While Jim Morrison was vacationing in France, Ray Manzarek, John Desmore, and Robbie Krieger began laying down tracks for The Doors next album. Little did they realize at the time that he was not coming back. He was found dead in his apartment bathtub on July 3, 1971. His gravesite in Pere Lachaise Cemetery is one of the leading tourist attractions in Paris.
The remaining members of the group would forge ahead and release Other Voices during the fall of 1972. It would be critically panned at the time but did become a moderate commercial success reaching number 68 on The American album charts.
The album is not all bad, just half bad. It can be divided into two parts. The first four songs range from competent to good while the last four are increasingly poor. The beauty of the original vinyl release is you could listen to side one without ever turning the record over.
“In The Eye Of The Sun” is close to a classic Doors song. It contains excellent lyrics, some creative guitar work by Krieger, and some surprisingly good vocals from Manzarek. “Variety Is The Spice Of Life” has a different beat than the usual Doors material. While Robbie Krieger’s vocals are inoffensive, they make you yearn for Morrison. “Ships With Sails” would have been a good fit for L.A. Woman and is one of the few times the band sings harmony. “Tightrope Ride” is the album’s best track and is one of the better productions of Krieger’s career.
Now for the bad news because there is a flip side to the release. “Down On The Farm” is basically a poorly constructed song. “I’m Horny, I’m Stoned” was a humorous song that ended up laughable. The vocal by Krieger is listless at best. “Wandering Musician” may be an old Doors style song but the quality is not there. “Hang On To Your Life” concludes the album on a dismal note.
The remaining Doors had the unenviable and impossible task of producing an album without the vocal point of the group. Jim Morrison was the key piece of The Doors puzzle, and without him everything just did not come together. There is some acceptable music here but the album pales when compared to any of their six classic studio releases.
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