Set for a June 30, 2009 release is a new completely remastered gold disc version of the classic album by The Doors, THE SOFT PARADE, by Audio Fidelity. At the time this album was highly controversial among both fans and critics for it's overproduced huge horn and string section sound, of which The Doors could never really reproduce live on stage except for one big stage appearance on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW to promote the single "Touch Me", which became a huge hit for the band which became increasingly troubled by the antics of lead singer Jim Morrison within a few months.
Certainly, THE SOFT PARADE had a decidedly more pop sound compared to the heavy blues influence in all other earlier Doors albums. However, the album did spawn four singles. Further, the album became something of a showcase of the music writing talents of guitarist Robbie Krieger who contributed about half the songs as Jim Morrison was busy writing two poetry books while most of the songs for the album were being put together. And Robbie Krieger's jazzy style of music seemed to really show through on some songs. One hand, the album had jazzy songs like the hit "Touch Me", or the weird little unsuccessful single, "Runnin' Blue" with Robbie Krieger adding a strange little hillbilly voiced chorus to the song, to all the wicked little Jim Morrison gems like "Wild Child", "Do It", "Easy Ride" and "Wishful Sinful", which became another single off the album. Another single, "Tell All The People" seemed like a really radical political rant piece even by 1960's standards by encouraging people to get their guns, yet amazingly this song also became a single off the album, although only charting in at #57 on the American charts. Robbie Krieger's hillbilly chorused tune, "Runnin' Blue" did even worse coming in at #64 on the top 100 singles charts. But "Touch Me" was a #3 hit, while the follow-up single, "Wishful Sinful" with plenty of string backup had a far less impressive #44 peak level on the U.S. charts.
Interestingly, of the nine songs on the album, only two songs, the title track, "The Soft Parade" and "Shaman's Blues" were not released as either an A or B side of a single. And one song which was never used on the original 1969 album, "Who Scared You?" found it's way onto the B side of "Wishful Sinful", but was finally added to the more recent 40th Anniversary edition of the album as a bonus track along with the largely unfinished "Whiskey, Mystics And Men" and "Push, Push" along with an outtake version of "Touch Me". Yet few Doors outtakes have ever been released, and even most bootleg albums of the band have been from live performances. The Doors no doubt have many outtakes of their session work, especially since Morrison was later so drunk that many takes often had to be recorded. For example, during the recording of LA WOMAN, Morrison's alcohol abuse had grown so bad that one longtime producer of the band left the project, and Bruce Botnick had to complete the project. Fortunately "Touch Me" was released in December 1968, becoming a huge early 1969 hit before Jim Morrison's drunken stage antics and obscenity arrest began to really mount new problems for the band and some radio stations stopped playing songs by The Doors or some record stores stopped selling Doors albums under pressure by some parent's groups. Part of this arrest explains why so many of the other singles on THE SOFT PARADE charted so poorly because of all the public backlash. I even remember my school newspaper running a student editorial condemning The Doors over the March 1, 1969 concert incident.
The title track, "The Soft Parade" seems eternally disappointing compared to past Doors' epics such as "The End" or "When The Music's Over". Some of the writing on the "The Soft Parade" title track seems like pure nonsense,and almost schtick humor, like the lyrics, "the monk ate lunch", compared to far more heavy and deep lyrics of other Doors' epic pieces. But fortunately, the other songs on the album more than make up for this one turkey of a title song. Everything else on this album is darn good by comparison.
Yet despite all of the controversy, THE SOFT PARADE certainly rates as a very good late 60's rock album by any standard of measurement. And next week's upcoming gold disc version by Audio Fidelity of the album should only help to highlight the beautiful fusion of the horn and string sections to the great classic music of The Doors. This album is a must have.
Right now, Cd Universe is allowing preorder of this upcoming cd for a discounted price saving a few dollars off of the $24.98 list price. And likely a few other Internet retailers or record stores may be offering preorders as well.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!