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Archive for September 2nd, 2011

Listen To The Music: Doobie Brothers Catalogue Expanded In The U.K.

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Are you ready to listen to the music?

If you are, you’re in for quite a treat.  The U.K.’s Edsel label has just launched a series of expanded Doobie Brothers remasters, encompassing the band’s first eight studio albums (1971-1978) as four 2-CD packages.  Doobie Brothers/Toulouse Street and The Captain and Me/What Once Were Vices were just released this past Monday, while Stampede/Takin’ It to the Streets and Livin’ On The Fault Line/Minute by Minute follow on September 26.  These eight albums nearly represent the entirety of the band’s pre-retirement career; only 1980’s One Step Closer and the live Farewell Tour (1983) would follow before The Doobies took a hiatus of almost seven years.  Each Edsel edition has added bonus material such as demos, single versions and extended remixes for what should be a definitive Doobie reissue program.  Many of these tracks previously appeared on the Doobies’ 1999 Rhino box set Long Train Runnin’, and are now being appended to their proper albums.

Though the Doobie Brothers lineup changed with some frequency, the spirit of musical camaraderie remained, seeing the group through sixteen Top 40 singles (including two at No. 1), seven platinum albums and two Grammy Awards.  The band was originally formed by Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, John Hartman and Dave Shogren; Hartman and Johnston had previously played an outfit named Pud, while Simmons was a member of the band Scratch.  Warner Bros. Records’ Lenny Waronker (The Beau Brummels, Randy Newman, Harper’s Bizarre) produced with Ted Templeman, and Waronker may have influenced the group to take a primarily acoustic direction for their self-titled 1971 debut.  Although “Nobody” had potential as a hit, the Doobies’ debut went largely unnoticed, and Shogren was replaced by Tiran Porter; Mike Hossack joined, supplementing Hartman as second drummer.  Templeman encouraged the Doobies to pursue a harder Southern rock muse despite their California origins.  The formula worked.  Toulouse Street (1972) included both the AM hit “Listen to the Music” and “Jesus Is Just Alright,” eventually going platinum.  Its follow-up, The Captain and Me (1973), boasted “Long Train Runnin’,” another Tom Johnston song that even bested the chart placement of Johnston’s “Listen to the Music.”  The songwriter/singer/guitarist was on a roll, with “China Grove” another hit from the album.

It was natural that another Tom Johnston song would be selected as lead single for 1974’s What Once Were Vices Are Now Habits, but “Another Park, Another Sunday” failed to repeat the success of its predecessors.  But the band had an ace up its sleeve with Patrick Simmons’ “Black Water.”  The song became the band’s first number one.  Hossack departed the group during the recording of the album, though, and was replaced with the Bay Area drummer Keith Knudsen.  Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of Steely Dan was brought in before recording commenced on 1975’s Stampede, featuring the Holland/Dozier/Holland “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me)” as its first single.  The Steely Dan connection would soon figure prominently in Doobies lore.

We’ve got much, much more after the jump, including full track listings and discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 2, 2011 at 11:02