The Doors: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine: 1972 (Video Review)

Video Review (9 mins)

The best ‘Doors’ compilation ever and one that did not get a CD release until 2015.

This video review is all about a specific album by The Doors and it is Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine, the compilation album from 1972.

This really was my introduction to the band The Doors. I wasn’t quite old enough to have been there in the ‘1960s or even the early ‘1970s to have taken much notice of them. My only real awareness was singles like Riders of the Storm and LA Woman. As I went through the ‘1970s I became more curious and people mentioned The Doors more. I’d heard Light My Fire, which to be honest I thought just sounded like some ‘1960s crooner warbling on perhaps, something or other. I just didn’t get it at the time. A couple of my friends said, “Well, you should really try and get into The Doors. I think you’d really like them.” I didn’t know where to start and I was in Virgin Records in Corporation Street in Birmingham. I bought this. This double album Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine.

There had been compilations by The Doors before while Jim Morrison was alive, an album called 13, which has never been reissued on CD, the reason being because it only went up to Morrison Hotel so it doesn’t feature any tracks from LA Women. The great thing about the way these things happen is that because that included all the hits like Light My Fire, etc, when they did this compilation they didn’t put a lot of those obvious tracks on, so this makes this a very, very different feel to the songs of The Doors. Is almost really the perfect Doors experience, and it’s never been on CD until literally I think 2015 when the CD version came out. Here it is … Which I’ll talk to you a bit more detail in a moment.

In ‘1973 there was another Doors Best of, which again technically isn’t on CD but it did appear as a DVD on this 2Cd / Blu Ray package, which came out towards the end of 2017. Basically it’s a Blu-ray 4.1 mix, quad mix for you to hear so that’s also recommended.

But the story is really about Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine. As the ‘1980s progressed of course many people were introduced to The Doors by this compilation, which is very well known, as is the picture on the front of Jim Morrison, but still sales of this on vinyl continued and I think that the reason is because the sequencing is just magical. If you look on Amazon.com and look this album up you’ll see it actually has a following, which is why it is so popular,  You always look at compilations and think “Ooh, they’ve missed certain things off,” but this has the key tracks, the darker side of Jim Morrison’s stuff really. It also has a fantastic essay in the middle which really sums up the period.

The great thing about this album is also the artwork, and the rest of The Doors hated it. It came out in ‘1972; they were just trying to get their Full Circle and their albums without Jim off the ground and this basically just knocked ‘them sidewards. But I think the mystery of The Doors and Jim Morrison is captured with this, as are the fact their running order:Break On Through, Strange Days, Shaman’s Blues, Love Street, Peace Frog, The Wasp, End of the Night, Love Her Madly, Spanish Caravan, Ship of Fools, The Spy, and of course The End.

On side three we get Take it as it Comes, Runnin’ Blue, LA Woman, Five to One, Who Scared You, and You Need Meat (Don’t Go No Further). Now, the last two tracks were unique to this album and they weren’t released in any format for decades and they were very rare. In fact, one of them only really made it on CD in 2006 through the major box set that came out. Side four had Riders on the Storm, Maggie McGill, Horse Latitudes, which is probably one of the most strangest and unsettling songs The Doors ever recorded, and When the Music’s Over, which basically captures them in full flight.

The essay, which mirrors this fantastic image probably from the same period as the first album, written by Bruce Harris from 1972. He says here, and I’m not going to read it all here, but there are three essential albums in the magic summer of ‘1967, Sergeant Pepper by the Beatles, Surrealistic Pillow by the Airplane, and The Doors’ self-titled debut album, and in some ways it’s only the rest of these that seem so far away in time as if remember it from another world, another lifetime. It’s weird isn’t it to think that as this guy says this … This is 1972 … That The Doors then sounded like they were from another lifetime. In a way they do even mores o now looking through the lens of 2018, but it’s almost timeless.

Most of the music that The Doors had was eerie, otherworldly, and has a very odd quality to it. It’s distant. It’s awesome and it’s distant and we remember those days. We feel almost as if we’re imagining them. I think that really brings home the way the music of The Doors feels I think for a lot a lot of people. They were a kind of scary band at that time. Either the police were always all over Jim Morrison trying to … I think they were really worried in the late ‘1960s that if there was going to be a revolution this guy was gonna be at the front of it. I think if you look at this album, and I really recommend it if you’re new to The Doors, this is a great place to start.

After The Doors it just wasn’t the same sitting down to dinner with your parents anymore, and really lots of things weren’t the same. I think this is what makes The Doors so special. It says here then “We can turn out the lights now. 1972 will be another year, and the distance will be greater and there will be other things to think about. But the man is still at the door. The killer is still on the road, and the cold grinding grizzly bear jaws grows hotter on our heels in every hour. It’s time to roll.”

An absolutely fantastic album, and as I said, this album has great following, the sequencing is absolutely spot on, and even if you have every album by The Doors I just think this is the best one for your car. It just captures everything. Of course, if you’ve got all the albums you could probably put it together through a playlist or whatever, but I just think this is fantastic.

Full marks to Rhino Records when they did this. They remastered it but they could have easily added an extra 20 minutes of music to each CD. It is the 2CD version. But they didn’t. They’ve kept things exactly as it is. They haven’t added a booklet giving any interpretation to how the album performed. They basically just mirrored the vinyl copy exactly.

Phil Aston

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