The Doors – An American Prayer – 1978 – Elektra / Asylum

The Doors - An American Prayer - 1978 - Elektra / Asylum

Back in the early 90s I spent forever trying to find a copy of this record. These days it’s easy to buy on CD but back then it was an effort to find it at all on tape, vinyl or whatever. It took me about 3 years to track down a copy. I’m glad I did. I bought mine from Ashwoods for $4. Ashwoods was an amazing store. The shop first opened in 1932. I had heard that their name derived from a contraction of Ashfield and Burwood. It used to be situated between the two suburbs apparently. The location where most people remember it from was near Central Station on Pitt Street. I used to go there at least once but often twice a week. Sometimes I’d look through every record in the store which was a huge undertaking. Nothing was in much order and there were thousands and thousands of records. There was a second story too with more records. It would take hours to look through everything. I had a real gold miner mentality back then. Anyway, back to an American Prayer. 3 years of searching paid off. I love this record. I got one that had the fold out cover with lyrics and pictures. Apparently they’re worth quite a bit now. I wouldn’t know and I’m not planning to sell it so it doesn’t make any difference to me. It is the last album that the Doors made and it consisted of Jim Morrison reading his poetry, stories and dialogue and the rest of the band playing music over the top of that. Jim’s bit was recorded back in 1969 and 1970. The rest of the Doors recorded music for it in 1978. It works beautifully. I love the cinematic feel of it. It’s like you’re watching a movie and it’s a much better film than Oliver Stone’s biopic of the band (and I’m not trying to put down the film with this statement). It captures a fleeting impression of Jim albiet through the masks of various characters. It’s a record that divides people though. Some really dislike it. Apparently Morrison had planned to have film composer Lalo Schifrin provide music for his recordings. That could have been really great. I have a bootleg on tape of just Jim reading from the same recording sessions. It is interesting to hear and it works quite well without music over the speaking. That bootleg also includes Jim playing piano and singing Orange County Suite which later had overdubs done by the remaining Doors and was released as a bonus track on a re-issue of L.A. Woman. It would have been interesting to see what Jim Morrison would have done had he lived longer. But that is a question that always lingers when an artist dies young.

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