AMERICAN LEFT HISTORY: On The 50th Anniversary Of The Summer Of Love, 1967 -Jim Morrison and The Doors- WE WANT THE WORLD AND WE WANT IT NOW! Zack James comment: My oldest brother, Alex, who was in the thick of the Summer of Love along with his corner boys from North Adamsville above all the later Peter Paul Markin who led them out to the Wild West said that the few times that he/they saw The Doors either in Golden Gate Park at free, I repeat, free outdoor concerts or at the Avalon or Fillmore which were a great deal more expensive, say two or three dollars, I repeat two or three dollars that The Doors when they were on, meaning when Jim Morrison was in high dungeon, was in a drug-induced trance and acted the shaman for the audience nobody was better. Having been about a decade behind and having never seen Morrison in high dungeon or as a drug-induced shaman but having listened to various Doors compilations I think for once old Alex was onto something. Listen up. CD REVIEW THE BEST OF THE DOORS, ELECTRA ASYLUM RECORDS, 1985 In my jaded youth I developed an ear for roots music, whether I was conscious of that fact or not. The origin of that interest first centered on the blues, country and city with the likes of Son House , Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James, then early rock and roll, you know the rockabillies and R&B crowd, Elvis, Jerry Lee, Chuck, Roy, Big Joe and Ike, and later, with the folk revival of the early 1960’s, folk music, especially the protest to high heaven sort, Bob Dylan, Dave Von Ronk, Joan Baez, etc. I have often wondered about the source of this interest. I am, and have always been a city boy, and an Eastern city boy at that. Meaning rootless or not meaningfully rooted in any of the niches mentioned above. Nevertheless, over time I have come to appreciate many more forms of roots music than in my youth. Cajun, Tex-Mex, old time dust bowl ballads a la Woody Guthrie, cowboy stuff with the likes of Bob Wills and Milton Brown, Carter Family-etched mountain music and so on. The subject of the following review, Jim Morrison and the Doors, is an example. The Doors are roots music? Well, yes, in the sense that one of the branches of rock and roll derives from early rhythm and blues and in the special case of Jim Morrison, leader of the Doors, the attempt to musically explore the shamanic elements in the Western American Native American culture that drove the beat of many of his trance-like songs like The End. Some of that influence is apparent here in this essentially greatest hits album. More than one rock critic has argued that on their good nights when the dope and booze were flowing, Morrison was in high trance, and they were fired up the Doors were the best rock and roll band ever created. Those critics will get no argument here. What a reviewer with that opinion has to do is determine whether any particular CD captures the Doors at their best. This reviewer advises that if you want to buy only one Doors CD that would be The Best of the Doors. If you want to trace their evolution more broadly, or chronologically, other CDs do an adequate job but they are helter-skelter. This CD edition has, with maybe one or two exceptions, all the stuff rock critics in one hundred years will be dusting off when they want to examine what it was like when men (and women, think Bonnie Raitt, Wanda Jackson, et. al) played rock and roll for keeps. A note on Jim Morrison as an icon of the 1960’s. He was part of the trinity – Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix who lived fast, lived way too fast, and died young. The slogan of the day (or hour)- Drugs, sex, and rock and roll. And we liked that idea however you wanted to mix it up. Then. Their deaths were part of the price we felt we had to pay if we were going to be free. And be creative. Even the most political among us, including this writer, felt those cultural winds blowing across the continent and counted those who espoused this alternative vision as part of the chosen. The righteous headed to the “promise land.” Unfortunately those who believed that we could have a far-reaching positive cultural change via music or “dropping out” without a huge societal political change proved to be wrong long ago. But, these were still our people. Know this as well. Whatever excesses were committed by the generation of ’68, and there were many, were mainly made out of ignorance and foolishness. Our opponents, exemplified by one Richard Milhous Nixon, President of the United States and common criminal, spent every day of their lives as a matter of conscious, deliberate policy raining hell down on the peoples of the world, the minorities in this country, and anyone else who got in their way. Forty years of “cultural wars” in revenge by his protégés, hangers-on and their descendants has been a heavy price to pay for our youthful errors. Enough.