This is an album that's simply a delight and a great way to get re-aquainted with the music of The Doors – performed with affection, a sense of fun, and a cornucopia of A-list classic rock superstars.
Light My Fire – A Classic Rock Salute to The Doors
16 tracks / 76:09
Light My Fire – A Classic Rock Salute to The Doors is an absolute delight for fans of The Doors but also for anyone who grew up in or simply loves the Classic Rock era. Here we have a CD that not only offers sixteen of the best songs by the iconic band but really fine versions done by rock legends.
Where do we start? Randomly: Leslie West (Mountain), Lou Gramm (Foreigner), Rick Wakeman (Yes), Steve Howe (Yes), Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), Mark Farner (Grand Funk), Thijs van Leer (Focus), Steve Cropper (Booker T. & The M.G.s), Jeff Skunk Baxter (Steely Dan), Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge), Mick Box (Uriah Heep), Patrick Moraz (Moody Blues), Zoot Horn Rollo (Captain Beefheart's Magic Band), Edgar Winter, Larry Coryell, Brian Auger, Keith Emerson, David Johansen, Steve Morse,, Todd Rundgren... the list, believe it or not, goes on! Of course there are various combinations of artists on different songs and the artists only appear on 'their' particular track. The amazing thing is – nobody runs away with the songs. From "Light My Fire" to "L.A. Woman," the songs retain their integrity while being infused with new life by these superstar combinations.
Of course, The Doors never had a bass player as part of the band but ironically, Light My Fire – A Classic Rock Salute to The Doors does indeed have 'a bass player.' Billy Sherwood's fine, expressive bass lines and production (his bass is heard on all songs but one) brings a unity to the sound of the album and keeps it from being sonically scattered.
The influence and uniqueness of Jim Morrison's vocal phrasing and timbre shines through on many of the songs, especially Survivor's Jimi Jamison on "L.A. Woman," and Rainbow's Joe Lynn Turner on "Riders of The Storm," at times sounding eerily like the original vocalist. On the other hand, Edgar Winter sounds appropriately other-worldly on "The Crystal Ship," although, unfortunately, his considerable instrumental talents aren't used on the project.
"People Are Strange" gets a grand piano-heavy instrumental prelude by Keith Emerson with Baxter on acoustic guitar and Joel Druckman on acoustic upright bass.The intriguing four minute piece leads to the song proper, with David Johansen fronting a bizarre music-hall nightmare version of the song. It all works, but this is as far as the project ever deviates from the original.
Leslie West gets the most appropriate 'casting' on a powerhouse version of "Roadhouse Blues," delivered with all of the gusto and fire you'd expect from the great former Mountain guitarist. West's vocals (much improved since quitting certain vices) are strong and his slide guitar work is perfect for the song, which could easily become part of his own repertoire.
Listening to Light My Fire – A Classic Rock Salute to The Doors makes you realize that The Doors had more hits than you thought, and that – for all of Morrison's pseudo-mysticism and poet-recluse image, he certainly knew how to knock out successful pop hits. The stylistic variety of The Doors output is stunning, from "Roadhouse Blues" and the equally blues-based "Love Me Two Times," to the surf-space sound of "Riders On The Storm," the bright, horn-heavy one-two punch of "Touch Me," the absurdest psycho-soul of "The Soft Parade," the commercial brilliance of the almost-comic "Hello, I Love You," the romanticism of "Spanish Caravan, the comic "Alabama Song ," the hypnotic, trance-like "The End"...there's a lot more variety than you might expect.
At the end of the 76 or so minutes you might ask yourself whether or not Morrison was having a laugh behind that serious, mysterious persona. After all, anyone who wrote lyrics like, "Peppermint, miniskirts, chocolate candy / Champion sax and a girl named Sandy / There's only four ways to get unraveled / One is to sleep and the other is travel," couldn't have been totally serious ...? Whatever – this is an album that's simply a delight and a great way to get re-aquainted with the music of The Doors – performed with affection, a sense of fun, and classic rock chops.