Doors – Roadhouse Blues

I’m not a huge Doors fan but there are songs I like by them and this one is one of my favorites. The song peaked at #50 in the Billboard 100 and #41 in Canada in 1970. This was the B side of the song “You Make Me Real.”

John Sebastian from the Lovin’ Spoonful played the harmonica on this recording. He is identified on the album as “G. Puglese” because he was afraid to be identified with The Doors because of Morrison’s arrest at a concert in Miami when he was accused of exposing himself to the crowd. Morrison was convicted of indecent exposure and sentenced to six months in jail, but he died while the case was being appealed. In 2010, Florida governor Charlie Crist granted Morrison a pardon, clearing him of the charges.

The album was called “Morrison Hotel.” Doors guitarist Robby Krieger said this on how they came up with the title of the album:

“Ray (Manzarek, keyboards) had been driving around downtown LA, and he saw this place called Morrison Hotel. So we decided to go down and shoot some photos there, but the guy who owned the hotel wouldn’t let us inside it. I guess they thought we were hippies. There were a lot of drunks and bums hanging around that area. Anyway, we snuck in there real quick when he wasn’t looking and got the shot that became the cover of Morrison Hotel.”

From Songfacts

When Jim Morrison got drunk, he liked to sing blues numbers at The Doors jam sessions. This in one of the songs he came up with at one of those inebriated sessions.

If there was an actual roadhouse that inspired this song, it was probably the Topanga Corral, a windowless nightclub in the counterculture enclave of the Topanga Canyon, where Jim Morrison lived. To get to the venue you had to take Topanga Canyon Boulevard, which is full of twists and turns – you really did need to “keep your eyes on the road, your hand upon the wheel.”

The Corral, where Little Feat and Canned Heat played and Linda Ronstadt was often spotted in the audience, burned down in 1986.

There was a cabin behind the Topanga Corral that many sources say Morrison bought for his girlfriend, Pamela Courson. This could be what provided the line, “In back of the Roadhouse they got some bungalows.”

Guitar great Lonnie Mack played bass. The Doors usually did not use a bass player.

Doors guitarist Robby Krieger joined Creed on stage at Woodstock ’99, where they performed this. It is on the Woodstock ’99 CD.

This is the first song on Morrison Hotel. The album was a return The Doors’ earlier style. On their previous album, The Soft Parade, they used a lot of strings and horns. Morrison didn’t do much on that album because he was drunk for most of it and had nothing to do while all the instrumentation was being worked out. Before The Doors had a record deal, they played many Blues songs in their long club shows.

Outtakes from one of Morrison’s recording sessions were used to dub his voice into a version of this on the 2000 tribute album Stoned Immaculate, where he duets with John Lee Hooker.

In 2000, the surviving members of the Doors taped a VH1 Storytellers episode with guest vocalists filling in for Morrison. Scott Stapp from Creed sang on this.

This was released as the B-side of “You Make Me Real.”

The Doors occasionally recorded old blues songs, but even though this sounds like it could have been one of them, the wrote it themselves.

This has been called “the ultimate bar song,” and it continues to be played by bar bands everywhere.

Status Quo covered this song on their 1972 album Piledriver, and the song quickly became a live favorite for the band. The group was wildly successful in England, and like many UK acts, was influenced by American rockers, often doing successful covers (their version of John Fogerty’s “Rockin’ All Over The World” went to #3 in the UK). They were never able to conquer America, however, in part because they didn’t tour there until 1973.

Roadhouse Blues

Ah keep your eyes on the road, 
Your hands upon the wheel. 
Keep your eyes on the road 
Your hands upon the wheel. 
Yeah, we’re going to the roadhouse, 
Gonna have a real good-time. 

Yeah, the back of the roadhouse, 
They’ve got some bungalows. 
Yeah, the back of the roadhouse, 
They’ve got some bungalows. 

They dance for the people 
Who like to go down slow. 

Let it roll, baby, roll. 
Let it roll, baby, roll. 
Let it roll, baby, roll. 
Let it roll, all night long. 

Do it, Robby, Do it! 

You gotta roll, roll, roll, 
You gotta thrill my soul, alright. 
Roll, roll, roll, roll-a 
Thrill my soul. 

*improv* 
Passionate Lady. 
Passionate Lady. 
Give up your vows. 
Give up your vows. 
Save our city. 
Save our city. 
Ah, right now. 

Well, I woke up this morning 
And I got myself a beer. 
Well, I woke up this morning 
And I got myself a beer. 

The future’s uncertain 
And the end is always near. 

Let it roll, baby, roll. 
Let it roll, baby, roll. 
Let it roll, baby, roll. 
Let it roll, all night long.

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

4 thoughts on “Doors – Roadhouse Blues”

  1. I am like you not a big fan of The Doors {I do have all their albums though} this I agree is one of their better songs. They had their moments- in my opinion they had three really good albums- The Doors/ Strange Days/ LA Woman.. the others were spotty at best- this was one of the few highlights on Morrison Hotel.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, somewhat like you I had a Doors phase – around when the Oliver Stone movie was out, when I’d have been early-20s.Still like them quite a bit though, but honestly for me, I like their more psychedelic, organ-driven stuff better than their blues numbers. But they were good in doing classic blues-rock and showed a lot of range.

    Liked by 1 person

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