“Roadhouse Blues” opens up the Doors fifth studio LP with the band firing on all cylinders. Although Morrison Hotel was touted as a ‘blues’ album, this tune is one of the few tracks that fully bear that statement to fruition. Likewise, Jim Morrison had not yet lost his erotic bravado and magnetic arrogant swagger -- which he indeed exudes throughout the album, especially here. Augmenting the quartet are legendary blues guitarist Lonnie Mack -- who is uncharacteristically sporting a bass on this recording -- and some mean Chicago-style harp blowin’ from one G. Puglese -- who is better known as former Lovin’ Spoonful leader John B. Sebastian.
Morrison’s lyrics -- while perfectly matched to the song’s bar room/college dorm atmosphere -- seem atypically negligible at first. However, below that veneer lies some of his most authentically sexually charged images -- true to the spirit of both Morrison and the blues. Lines such as “Yeah, the back of the roadhouse/they got some bungalows/And That’s For The People who Like To Go Down Slow”, and the prototypical blues howl “You’ve got to roll, roll, roll/You’ve got to thrill my soul, all right” simultaneously hearken back to the basics of blues, yet retain a unique sense of Morrison’s inimitable poetry. Instrumentally, between Robbie Krieger’s stinging guitar inflections and accents, and winding through Ray Manzarek’s full throttle piano pounding, the cohesive nature of the Doors as a musical unit may have been arguably equalled, but never surpassed their efforts on “Roadhouse Blues”.
The song quickly became a performance favourite and was revived for the series of post-Miami concerts as well. The archival Live in Detroit (Cobo Hall, 05/08/1970) (2000) features a fiery version as does the Bright Midnight: Live in America sampler which contains an incendiary performance from Boston.