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22.5.13

Ray Manzarek


Ray Manzarek - The Golden Scarab - 1974 - Mercury

More than Full Circle and Other Voices, The Golden Scarab is the best embodiment of the Doors by one of the three surviving members, and it is amazing it wasn't a huge underground smash. With mentions of moonlight drives, tightrope rides, and titles of past Doors tunes in "The Solar Boat," drummer Tony Williams, guitarist Larry Carlton, bassist Jerry Scheff, and producer Bruce Botnick generate an eerie sound behind the singer, creating a title track as mysterious and fun as anything by Morrison and company. With intense rhythms and tons of creativity, Ray Manzarek brings us on a musical journey as unique as The Phantom's Divine Comedy, and if Robbie Krieger brought the commercial element to the Doors' gravy train, it is clear here that the eldest of the quartet had more a hand in the development of the Doors persona than he may have been given credit for. One can't fault Krieger and John Densmore for stretching out with Butts Band, but there is a certain responsibility hit artists should have to their audience. The Bright Midnight releases finally address those concerns, but decades before the opening of the Doors tape vaults, that sound from L.A. Woman was most obvious on "The Purpose of Existence Is?" on this solo effort. Yes, Ray Manzarek veers off into his jazz leanings; given the players on this, how could he not? But he gives enough of a taste of past glories to make The Golden Scarab accessible, spoon feeding his musical styles to those who couldn't get enough of the music he was associated with. It's dramatic and cohesive, making more sense than Jim Morrison much of the time, with more controlled insanity. It is amazing that such a fine work as The Golden Scarab escaped the masses, and shameful that classic hits stations don't add this to their incessant repertoire. Had Jim Morrison lived, this is the path the music of the Doors should have taken. Smooth and demanding of repeated spins. © Joe Viglione © 2013 Rovi Corp | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-golden-scarab-mw0000078008

Good jazz rock/fusion with an exotic percussive flavour of Latin and Caribbean rhythms played by the great drummer, Tony Williams. At times the music has touches of zany Zappaesque humour and playing, but like Frank Zappa, highly original and mostly enjoyable. Ray penned seven of the eight tracks on the album and does a cover of Chuck Berry’s "Downbound Train". The tune fits in nicely with the other tracks. Larry Carlton also plays on this album as does the great bassist, Jerry Scheff. The late Ray Manzarek was arguably underrated as a composer and keyboardist. His playing was an essential part of the Doors’ unique sound. During his long musical career, he covered the entire musical spectrum. As a solo artist, he was futuristic in his musical creativity and did not always receive the acclaim he deserved for his contribution to great music. Try and listen to Ray’s neglected but excellent “Carmina Burana” album and the Doors’ brilliant “Morrison Hotel” album. “The Golden Scarab” is HR by A.O.O.F.C. RIP. [All tracks@ 320 Kbps: File size = 99 Mb]

TRACKS

Side 1

He Can't Come Today - 4:40
Solar Boat - 5:58
Downbound Train - 5:31
The Golden Scarab - 6:42

Side 2

The Purpose Of Existence Is? - 6:38
The Moorish Idol - 5:38
Choose Up And Choose Off - 4:43
Oh Thou Precious Nectar Filled Form (or) A Little Fart - 4:57

All tracks composed by Ray Manzarek except "Downbound Train" by Chuck Berry

MUSICIANS

Ray Manzarek - keyboards, piano, organ, synthesizer, kalimba, vocals
Larry Carlton - guitar
Jerry Scheff - bass
Tony Williams - drums
Mailto Correa - percussion, bongos, conga, wood block
Steve Forman - tuned cowbells, tuned wood blocks, whistles, guiro
Milt Holland - pandeiro, African cowbells, cabassa, quica
Ernie Watts - tenor saxophone
Oscar Brashear - trumpet

BIO (WIKI)

Raymond Daniel Manczarek, Jr., known as Ray Manzarek (February 12, 1939 – May 20, 2013),was an American musician, singer, producer, film director and author, best known as a founding member and keyboardist of The Doors from 1965 to 1973. He was a co-founding member of Nite City from 1977 to 1978, and of Manzarek–Krieger from 2001 to his death. Manzarek died on May 20, 2013, of complications related to bile duct cancer. Manzarek was of Polish descent, born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, as were his parents, Helena and Raymond Manczarek. Growing up, he took private piano lessons from Bruno Michelotti and others. He originally wanted to play basketball, but he only wanted to play power forward or center. When he was sixteen his coach insisted either he play guard or not at all and he quit the team. Manzarek said later if it was not for that ultimatum, he might never have been with the Doors. He went to Everett Elementary School on S. Bell St. and attended St. Rita High School in Chicago. He graduated from DePaul University with a degree in economics and played in many shows at the school. From 1962 to 1965, he studied in the Department of Cinematography at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he met film student Jim Morrison. At UCLA, he also met Dorothy Fujikawa, whom he married. They have a son, Pablo. Forty days after finishing film school, thinking they had gone their separate ways, Manzarek and Morrison met by chance on Venice Beach in California. Morrison said he had written some songs, and Manzarek expressed an interest in hearing them, whereupon Morrison sang a rough version of "Moonlight Drive". Manzarek liked the songs and co-founded the Doors with Morrison at that moment. Manzarek met drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger at a Transcendental Meditation lecture. Densmore says, "There wouldn't be any Doors without Maharishi." In January 1966, the Doors became the house band at the London Fog on the Sunset Strip. According to Manzarek, "Nobody ever came in the place...an occasional sailor or two on leave, a few drunks. All in all it was a very depressing experience, but it gave us time to really get the music together." The same day the Doors were fired from the London Fog, they were hired to be the house band of the Whisky a Go Go. Their first performance at the Whisky was with the group Them. The Doors' first recording contract was with Columbia Records. After a few months of inactivity, they learned they were on Columbia's drop list. At that point, they asked to be released from their contract. After a few months of live gigs, Jac Holzman "rediscovered" the Doors and signed them to Elektra Records. The Doors lacked a bassist, so Manzarek usually played the bass parts on a Fender Rhodes piano. His signature sound is that of the Vox Continental combo organ, an instrument used by many other psychedelic rock bands of the era. He later used a Gibson G-101 Kalamazoo combo organ (which looks like a Farfisa) because the Continental's plastic keys frequently broke, according to Manzarek. Manzarek occasionally sang for the Doors, including the live recordings of "Close To You" and on the B-side of "Love Her Madly," "You Need Meat (Don't Go No Further)." He also sang on the last two Doors albums, recorded after Morrison's death, Other Voices and Full Circle. Additionally, he provided one of several guitar parts on the song "Been Down So Long." Manzarek played in several groups after the Doors, including Nite City. He recorded a rock adaptation of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with Philip Glass, produced and backed Echo & the Bunnymen and Los Angeles band X, played with Iggy Pop, backed San Francisco poet Michael McClure's poetry readings and did improvisational composition with poet Michael C. Ford. He also worked extensively with "Hearts of Fire" screenwriter and former SRC front man Scott Richardson on a series of spoken word and blues recordings entitled "Tornado Souvenirs". His memoir, Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors, was published in 1998. The Poet in Exile (2001) is a novel exploring the urban legend that Jim Morrison may have faked his death. Manzarek's second novel, Snake Moon, released in April 2006, is a Civil War ghost story. In 2000, a collaboration poetry album titled Freshly Dug was released with British singer, poet, actor and pioneer Punk rocker Darryl Read. Read had previously worked with Manzarek on the Beat Existentialist album in 1994, and their last poetical and musical collaboration was in 2007 with the album Bleeding Paradise. In 2006, he collaborated with composer and trumpeter Bal. The album that resulted, Atonal Head, is an exploration in the realm of electronica. The two musicians integrated jazz, rock, ethnic and classical music into their computer-based creations. On August 4, 2007, Manzarek hosted a program on BBC Radio 2 about the 40th anniversary of the recording of "Light My Fire" and the group's musical and spiritual influences. In April 2009, Manzarek and Robby Krieger appeared as special guests for Daryl Hall's monthly concert webcast Live From Daryl's House. They performed several Doors' tunes ("People Are Strange", "The Crystal Ship", "Roadhouse Blues" and "Break on Through (To the Other Side)") with Hall providing lead vocals. After living many years in Hollywood, Manzarek moved to Napa County, California, to a house that he remodeled extensively. In his last years he played with local bands in the Napa area. In 2009 Manzarek collaborated with "Weird Al" Yankovic, playing keyboards on the single "Craigslist", which is a style parody of the Doors. Manzarek was a co-producer on a few tracks for Universal Recording artist Michael Barber. A track appeared on the Internet, titled "Be Ok", on Barber's Universal Records debut. In May 2010, Manzarek recorded with slide guitarist Roy Rogers in Studio D in Sausalito. The album Translucent Blues, released in mid-2011, was ranked No. 3 on the Top 100 Roots Rock Albums of 2011 by The Roots Music Report. Manzarek married Dorothy Fujikawa in Los Angeles on December 21, 1967, with Jim Morrison and his long time companion, Pamela Courson, as witnesses. Manzarek and Fujikawa remained married until his death. They had a son, Pablo, and three grandchildren, Noah, Apollo and Camille. On May 20, 2013, Manzarek died after a long battle with bile duct cancer at a hospital in Rosenheim, Germany, aged 74. Robby Krieger said, "I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today. I'm just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him." John Densmore said, "There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison's words. Ray, I felt totally in sync with you musically. It was like we were of one mind, holding down the foundation for Robby and Jim to float on top of. I will miss my musical brother." Greg Harris, CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said in reaction to Manzarek's death that "The world of rock 'n' roll lost one of its greats with the passing of Ray Manzarek." Harris also said that "he was instrumental in shaping one of the most influential, controversial and revolutionary groups of the '60s. Such memorable tracks as 'Light My Fire', 'People are Strange' and ' Hello, I Love You' – to name but a few – owe much to Manzarek's innovative playing."

9 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

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Password is aoofc

Pierre said...

Hi Paul, how did I miss this one back in '74 ? mmm... the shop probably didn't stock it, don't see , don't buy.Anyway fabulous stuff and thanks for the listen. looks like we are getting to the pointy end of this generation of great musicians leaving us with bassist Trevor Bolder passing on yesterday. cheers Pierre

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Pierre. You missed it coz you were stoned, man! lol I'm only kidding, Pierre!! I was trying to get that album "Cybernauts Live" but no luck. These musicians will never be replaced. I'm gonna put on my Westlife album and listen to some real music!! lol...TTU later. Peace & Love, man!!...Paul

Brandt Hardin said...

Ray's playing was a staple of The Doors. He'll certainly be missed after such a long and fruitful career helping to create such haunting music. The Doors' songs opened my mind to other realms of possibilities and cleansed my perception. I paid tribute to Ray when I heard of his passing by creating a new portrait of him and some melting doors which you can see on my artist's blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2013/05/in-memoriam-ray-manzarek.html Drop by and let me know how The Doors influenced you too.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Brandt. Thanks for comment. I posted a small comment on your website. I like good photoart and graphics as well as general photography and of course good music. Thanks & keep in touch..Paul

FLAVIOLA said...

BIG THANX FOR THIS! TOOK A WHILE TO NOTICE THIS ONE. VERY CURIOUS

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,FLAVIOLA. No probs. Almost forgotten album from the late musician. Thanks, & TTU soon...Paul

kosmikino said...

Huge thanks for this Paul, I had no idea this even existed! This is what I love about the wonderful world of music blogs, I was actually searching for the 2006 Atonal Head album Ray Manzarek did with jazz musician Piotr Bal (I heard the version of Riders On The Storm so was curious to hear the rest of it) - anyway, glad I stumbled across this - the Moorish Idol track in particular just blew me away!

Many thanks.
From another Paul

PS> I did find a rip of the Atonal Head album here for anyone curious:

onlygoodsong3.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/ray-manzarek-and-bal-atonal-head.html

password: onlygoodsong

As for the entire Atonal Head album, after a quick listen I would recommend it for the cover of 'Caravan' but as for the rest, well, make your own mind up!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Many thanks Paul for your comments & for info...TTU soon..Paul