Monday, May 19, 2014

Ray Manzarek - The Golden Scarab (1973)

Shortly after The Doors released their whimsy 1972 album Full Cirlce, the band split apart and went their separate career ways. Krieger and Densmore went to join I believe the Butts Band, while Manzarek went his different ways. He debuted with this, then followed it with The Whole Thing Started with Rock & Roll Now It's Out of Control and went to form a new band, Nite City, and finally record his last solo album for then, 1983's Carmina Burana, then onto other collaborations with different artists. This debut and the others have been unfortunately ignored in post-Doors history with the members, in my opinion.
The album begins with an obvious latin percussion-influenced track, He Can't Come Today, first starting with what seems a little childish drum melody but then progresses and evolves throughout the song. The song ends, and next comes what could possibly be my favorite track from the album.

Solar Boat starts as a soft slightly mellow possible fender...riff, to say. Then it turns into a classic Manzarek jazzy progression and instrumentation. The lyrics are well-written with references to earlier Doors songs and philosophers, possibly in memory of Jim Morrison.
The song slowly fades into a poem at the end, and the rougher third track Downbound Train starts, a heavy slightly jazz song, then the song ends and turns into another latin percussive track- the title track.

The Golden Scarab is a rather happy kind of song, with...out there instrumentation and strange- but good strange lyrics, and strong latin percussive sequences.
Next, the funky track The Purpose of Existence Is? ensues, with jazzy styles similar to that heard on Downbound Train, then progresses onto the next, The Moorish Idol.

The Moorish Idol starts out a little rough, but then a low but nice synth starts throughout this lovely instrumental, adding a nice touch.
We have Choose Up or Choose Off start, another rock-like track, then it moves onto the awkwardly titled Oh Thou Precious Nectar Filled Form (or) A Little Fart, a folk kind of song, then the first two bonus tracks go, but they aren't worth noting. Last but definitely not the least plays an instant classic, Bicentennial Blues.

Bicentennial Blues starts out with another possible Fender electric "riff", then turns into a latin style that reminds me of Santana. In the middle of the song, a familiar bass line and solo occur, which is actually a copy of Light My Fire with a latin kick, then the catchy opening Light my Fire riff plays and back to the song it goes, ending with a bang.

The untapped genius of the post-Doors work of Manzarek is rather depressing. Perhaps it was the failure of Other Voices and Full Circle that lead the Doors into a curse of underground solo and band work. Nevertheless, the trilogy of solo albums Manzarek put out were classics waiting to happen, but they didn't quite surface as much as they should have. 
But music is never measured in how popular it is, or at least shouldn't be. Manzarek's keyboard playing left a footprint in the world of rock and became an inspiration for others even today.
His death should not make his memory fade away. The feud of Densmore, Manzarek, and Krieger was a nasty unnecessary one- one that tested the relationship of musical brothers. Music isn't a profit income, it's a feeling, and this issue broke apart not a band, but a family.
Among Manzarek's work, you should check out his other two solo albums-
-The Whole Thing Started with Rock & Roll Now It's Out of Control
-Carmina Burana
Manzarek later went on to produce two albums with Nite City as mentioned, and died May of 2013. He shall always be remembered. 

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