February 5, 2012 – 4:26 am

RAY MANZAREK R.I.P. 1939-2013

Ray Manzarek, keyboardist and founding member of The Doors, has died. He was 74. Publicist Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald says Manzarek died on May 20, 2013 at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany, surrounded by his family. He had bile duct cancer. Manzarek founded The Doors after meeting then-poet Jim Morrison in California. The Washington Post reported that Manzarek had continued to remain active in music after Morrison¹s death in 1971. Manrazek had briefly tried to hold the band together by serving as vocalist, but eventually the group fell apart. He played in other bands over the years, produced other acts, became an author and worked on films.

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A virgin, unmolested version of An American Poet (later renamed Prayer).


Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Orange County Suite (Document Records DR 019, Italy 1988, 1CD]

1969 sessions plus a live performance from January 1970 in New York. Very good to excellent soundboard stereo. Released in 1988.

When Jim Morrison hired a studio to read his poems, there were no Doors in sight. No bass guitar or piano or lead guitar or drums to highlight his words or create an atmosphere. Just Jim and his words, sometimes in a monotone, at other times adding a thrill here and a melody there. Finally, Jim’s An American Poet reached a larger audience during the first wave of CD bootlegs out of Europe. This was the way it was recorded in March 1969 before it was released 10 years later in 1978 as An American Prayer with input by the Doors. This is the original version as recorded by Morrison.

You can read why Doors producer Paul Rothchild called the release version “the rape of Jim Morrison” here.

The other great discovery on this bootleg is the lengthy 21-minute Rock Is Dead edited down from an hour-long session on Feb 25, 1969 during the sessions for The Soft Parade. This version with Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor, a slow classical movement for strings and piano, tagged at the end was finally released in the 1997 4CD The Doors Box Set, so you can buy a copy.

When this bootleg was released back in 1988, it was a great revelation. It was probably Rothchild who edited the hour long session to 21 minutes and added the classical movement, generally associated with war and destruction, to enhance the gloomy atmosphere.

Taken from our archive copy of the silver-disc bootleg.
- Professor Red

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The following review was printed in BigO #70 (October 1991).

With the exception of the last track, the rest are studio takes of a session or sessions that the Doors never completed and, worse still, want to have little to do with. When Elektra were looking for new Doors material, they did compile An American Prayer which took a lot of Jim Morrison poetry readings with new Doors music added. It made Morrison’s poetry more accessible.

On Orange County Suite, just three of the poems are featured minus any music. It is clear that Morrison took his poetry seriously and surely would not have wanted it commercialised with background music. The most fascinating discovery though is the 21-minute rock opera, Rock Is Dead. There has been no mention of this incredible track in any of the various Doors’ books. It is a blues song with Morrison rambling on about how rock is dead if the blues is dead.

This was recorded shortly after his Miami bust where he was arrested for indecent exposure. His mind in turmoil, all Morrison saw was the corrupting element of pop music taking away the power of the blues. What sounds like Chopin’s Funeral March gets to fill the closing minutes of the song. Because of the length of the song, and some audible cuts, it’s quite possible that some bootlegger’s initiative was used to put this song together.

Whatever the case, Morrison’s performance is captivating. Rock Is Dead, like The End, is a powerful display of how the blues could have been had the shaman survived. Unfortunately, like Morrison’s life, Rock Is Dead came to a deadend conclusion. - Michael Cheah

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Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (sample rate of 224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

01. Bird Of Prey - Omitted +
02. Rock Is Dead - Omitted #
Track 03. An American Poet 24:33m (39.4MB)
Track 04. Orange County Suite 1:42m (2.8MB)
05. The Soft Parade/Light My Fire - Omitted *

1, 3, 4 Jim’s first poetry session, March 1969, LA
2 Recording session for The Soft Parade, early 1969
6 Felt Forum, Jan. 18th, 1970. Late Show

+ Bird Of Prey was finally given an official release in 1995 in the revised version of Jim Morrison’s An American Prayer.
# Released in 1997 on The Doors Box Set.
* Soft Parade/ Light My Fire is also found on the official release 6CD set Live In New York, released in 2009.

This is the best compilation of Doors rarities, the 4CD Doors Boxset. Buy it here.

The Doors finally decided to release Jim’s 1969 poetry sessions as An American Prayer in 1978. It was given a makeover and reissued on CD in 1995. Buy it here.

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  1. 7 Responses to “SOME MORE DOORS”

  2. Thanks for these last two Doors releases.

    By Tom on Feb 5, 2012

  3. I had Rock is Dead on Vinyl back in the 80’s. loved it then, love it now. I still think the official albums were not as good as the bootlegs which highlighted the energy and power of the live sessions. Thanks Bigo.

    By Creatist on Feb 5, 2012

  4. Dear BigO,
    The Soft Parade is not on Live in New York and while it is on the 1997 Box Set it is not followed by Light My Fire. Was this version released somewhere I haven’t looked?

    I guess I could have contacted you by email but thought I’d try this first. And thank you for these rare Doors tracks.

    By Sking on Feb 7, 2012

  5. Hi Sking

    The bootleg labelled the track as The Soft Parade/ Light My Fire. On the official release Live In New York, the same track can be found on
    Disc 6 (January 18, 1970, Show 4). Here, it is divided into three tracks as follows:

    Tk 2 (For Fear Of Getting Too Patriotic)
    Tk 3 (Petition The Lord With Prayer)
    Tk 4 Light My Fire

    It’s a great performance and Live In New York is an excellent archival release from the Doors.

    By Admin on Feb 7, 2012

  6. Thanks Bigo. That answers the question. The boot got it wrong. They labeled the two(2 min.) tracks before Light My Fire as The Soft Parade. Probably because of Petition the Lord With Prayer which begins Soft Parade on the studio album. In the booklet to the box set Ray states that the live version of Soft Parade from the PBS studio in New York was the only time the song was recorded live. He did not say it was never again played live however, so I thought just maybe we had something here.
    Thanks again for the quick response.

    By Sking on Feb 8, 2012

  7. Any chance you can post Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young @ Royal Albert Hall, 1970

    By kjs on Feb 17, 2012

  8. Lucky I have the full tapes from Jim’s poetry sessions or I would be really bummed. This would be a much better listen/find/recording if over half of it wasn’t omitted. Thanks for the nobel effort though Big O! I still love you guys….
    Rev. Bob sez…
    Awlays be excellent to each other and enjoy the show!

    By Rev Bob on May 23, 2013

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