Sunday, May 26, 2013

An appreciation: Ray Manzarek

- by New Deal democrat

I'd like to address this post to our younger readers.

Long time readers of this blog know that one of my guilty pleasures was being a big fan of the Doors. When their lead singer died over 40 years ago, he did more than destroy his own 27 year old body with booze and drugs, he also left three other extremely talented musicians high and dry.

The band collectively was the Edgar Allen Poe of rock music. And just like the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe, I outgrew the overwrought florid poetry of Jim Morrison by the time I hit college. But the virtuoso embellishments of the three musicians, especially keyboardist Ray Manzarek, remained. Truth be told, even as a teenybopper it was the keyboards more than the voice or lyrics that I paid attention to most. Every now and then, I still went back and listened.

You may disdain most of the Boomer music (and actually most of the popular music of most generations is forgettable), but it would be a shame if the overhyped legend of Morrison caused you to avoid the great contributions of the other musicians. In that spirit, here is "Spanish Caravan," a 3 minute piece 2/3's of which has no singing at all. The first half is a duet between flamenco guitar and harpsicord, and the second half an acid rock recapitulation between electric guitar and organ:

With the passing of Ray Manzarek, I am feeling very old. Someday it will all pass. Really, truly, YOLO.