The Doors will finally release the previously unheard “Paris Blues” — described as the band’s “last known unissued studio recording” — as part of a new blues-themed compilation of the same name.
Paris Blues is out Nov. 25 as part of Record Store Day’s Black Friday event. The limited-edition set (10,000 numbered copies) will be available on translucent blue vinyl, with an original cover painting by guitarist Robby Krieger.
The title song has been the source of endless fascination for hardcore Doors fans. It was recorded during the sessions for either 1969’s The Soft Parade or 1971’s L.A. Woman, but the master tape was lost, and the only surviving copy was given to keyboardist Ray Manzarek. However, that copy was damaged after his son Pablo, then a toddler, recorded over certain sections. Now, according to a press release, the song has been “rescued” through the use of “creative editing.”
While the Doors apparently can’t agree on the exact origins of “Paris Blues,” Krieger wrote in his 2021 book, Set the Night on Fire, that the song originated from their designated “blues days” while recording L.A. Woman. Reflecting on the long-lost track, he wasn’t very complementary.
“It wasn’t good enough to make the album and we didn’t put it out later because the master tapes and my personal cassette dub were lost,” he wrote. “The only copy that survived was Ray’s cassette dub, but one day he left it inside a tape recorder and his then-infant son, Pablo, started playing with the buttons. At several points on the tape, the music abruptly cuts out and all you can hear is Pablo making gurgling noises. Even without Pablo’s remixing, though, it’s just not that great of a tune. There’s a reason it was considered an outtake, and there’s a reason we were never too concerned about the masters going missing. Pablo was probably trying to do us all a favor.”
In a 1997 fan Q&A, Manzarek also dated the song to the L.A. Woman era and said they were “saving” “Paris Blues” for future use. He called it a “funky blues” and “not that special.”
Paris Blues features two previously unreleased live duo recordings of Krieger and singer Jim Morrison at a West Hollywood benefit for Norman Mailer’s mayoral campaign on May 31, 1969. The first is “I Will Never Be Untrue,” an original written for but scrapped from 1970’s Morrison Hotel; the second is a cover of Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil Blues.”
Side One also includes two Soft Parade outtakes, “(You Need Meat) Don’t Go No Further” and “I’m Your Doctor,” which feature Manzarek on vocals, backed by Krieger and drummer John Densmore. Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo added bass to both cuts for the 50th-anniversary edition in 2019.
The second side feature three tracks from Live in Vancouver 1970, previously released in 2010. The material, recorded June 6, 1970, in Vancouver, highlights the work of revered blues singer-guitarist Albert King, who joined the Doors onstage.
The Doors, ‘Paris Blues’ Track Listing
“Paris Blues” (previously unreleased)
2. “I Will Never Be Untrue” (previously unreleased)
3. “Me And The Devil Blues” (previously unreleased)
4. “(You Need Meat) Don’t Go No Further”
5. “I’m Your Doctor”
1. “Jim’s Introduction”
2. “Little Red Rooster” (with Albert King)
3. “Rock Me Baby” (with Albert King)
4. “Who Do You Love?” (with Albert King)
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