Personnel: Jim Morrison (vocals); Robby Krieger (guitar); G. Puglese (harp); Ray Manzarek (piano, organ); John Densmore (drums).
Audio Mixer: Bruce Botnick.
Liner Note Author: David Fricke.
Recording information: 11/04/1969/11/05/1969.
Introduction by: Bruce Botnick.
Photographer: Henry Diltz.
Feted first as underground heroes, then reviled as teeny-bop stars, the Doors threw off such conundrums with this magnificent release. MORRISON HOTEL reaffirmed their blues roots, stripping away some of the psychedelia of their early releases and the orchestral ambitions that weighted albums like THE SOFT PARADE. The opener, the powerful "Roadhouse Blues," is a case in point. Based on a classic blues riff, structure, and theme ("Let it roll, baby, roll/All night long"), the song is elemental and hard driving.
The album then unfolds through a succession of songs showcasing all the group members' considerable strengths. Distinctively tight instrumental playing underscores memorable material, while Jim Morrison's authoritative vocals range from the demonstrative ("Maggie McGill") to the evocative and melancholic ("The Spy"). Though the band harks back to their tingling '60s sound on "Waiting for the Sun" and "Queen of the Highway," the album's best moments, like the politically minded boogie "Peace Frog," wed edgy rock to the band's highbrow vision. MORRISON HOTEL returned the band to critical favor, and was, overall, their strongest effort since STRANGE DAYS.
Down Beat (p.69) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[With] potent blues-rock...and Morrison's vocals still compellingly and haunting authoritative, the grip is relaxed..."