Generally, I’m not a fan of tribute albums. Far from it. Tribute albums are nothing new. They’ve been around since the fifties. Often, they’re well intended, but end up with what can be best described as a list of the usual suspects trying to kickstart their failing careers. Then there’s a new phenomena.

For the initiated, this is the dreaded smooth jazz tribute album. This is a worrying development. It means smooth jazz, the devil’s music, is still alive. Like a lot of people, I thought smooth jazz was no more. We thought smooth jazz had long breathed its last. Sadly, that’s not the case. Smooth jazz seemingly, is back. Worryingly, smooth jazz seemingly, want to pay tribute to everyone from Barry White, Bryan Ferry and Pink Floyd. That’s just the thin end of the wedge. There’s even tributes to Midnight Star, Frankie Beverley and The Whispers. How have I lived without these albums?

Happily is the answer. These albums are best described as crimes against music and humanity in general. Indeed, I fully expect arrests to be imminent and there to be a trial at The Hague. These smooth jazz tribute albums will certainly not find their way into my collection. However, one tribute album has found its way into my collection recently, A Psych Tribute To The Doors.

A Psych Tribute To The Doors was recently released by Cleopatra Records. It features thirteen Doors’ classics. This includes L.A. Woman, Hello, I Love You, People Are Strange, Riders On the Storm, Light My Fire, Roadhouse Blues and The End. These tracks are given a makeover by everyone from Elephant Stone, The Black Angels, Sons of Hippies, Dead Skeletons, VietNam and Geri X. The idea is simplicity in itself and results in what’s results in one of the best tribute albums money can buy. You’ll realise that once I’ve picked the highlights of A Psych Tribute To The Doors.

Opening A Psych Tribute To The Doors is a stonewall Doors classic L.A. Woman. Elephant Stone cover what was the title track to The Doors fifth album. Released in April 1971, L.A. Woman reached number nine in the US Billboard 200 and was certified double platinum. It’s a poignant album, as it was the last album to feature Jim Morrison. Here, Elephant Stone pay homage to The Lizard King. They transform the track. Everything from a sitar, searing guitars and a probing bass combine to create the backdrop for by Rishi Dhir’s vocal. It’s buried in echo, giving the arrangement a spacey, lysergic and psychedelic sound. Although very different to the original, it’s a new take on a true classic and is a tantalising taste of what Elephant Stone are capable of.

The beauty of an album like A Psych Tribute To The Doors is that for many people, they’ll hear bands they’ve never heard before. This includes The Black Angel, who were founded in 2004 and have released four albums. They cover Soul Kitchen, which features on The Doors’ eponymous debut album. Released in January 1967, it reached number two in the US Billboard 200 and was certified platinum four times over. Here, The Black Angel recapture the spirit of The Doors. Their fusion of psychedelia and rock has an authentic sixties sound. So much so, it’s like being transported back to January 1967.

One of my favourite Doors’ tracks is Hello, I Love You. It’s from their third album Waiting For The Sun. It was released in July 1968, reaching number one in the US Billboard 200 and was certified platinum. The Dark Horses toy with Hello, I Love You. As a result, the arrangement has a dramatic, druggy sound. That’s before this glorious melange of psychedelia, garage and rock shows its secrets. Layers of music unfold. Guitars scream, the bass buzzes and the vocal is moody. The result is easily one of the highlights of A Psych Tribute To The Doors.

People Are Strange is a track from The Doors sophomore album Strange Days. It was released in September 1967. Reaching number three in the US Billboard 200, resulted in the album being certified platinum. Camera transform the song into an instrumental. The arrangement is driven along by the rhythm section and blistering guitars. Add to this bubbling synths and People Are Strange takes on a rocky, psychedelic sound. It’s a new take on a stonewall classic.

Sons of Hippies covered The Soft Parade, the title-track to The Doors’ fourth album. Released in July 1969, it reached number six in the US Billboard 200 and was certified platinum. Slow, moody, lysergic and cinematic describes the Sons of Hippies take on The Soft Parade. It’s a mini-masterpiece where the original is transformed into something even The Doors couldn’t have envisaged.

Not many bands have debut album features one of the most recognisable tracks in musical history. The Doors 1967 eponymous debut did. It featured Riders On the Storm. That’s one reason why The Doors sold over four million copies in America alone. Wall of Death cover Riders On the Storm. They’ve a tough act to follow. After all, The Doors lead by The Lizard King, recorded the definitive version. Here, Wall of Death create an understated, almost jazz-tinged arrangement. Soon, it’s like the doors of perception have been opened and the psychedelic influence shines through. After that, the track veers between understated, to a glorious slice of sixties psychedelia. Key to the track’s success is the gothic organ and vocal, which is Morrison-esque.

Roundhouse Blues featured on Morrison Hotel, The Doors fifth album. It was released in February 1970, reaching number four in the US Billboard 200 and was certified platinum. Here, Vietnam unleash a blistering version of Roundhouse Blues. It’s a mass of searing guitars, bubbling bass and thundering drums. Then there’s a throaty vocal. It’s perfect for the track. So, is the arrangement, where psychedelia, garage, rock and even free jazz combine head on. This results in a raucous version of Roundhouse Blues that even Jim Morrison would approve of.

Fittingly, The Raveonettes’ cover of The End closes A Psych Tribute To The Doors. The End is another track from The Doors eponymous debut album. As debut albums go, The Doors was one of the best ever. No ifs, no buts. It surpasses both The Beatles and Rolling Stones’ debut albums. Here, The Raveonettes deliver a melancholy version of The End. Driven along by guitars, while the whispery, moody vocal adds to what’s an atmospheric and wistful version of a quite beautiful and moving psychedelic classic.

It wasn’t easy choosing just a few of the thirteen tracks from A Psych Tribute To The Doors. In all honesty, I could’ve chosen any of the thirteen tracks. In The End, I only chose eight of what I regard as the highlights of A Psych Tribute To The Doors. However, in reality, I could’ve chosen any of the thirteen tracks. That’s how good the music on A Psych Tribute To The Door is. These covers are from the latest generation of psychedelic bands.

The thirteen bands on A Psych Tribute To The Doors, are flying the flag for psychedelia, a musical genre which never goes out of fashion. The bands on A Psych Tribute To The Doors are some of the most talented of the new generation of psychedelic bands. Elephant Stone, Black Angel, The Dark Horses, Camera, Sons Of Hippies, Vietnam and The Raveonettes are all bands that are among today’s top psychedelic bands. Some of them sound as if they’re psychedelic veterans. Their music brings back memories of classic psychedelia. Other bands, fuse psychedelia with rock, jazz and prog rock. It’s a truly potent and lysergic combination. Each track has one thing in common, quality.

Each of the bands that feature on A Psych Tribute To The Doors are determined to pay homage to The Doors. They realise The Doors were one of the most important, influential and innovative groups in musical history. Sadly, that’s often overlooked. Instead, The Beatles and Rolling Stones receive all the plaudits. Sometimes, that’s unfair. Especially when you compare debut albums.

The Doors eponymous debut albums is much more innovative and important musically as The Beatles and Rolling Stones debut albums. Please Please Me was a mixture of cover versions and three chord pop. As for The Rolling Stones, it was an album of blues cover versions. Obviously, back then, in 1963 and 1964, both albums were groundbreaking. Nothing like this had been released before. However, three years later, when The Doors was released, it was an innovative, groundbreaking classic. The Doors deserves to be spoken about alongside the greatest albums of all time. After all, The Doors were one of the most important, innovative, influential and successful groups in musical history. That’s why A Psych Tribute To The Doors was released.

As tribute albums go, A Psych Tribute To The Doors is the best tribute album money can by. A Psych Tribute To The Doors features thirteen hugely talented groups, paying homage to one of the greatest groups in musical history, The Doors. It’s the perfect introduction to these groups and a reminder of how important, innovative and influential The Doors were. The Doors’ music is truly timeless, even forty-seven years after the released of The Doors. Since then, The Doors’ genius has been recognised and celebrated. A Psych Tribute To The Doors is just the latest celebration of The Doors musical legacy. Indeed, A Psych Tribute To The Doors is
a fitting and poignant homage to The Doors and The Lizard King.


The Doors

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