L.A. Woman would be the last album the Doors would record with Jim Morrison before he died in July 1971. When this was recorded, Morrison was in poor health, his voice ravaged from years of excess. The band was rarely playing live, banned from many venues due to Morrison's controversial stage antics. Musical tastes were also changing around this time as singer-songwriters like Carole King and James Taylor and the mellow pop of the Carpenters were dominating the charts.
So what did the Doors do? Well for starters, they went back to basics. The timeless genre known as the blues. Jim may have not been able to belt out a tune like "Light My Fire" at this point, but his lower grittier register was perfect for the blues tracks "Been Down So Long", "Cars Hiss By My Window", and "Crawling King Snake." Many of the other tracks such as "Hyacinth House", "L'America", and "The Wasp (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)" continue the somber mood of the album. However, it's the three classic rock standards, the jazzy "Riders On The Storm", the upbeat "Love Her Madly", and the driving title track that are the strongest tracks here. As on their previous albums, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, and Robby Krieger add the perfect accompaniment to each track whether it's the memorable piano line on "Riders On The Storm", the march drum beat on "L'America", or the gritty guitar solos on the blues tracks. Along with Morrison Hotel and their self-titled debut album, L.A. Woman is among their best work. Highly recommended to all classic rock and blues rock fans.