RARA-AVIS: Slamming the Doors

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 16 Sep 2003

miker wrote:

>Soul Kitchen, Backdoor Man. Lots of great, fun songs. Some of it
>enchanting, hypnotic, like Light My Fire. Great stuff.

Weren't those all on the first album?

>I remember an artist for their successes, not their failures. Anybody
>that works at it long enough has got a good chance of doing something
>that sucks.

So it's really amazing, then, how Morrison was responsible for so much dribble in such a short time. :-) Maybe it was the drugs.

Anyway, my point was that while I enjoyed much of the Doors' music
(particularly the first album which, even with THE END, still ranks as one of the truly great rock debuts) I always felt that lyrically, and especially once he started truly believing all this poet/shaman bullshit, Morrison produced an awful lot of excrement. Nor do I think many of his lyrics even come close to hard-boiled, except for isolated snippets.

A killer on the road whose brain is squirming like a toad? Toads hop, they don't slither. Ah, but then "snake" doesn't rhyme with "road"...

Anyway, Morrison didn't write BACKDOOR MAN or LIGHT MY FIRE. Or the ALABAMA SONG either.

And Mark, with tongue-in-cheek:

>So Morrison was the James Ellroy of hardboiled music?

More like the Boston Terhane, probably. He displays a similar portentousness as ol' Jimbo. Maybe it's me, but there's something I find off-putting about such earnest and heavy-handed literary pretentiousness: "Look at me, I'm a GREAT WRITER!" It all just seems so self-conscious.

Maybe the little girls understand Howling Wolf, but I think it's mostly frustrated lit majors who "understand" Morrison.

Hard-boiled is an attitude, and I don't think Morrison had that attitude, whereas Zevon and Cash both did. In spades. There was a darkness at the heart of some of their best work that was presented straight up, no chaser. I doubt either of them considered themselves poets, but they were both damn fine writers whose work was (Jim, take note!) tough and colloquial.


Kevin Burton Smith Got game? The Thrilling Detective P.I. Trivia Challenge is waiting. http://www.thrillingdetective.com -- # Plain ASCII text only, please. Anything else won't show up. # To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to # majordomo@icomm.ca. This will not work for the digest version. # The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

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