good couple of years homing their style and creating a serious amount of original material. This material in some ways was cherry picked for their debut as you might have expected, but despite this there was still enough for The Doors and Producer Paul A Rothchild to get their teeth stuck into for their second LP release.

Recorded once again at The Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood and released in September 1967 on Elektra, Strange Days is the second studio release by The Doors, and what a brilliant piece of work it is. Like with the debut, the reception given to this second outing only went towards enhancing the already high perceptions of this band, with yet another flawless piece of Psychedelic Blues infused Rock being issued with The Doors’ name on. It was not a massive seller back in the day, but did have two decent selling singles from it and did make the top three in the US album charts.



What better place to start than at the beginning, the opening track of any album often sets the standard for what is to follow with the rest of the record, and with Strange Days the song as the opener to this album, it certainly does not disappoint. The whole song manages to fit in every element of the album in just over three minutes, its incredibly trippy and spooky at points, but has an unmistakable Doorsesque heavy element to it combining with Jim Morrison’s pornish vocal style with splendid results.

There were two singles released from this album, the first of these was the opener to side two which was released around the same time as the album. Entitled People Are Strange, it peaked in the US at number 12, and justifiable so, it is by far the popiest song on the album but still remains firmly within the boundaries of Strange Days, its not too far out there mind and is quite charming in its own little way.

A follow up and final Strange Days single was released in November ’67. Called Love Me Two Times, the single reached the dizzy heights of position number 25 in America on release, but on this album it can be found on track number three. This song just so happens to be one of my favourite Doors’ songs ever, its incredibly bluesy and foot tappingly good, with Ray Manzarek giving a tremendous performance on the Clavinet.

The B-Side to Love Me Two Times was a song which also can be found on Strange Days at track number six, entitled Moonlight Drive, this song is said to be one of the first songs Jim Morrison ever put lyrics to. There are only a couple of things I can say about this song without gushing uncontrollable, it has a slide guitar and the lyrics are borderline, job done! Other highlights on the album include Unhappy Girl, My Eyes Have Seen You and the belting Your Lost Little Girl

We should probably end this review in the manner that the album ends too. The final song is a glorious creation going by the name of When The Music Is Over. Now at 11 minutes, granted we are dealing with attention levels throughout, but I think this song is enthralling from start to finish, certainly a song to play late in the evenings with the lava light on.



The Doors with this release only proved to the world that they were indeed a marvellous and wonderful band. Managing to merge sleaze and Psychedelia so gloriously, safe to say that Strange Days was an impeccable follow up to their self titled debut, and despite being a dish of just plain old leftovers from that previous release, here The Doors and Paul A Rothchild combine to make an album which is a strong contender for their best of the lot.
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:13 PM   #172 (permalink)
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Out of all the Doors albums, Strange Days is the one I've revisited the most frequently over the years. It's amazing that Strange Days came out a mere 9 months after their self titled debut, which was an equally strong album. I like Strange Days better because the Doors show a marked improvement on their musicianship, particularly Robbie Kreiger who has developed highly original and erotic sounding guitar style which can be heard on Moonlight Drive, Can't See Your Face In My Mind, & Love Me Two Times. Jim's crooning numbers like You're Lost Little Girl & I Can't See Your Face In My Mind almost top Sinatra for vocal phrasing and intimacy.

I always thought 1967 was the year of the psychedelic zeitgeist and by sheer coincidence four different rock groups had "twofers" in 1967.

The Doors- The Doors (Jan 67) & Strange Days (Sept 67)
Jefferson Airplane- Surrealistic Pillow (Feb 67) & After Bathing At Baxters (Dec. 67)
Love- Da Capo (March 67) & Forever Changes (Sept. 67)*
Jimi Hendrix- Are You Experienced (Aug 67) & Axis Bold As Love (Dec 67)

Nearly everything you need to know about psychedelic music was released by those 4 bands on 8 albums that were recorded over the 12 month span of the year 1967. Notice that the two Hendrix albums were released within 4 months of each other. In this day an age you're lucky if a band releases an album every one or two years.

In that same year, the Beatles released both Sgt. Pepper's and Magical Mystery Tour but both those albums got played to death on underground radio and weren't nearly as good as the eight albums by the quartet of groups I've mentioned above.

*The release dates on the Love albums are guesses based on my own memory but I do know both albums were released in 67.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:19 AM   #173 (permalink)
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Really enjoying reading you, guys. Great job!
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:56 AM   #174 (permalink)
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Kevin Ayers - Joy of a Toy
(1969)



Tracks

1. Joy of a Toy Continued 2:54
2. Town Feeling 4:54
3. The Clarietta Rag 3:20
4. Girl on a Swing 2:49
5. Song for Insane Times 4:00
6. Stop This Train (Again Doing It) 6:05
7. Eleanor's Cake (Which Ate Her) 2:53
8. The Lady Rachel 5:17
9. Oleh Oleh Bandu Bandong 5:35
10. All This Crazy Gift of Time 3:57



Born in Herne Bay in Kent, Kevin Ayers was the bassist and founder member of cult British psychedelic act, The Soft Machine. As a band they were the main focus of the Canterbury scene, a scene which helped forge the path for progressive rock into the seventies. Like so many other out there bands of the late sixties in south east England, they called The UFO Club their home.

Following the release of the band’s self titled debut album and following a support act tour of the US with Jimi Hendrix in 68, The Soft Machine and Ayers parted ways; the departure was actually quite amicable as it goes, Ayers gave his bass to Noel Redding and retreated to the Spanish island of Ibiza to relax and to contemplate. But it was not long before Ayers was back at it again, penning song after song.

What Ayers began to dream up on Ibiza in early 1969 were the songs that would make up his debut solo album, Joy of a Toy. Recording for his debut began in June 69 down at Abbey Road with the album released in November. Ayers was now signed to a fledgling label called Harvest, and in many ways this debut album from Ayers would become the blueprint for all future releases on this very influential label.

Joy of a Toy by Kevin Ayers is littered with folk elements, the avant-garde and the beautiful. Backed by members of The Soft Machine and Syd Barrett on a couple of the songs, Ayers’ ability to command songs with his deep and elegant voice whilst creating a backdrop of sheer delight and eeriness makes this album extremely wonderful.

If I was to pick out some of the highlights on this album, I would have to start with Town Feeling, which has a tremendous classical arrangement underneath. With The Clarietta Rag, Ayers presents a bit of trippy pop, argueably the most upbeat song on the album, it will make any IPod playlist feel a little more complete in my humble opinion. With Song for Insane Times, we see a little bit of Jazz coming into the fray, with perhaps one of the more modern sounding songs from the 1960’s being created, its certainly very smooth and very elegant indeed. And with The Lady Rachel we have a song with a very sinister edge, completing off all the range of emotions and vibes this albums radiates from start to finish.



Joy of a Toy is a lot more accessible than much of The Soft Machine’s output ever was and that actually leads me to the ultimate Ayers question of what if? One could draw many comparisons to the music of The Soft Machine with that of The Velvet Underground. If I was to continue this comparison for one moment, I would say that Joy of a Toy is The Velvet Underground LP, and potentially the gateway to the great many delights that are available on the first two albums. But then again you do have to ask another question, would Ayers have written such a marvellous album if he was still in a UFO kinda mood? That is probably the question Cellar Dwellers that we'll never get answered.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:10 PM   #175 (permalink)
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lol
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