In 1971 Ray Manzarek, Robby Kreiger, & John Densmore decided to soldier on without Jim Morrison.
Wait, the Doors without Jim Morrison?! That does not compute, doesn't make sense by any stretch of the imagination.
But at the same time Morrison was constantly trying to shift focus away from himself to his bandmates. There are group photos where, while he is front and center, he's kind of cowering lower to try to put the focus on Kreiger, Densmore, and Manzarek. So something tells me, on some level, this is a decision that Morrison might have smiled down on.
I have to give credit where it's due. The music is actually pretty damned good and the three remaining Doors did right by Morrison by not trying to replace him, they merely continued on without him-- Kreiger and Manzarek taking on the vocal duties in the Lizard King's absence.
Manzarek was no stranger to singing for the Doors as he was known to sing lead for them on many ocassions when Jim was still alive but too inebriated or incapacitated to perform. Rather than cancel or reschedule, often times the Doors would perform with Manzarek handling the vocals.
But Manzarek is no Morrison, nor for that matter is Robby Kreiger. It took some serious stones to soldier on without Mojo Risin' but as a tribute to Morrison perhaps they should have changed their name.
In order to listen to this album objectively it's best to forget it's a Doors album. Close your eyes and listen to it for its own sake. The music IS good and good music should be enjoyed without prejudice. The keyboard/organ playing is trademark Manzarek, the drums are still John Densmore, and the guitar is still good ol' Robby Kreiger.
When a person goes blind or deaf his or her other senses tend to grow stronger to compensate for the loss of that sense. As a trio the Doors play even tighter than as a quartet. It's almost as if Morrison's passing brought the remaining three members of the band that much closer together.
Even if deep down inside I can't bring myself to refer to Other Voices as a true Doors album, I also can't deny that it's thirty-nine plus minutes of damned good music. I just wish that Densmore, Manzarek, and Kreiger had made a fresh start and recorded under a new band name. They and their music deserves to be appreciated free from the ghosts and constraints of their past. Retaining "The Doors" moniker severely handicapped the album's potential success before the first note was even recorded.
The Doors (official site)
The Doors (wikipedia)
Ray Manzarek (official site)
Ray Manzarek (wikipedia)
Robby Kreiger (official site)
Robby Kreiger (wikipedia)
John Densmore (official site)
John Densmore (wikipedia)