Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 205
Thurs. Aug 29, 2013
“Orange County Suite”
Of all the songs Jim Morrison penned and dedicated to Pamela Morrison, “Love Street,” “You’re a Lost Little Girl and “Queen of the Highway,” just to name a few, the most underrated has to be the posthumously released “Orange County Suite.” originally recorded in 1969 for Morrison’s poetry sessions and left unreleased until 1997’s The Doors Box Set. But why wait so long to release this lovely paean to Pamela for almost thirty years? I was shocked to learn from Stephen Davis’ Rolling Stone Magazine article, “The Last Days of Jim Morrison, The Doors had rejected “Suite” from both Morrison Hotel and L.A. Woman albums.
While in Paris, according to Davis, Jim met two American street musicians and attempted another take of Morrison’s ode to Pam in France that was eventually released on the bootleg of Jim’s Lost Paris Tapes. Davis described one of the last recording sessions for Jim Morrison when he wrote for Rolling Stone, “It was a drunken, and mostly ad-libbed, recording. Yet, listening carefully (to one of the bootleg versions of the tape that have since sold thousands of CDs), one hears the authentic last of Jim Morrison, two weeks before he died, as he roars spontaneous verses and imagery about his hard-hearted woman, his anguish and his obsessions, easily deploying a poetic champion’s compositional facility for the natural cadence and spontaneous rhyme: “Well, her father has passed over/And her sister is a star/And her mother’s smoking diamonds/And she’s sleeping in the car.” I love the fact that Pamela was in Jim’s mind during the last weeks of his life and “Orange County Suite” is the ultimate showing of Morrison’s lyrical affection to the woman who was the flame to his fire.
The eventual released version from the 1997 box set was The Doors following “Free as a Bird” recording aesthetic of The Beatles. The Fab Four took a recording of John’s “Bird” demo and added their voices and instruments to create a new Beatles recording. John Densmore, Robbie Krieger and Ray Manzarek bested The Beatles by adding delicate mystical rhythms to match Morrison’s poetic lament to Pamela. I believe “Orange County Suite” sounds like a romantic sequel to L.A. Woman’s “Riders on the Storm,” and this final recording to feature all four Doors is a testament to the love that was shared between Pam and Jim.
A few days ago, on the internet, The Doors asked their followers to name the band’s most under-examined song? I believe “Orange County Suite” is the answer to that query. This tender piano based treasure was a song that Jim was attempting to get his fellow Doors bandmates to record and release since 1969. It may have taken almost thirty years for Densmore, Krieger and Manzarek to see the light but thankfully the remaining Doors finally realized that “Orange County Suite” deserved to be recorded and Jim’s last song finally was released in 1997. Enjoy the romantic trip of Jim sweetest and final ode to Pam. In honor of their fiery love, today we dedicate “Orange County Suite” to the loving memory of Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson Morrison.