Vinyl Minded: The Doors, Talking Heads, Supremes and Temptations

The Doors

Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm September 20, 1968 (Elektra/Rhino)

3LP on limited edition translucent light-blue vinyl

The final Doors performance took place on December of 1970, nearly 44 year ago. So really, the only people with any memory of seeing the Doors live will be over the age of 55 (not including the Doors of the 21st Century reunion shows with Ian Astbury of the Cult fronting the band).

The rest of us have to make do with the recorded output, so all of the live recordings are particularly precious, especially given the fact that Jim Morrison was such an incredible, charismatic and passionate performer.

In the Swedish capital in '68, two years before the band's final show and less then three years before Morrison's untimely demise, the Doors were in inspired form and both the early and the late show is captured on these three discs.

Even without the benefit of video, Morrison powers through the sets like a man possessed. Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore are also in fine form, and Doors classics such as "Love me Two Times," "Light My Fire," and "When the Music's Over" sound incredible.

Their own take on "Mack the Knife" and "Money (That's What I Want)" are oddly magnificent, and all six sides are a treat.

Talking Heads

Live at WCOZ 77 (Sire/Rhino)

Special limited-edition 2LP package cut at 45rpm

Like The Doors, many music lovers haven't ever had the opportunity to see the Talking Heads live although, unlike the Doors, all four Heads are still with us and we at least have hope that a reunion is possible.

For now, this Record Store Day release will have to suffice. This "complete performance broadcast on WCOZ" includes "seven previously unreleased performances recorded at Northern Studios on November 17, 1977."

At that point, two years after forming, only the debut Talking Heads: 77 had been released, though there are songs on here that would appear on the sophomore '78 album More Songs About Buildings and Food ("The Big Country," "Stay Hungry," and the cow er of Al Green's "Take Me to the River").

We get a raw, hungry Talking Heads here, with the band in its musical prime and David Byrne at his quirky best. They might not agree, but that's ok.

"Don't Worry About the Government" is a timely message, while the ever-perfect"Psycho Killer" is, well, perfect.

The Supremes

We Remember Sam Cooke (Elemental Music/Motown/Universal)

Limited-edition 140 gram high quality virgin vinyl

Elemental Music, which specializes in reissues of archival recordings, has announced the Motown Sound Collection, so expect a lot of these gems in coming columns.

They dropped two in May, and let's start with the fifth studio album from thew Supremes, We Remenber Sam Cooke, originally released in April '65 in tribute to Cooke, who had died the previous December.

This might not be the first Supremes album that springs to mind when thinking about the band, then still featuring Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, but it is a real treasure and it's fully deserving of this new treatment.

When you combine Cooke's thoughtful songwriting with the combined vocal talents of the Supremes, you get gold. Their "A Change is Gonna Come" is as weighty as it ever was, while "Wonderful World" is full of joy.

"Ain't That) Good News" sees Ballard take the lead, and that too is a joyful experience. This is a band of greats paying tribute to another great, and it's a great success.

The Temptations

Wish It Would Rain (Elemental Music/Motown/Universal)

Limited-edition 140 gram high quality virgin vinyl

Wish it Would Rain or, to give it its full title, The Temptations Wish it Would Rain, is the band's seventh studio record. Reminiscent of the Beatles and the productivity of the day, it was only released four years after the Meet the Temptations debut.

Norman Whitfield is listed as producer on the sleeve, though history tells as that Smokey Robinson, Henry Cosby, Harvey Fuqua, Deke Richards, and Johnny Bristol were also involved.

Regardless, what's actually important is that Wish it Would Rain is the final album of the "classic 5" era, before the Dennis Edwards-led psychedelic soul era.

As such, is a fascinating body of work. It might not feature the band's biggest and best known songs, but it flows a little sweeter because of that fact.

There's a little bit more melancholy in these tracks that heard on previous Temps records. A lot of unrequited and/or lost love on "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)," "Please Return Your Love to Me," "Why Did You Leave Me Darling" and "No Man Can Love Her Like I Do." The guys are really yearning.

And damn, the harmonies are typically undeniable. Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, Otis Williams and Paul Williams made magic together, for the final time here. That's a bittersweet feeling, but ultimately a rewarding one.