Elektra / Rhino Vinyl
Originally Released: 1967
This Release: 2015
Mastering: ? (Cut at The Mastering Lab)
Comments: Where to start with this incredible album? I was one of those 17 year-old Jim Morrison devotees around the time that the double album Greatest Hits arrived on the scene, with the iconic B&W cover shot. I fell for the whole poet/god/shaman rubbish but I was also sucked in by the music. Thankfully after the bullshit wore off, the music remained….and I’ve never been “not into” the Doors since. I have vivid memories of a night alone in my late teens, spent drinking several beers and listening to all 6 Doors studio albums back to back. Sounds slightly sad, but it’s a happy memory (and for the record it’s the only time I can remember ever drinking alone). Anyway, this was always my favourite Doors album. Right from the opening Manzarek keyboard notes I always lock in for the album’s entirety. I do love all of their albums (even Soft Parade – ok, maybe love is a bit strong) but there’s something about Strange Days that lifts it above the pack. So many great moments – the sludgy bass guitar sound on the title track; the simple but evocative bassline of Your Lost Little Girl; Robbie Krieger’s tasty guitar licks on Love Me Two Times; the mute nostril agony of Horse Latitudes leading into the pop majesty of Moonlight Drive; the straight ahead rock of My Eyes Have Seen You (I’d love to hear someone like High on Fire do a cover of this); and of course When The Music’s Over with its great intro, fantastic jazzy drumming by John Densmore, and the young, fit, trippy Jim doing his thing.
I started listening to this album on vinyl back in 1987 after picking up one of the 80’s Australian reissues. Until about 5 years ago, that was my one and only copy. I then caught the audiophile flu and before I knew it I had the Rhino 180 gram reissue (a massive improvement on my Aussie pressing), the Doors Perception CD/DVD-Audio box set (worth it for the 5.1 surround mix), a hi-rez vinylrip of the DCC reissue (very nice) and most recently the 2 x 45rpm Analogue Productions reissue (a very slight edge over the Rhino). Then along comes the announcement that a Rhino Vinyl reissue of the original mono mix was being released for Record Store Day. Now, I’m afraid that I no longer get excited about Record Store Day. I love my records, and I’ll keep buying them, and trying as much as possible to buy them from my local record store. I get that it’s a great boost for these stores and they deserve all the business they get. It’s just that I’m not interested in competing for records and unfortunately that’s what it has become – jostling with other people who want the same record as you. Some of these people may be wanting it for the same altruistic reasons as you, i.e. to take it home and listen to the damn thing. Then there’s the others who are only there to make some cash by selling it for an inflated price on some type of website where you can auction and buy things (the name escapes me). These people are known as arseholes. I could go on. I already have.
So I turned up at my local store a few hours after the main event to see what was left, having no idea what goodies they had actually gotten in. I was amazed to see a lone copy of this beauty just sitting there behind a whole bunch of Springsteen reissues. As for the sound of this pressing, I have no other mono copy to compare this to as I’ve never heard it in mono before (originals go for more than I can afford). I can say that it has a nice, tight bottom end (fnaar, fnaar). I think I heard a couple of instances of master tape damage or dropouts – it doesn’t look or sound like it could have been the vinyl – but this was only slightly distracting. This probably isn’t for the casual Doors fan, but if you love this album as much as I do, I’d recommend snagging a copy.
Do you have this pressing? If so, what do you think? Do you have a different pressing? How is it? Please feel free to comment.