Saturday, 22 February 2014

LA Woman by the Doors

If there's one thing that must be obvious about my musical tastes from this blog, it's that I'm a jazz nut. But I'm not exclusively a jazz nut. And there are still rock albums that get me excited. Including the Doors’ masterpiece LA Woman.

The nice people at Rhino have reissued the Doors’ albums on vinyl and I couldn't resist snapping up a copy of LA Woman to replace — supplement actually — my worn original LP.

Rhino are to be congratulated on their painstaking attempt to replicate the elaborate original packaging of LA Woman — the rounded corners, the acetate window, the yellow inner sleeve with the telephone pole-crucifixion artwork on the reverse.

So it seems churlish to moan, yet moan I must. For a start the yellow inner sleeve in the Rhino reissue isn't really a sleeve. It's slashed along both sides and is in fact a yellow piece of paper that is folded (hinging at the bottom) around a conventional paper inner sleeve.

Now, if this replicates the original release, I will stand corrected. But I don't think it does. I think the original inner sleeve was just that, not some weird wrap-around. In fact, I've got one around here somewhere...

But much worse than that, despite boasting of its 180 gram vinyl, this is a bit of a sonic dog. The music sounds okay but there is constant surface noise, hissing and sizzling, throughout the gaps between the tracks, across the run-in grooves, and muttering away in the background throughout the quiet passages.

This is a very poor pressing indeed. Incompetent and unacceptable. In any sane world it would have been routinely rejected by quality control.

There's no point doing vinyl reissues unless you do them properly. And it’s easy enough. You just listen to samples from the pressing plant, and if they aren't noise free you send them back and tell the factory to junk them and press again, and do it right... That is their job. It's that simple.

(Image credits: front and back cover of the reissue are from Amazon. The inner sleeve is from The Celebrity Pix. The image of the inner sleeve half in and half out of the cover is from Collectors Frenzy and shows an original pressing.)

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