Old Stone Road (Godfather Records GR 834)
Civic Auditorium, Bakersfield, CA – August 21st, 1970
(63:02): Roadhouse Blues, Alabama Song, Back Door Man / Old Stone Road, Five To One, Universal Mind, When The Music’s Over, Mystery Train, Ship Of Fools
About a week before traveling to England for their set at the Isle Of Wight Festival The Doors played shows in California. The August 21st show in Bakersfield was the third and final show recorded by the band’s tour manager Vic Treanor. He utilized a Sony TC-630 stereo tape recorder running at 3 3/4 ips with a pair of AKG-D1000E cardioid microphones placed on either side of the stage to capture the audio from the vocal and instrument amps.
Only the first reel has surfaced. It is very clean, clear and enjoyable. The second reel is thought to contain the “Love Me Two Times” / “St. James Infirmary” / “Baby, Please Don’t Go” medley, “Light My Fire” and “The End.” The medley can be found on the Bright Midnight Sampler but the rest has never surfaced.
Old Stone Road on Godfather presents the surviving reel-to-reel tape in excellent sound quality. It cuts in after the first couple of notes of “Roadhouse Blues” and runs through the end of “Ship Of Fools.”
The band played in the Civic Auditorium with a capacity of three thousand with Genetic Drift opening. Jim Morrison sounds a bit slow at first and “Roadhouse Blues” slightly ragged but the band are extremely tight and the show quickly picks up steam. It’s most evident by the time they play the third song “Back Door Man.”
Several minutes into the song, while the band are in an instrumental passage, Morrison sings the unreleased “Old Stone Road,” singing:
Old stone road is a mighty fine road / if you’re not burdened with a heavy load
met my wife out on old stone road / got your silver baby, got your gold
shot my friend out on old stone road / stone road, yeah, it’s mighty cold
lost my girl out on old stone road / the little woman …. yeah she couldn’t keep her ….
It sounds more like a Morrison beat-poem rather than an unpolished song. After he’s done reciting the passages John Densmore strikes a heavy beat to bring the band into “Five To One.”
More jamming occurs in “When The Music’s Over.” At one point Robbie Krieger plays guitar lines, doubled by Ray Manzerek on keyboards that sound very much like The Allman Brothers. It’s a unique and fascinating passage in the long tune.
A nod to Curtis Mayfield and “People Get Ready” is an introduction to “Mystery Train” which Manzerek embellishes with his circus organ. A sincere “Ship Of Fools” ends the tape.
Old Stone Road fills a big need for Doors collectors. Bright Midnight Records stated years ago that they weren’t going to release any more material from this show. It’s packaged in a tri-fold cardboard sleeve with liner notes and a photograph from the actual gig on the front cover. Despite the limitations it is a very clear, powerful and enjoyable recording essential for the Doors collection.
I had to put on some DOORS as a celebration of a great muscians life and art. I have not listened to this show for a long time, Great version of Universal Mind, love the way Manzerek and Krieger play an ode to John Coltrane by going into My Favorite Things > Afro Blue to lead off a great jazzy interlude. Morrison was always the focal point but the other three muscians were first class and really carry alot of the 1970 performances, great show and one that will have me delving back into their 1968 summer shows next
RIP Ray Manzerek, a true great of his genre moving to the great gig in the sky.