Released in 1969, Morrison Hotel was heralded as The Doors big comeback record and boy is it great, especially the guitar work! All of the pomp and extra instruments from the previous album, The Soft Parade and all of the acid-induced weirdness from the first two albums is stripped away and what’s left is a jazzy/blues trio fronted by a psychotic crooner-poet who drank beer for breakfast. (That’s what this record sounds like — beer and tacos!) Not only is the band tight and rollicking, but Robbie Krieger really steps up to provide perfect guitar work to all of the songs. None of these tunes was ever a hit single, but many became classic FM radio staples; the classic rock genre-defining Roadhouse Blues, the funky Peace Frog, the could’ve-only-been- written-in-the-60s Waiting for the Sun and Ship of Fools not to mention the tight rhythm and blues of You Make Me Real and Maggie M’Gill.
Whether playing bluesy bottleneck, funky single line leads, jazzy chords or delicate finger-picked figures, Krieger’s guitar forms the perfect counterpoint to Ray Manzarek’s organ and, on some songs, tack piano (really evident in You Make Me Real) and John Desmore’s measured and understated drumming. And, of course there was always Jim Morrison. Who else could’ve written The Spy or Land Ho! and still be taken seriously? The Doors were joined in the studio by guitar legend Lonnie Mack who plays bass on a few tunes and John Sebastian from the Lovin’ Spoonful, who plays harp (very noticeable on Roadhouse Blues). This is my favorite Doors album and was called their “balliest album” and “horrifying rock” when it was released. After more than forty years, it’s still a great testament to an awesome band and great guitar player.