TO THE MAX (UPDATE)
Warner U.K. chief thinking globally (3/27a)
ACM boss talks Nashville (3/27a)
SONG REVENUE CHART: CASH MONEY FROM THE CELESTIAL JUKEBOX
Can you say "cha-ching?" (3/24a)
STREAMING SONGS: UNIVERSALLY DOMINANT
75% marketshare ... that's good, right? (3/24a)
“Come on and dance, somebody—let’s go,” commands Jim Morrison during the opening strains of “Baby, Please Don’t Go,” one of several blues workouts on The Doors London Fog 1966, the fan-servicing dream of a new package from Rhino. It’s startling, frankly, when the jam ends to a smattering of lukewarm applause, as though it were a soundcheck. But the L.A. band was still months away from its injection into the pop mainstream—at which point The Doors’ swirling saturnalia of sex, poetry, revolt and hallucinatory revelation would conquer the charts and fill much larger venues with writhing, screaming acolytes.
For now, they were a hard-working blues-rock combo paying dues in local dives—of which London Fog was among the skeeviest. But Whisky-a-Go-Go booker Ronnie Haran Mellen, whose reminiscence appears in the booklet for the CD in this set, saw them there, and the rest is history.
In addition to the aforementioned CD, the gig in question is presented on 10-inch vinyl in a treasure box with photos and clever keepsakes (like a rumpled repro of the setlist, a London Fog drink coaster with Pamela Courson’s smeared-out phone number on the back, a UCLA film-school program and more). The seven-song set is all covers except for “You Make Me Real” and “Strange Days,” as old blues tunes were more likely to motivate the ragged, beer-besotted attendees.
Though the sparse crowd isn’t quite hip to what it’s witnessing, the band’s signature sound is in full effect: Ray Manzarek’s inimitable organ tones, which now sound like the very signature of night; Robby Krieger’s slicing, Delta-driven guitar lines; John Densmore’s urgent, Latin-accented grooves; and of course Morrison’s galvanizing, throaty vocals. It’s a gimpse into the moment before The Doors exploded—not to mention a larky triumph of creative packaging—and will undoubtedly gladden the hearts of many a rock aficionado over the holidays.