Simply put The Doors got back down to business and went back to basics. Make no mistake, Morrison Hotel was not a regression, if anything it was a quick step back to take a giant leap forward. “Roadhouse Blues” set the tone with its marching riff, bar room piano line, its vivacious horns and Robby Krieger’s free wheeling rock-a-billy solo, which saw the guitarist going head to head with a metronomic blast of stabbing piano.
Not to be out done Morrison appeared inspired as if he was channelling the energy of his band mates as he cried “Let It Roll Baby, Roll”. Of course he still found room to be eerily prophetic as the track’s final line declared; “I Woke Up This Morning, I Got Myself A Beer; The Future’s Uncertain And The End Is Always Near”.
This raw sprawling blues suited Morrison’s rapidly deteriorating voice adding a real sense of desperation to The Doors’ work. As a band they were still getting used to featuring a bass player and Morrison Hotel saw them call upon blues legend Lonnie Mack whose creeping lines merged perfectly with Krieger’s raw but ever improving guitar work and Ray Mazaneks ominous keys.
As tends to be the case with forgotten classics there is always that one track which should have been a number one single and Morrison Hotel is no exception. “Peace Frog” is quite possibly the best track The Doors ever wrote. Built on a scratchy riff and an uneasy burst of electric piano, “Peace Frog” sees Morrison unleash a snarling encapsulation of the violence of the age, before dropping into the dreamy “Blue Sunday”.
Morrison Hotel then enters what is often viewed as its pretentious half, which despite some major miss fires (“Maggie M’Gill”) features the implausibly enjoyable “Land Ho!” and insalubriously sexy “Queen Of The Highway”.
Music history has defined Morrison Hotel as the moment The Doors got back to being a loose rock band; however this couldn’t be any further from the truth. The organic blues of Morrison Hotel was actually the product of the meticulous perfectionism of producer Paul Rothchild. The deluxe edition of Morrison Hotel reveals a driven producer forcing a drunken, rambling Morrison to repeat tracks over and over and over again.