JAMES LEE STANLEY AND CLIFF EBERHARDT
All Wood and Doors
Beachwood Recordings B004VMX65Y
Skepticism doesn’t even begin to describe my initial feelings about this project. Let’s see, let’s take a dozen classics from The Doors and let two folk music veterans cover them—two guys known for their guitar picking no less. Those who remember The Doors will recall it wasn’t a guitar-based ensemble; Robby Krieger played bass more than lead and the band’s distinctive melodies were built around Ray Manzarek’s organ riffs. “It can’t possibly work,” thought I. Wrong! It’s a very fine piece of work and another confirmation that if you’re going to mess with iconic stuff, take it to the limit. Neither Stanley nor Eberhardt seek to channel Jim Morrison, even though Krieger and John Densmore guest on several tracks, as do well-know folks such as Peter Tork (The Monkees), Timothy Schmidt (The Eagles), and Paul Barrere (Little Feat). If anything, a lot of the covers and harmonies evoke a slightly trippier version of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Nothing here is quite as you’d anticipate. “Break on Through” has underlying Motown soul peeking through, “Love Me Two Times” feels like a country song, and “Light My Fire” is dreamy and slow. “Crystal Ship” as a folk ballad? Who would have imagined? Crisp guitar licks—mostly done on the “wood” of the album’s title—round out this thoughtful release. It’s way more than just another tribute album; this is a considered rethinking of The Doors—a fresh coat of varnish if you will.