Rhino/Bright Midnight ArchivesA limited-edition box set called London Fog 1966 that features The Doors‘ earliest known live recording gets its release today. The package includes a CD featuring seven songs that the band played at one of its very first gigs, a May ’66 show at the Los Angeles dive bar the London Fog.

Doors drummer John Densmore tells ABC Radio that the London Fog performance offers “a skeleton look at what we would become.” At the show, the band played a covers-heavy set that included tunes by Muddy Waters, Little Richard, Wilson Pickett and Big Joe Williams, as well as early versions of two original Doors songs — “Strange Days” and “You Make Me Real.”

While the recording captures the band before it reached the height of its powers, Densmore says it features one of the key elements that defined the group’s performances and sound.

“One thing I think that comes through on this London Fog set is a sense of dynamics,” he notes. “It’s a little sloppy and raw, but rather than playing at one level, we’ll play real strong and real soft and everything in between.”

Densmore also points out that you can’t miss Ray Manzarek‘s unique keyboard playing, adding that Jim Morrison‘s trademark baritone voice “was coming along.”

In addition to the seven-track CD, the London Fog 1966 collection features a 10-inch vinyl disc with the same tunes, and various pieces of facsimile memorabilia, including a poster, a handwritten set list by Densmore, a London Fog coaster and eight-by-10-inch prints of photos of the band performing at the bar.

As Densmore jokingly tells ABC Radio about the package, “The only thing that’s lacking is the smell of stale beer on shag carpet. If we could somehow include that in this then you’d really have everything and be there.”

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