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Doobie Brothers, The: The Doobie Brothers / Toulouse Street (reissue)

If ever there was a band that has proven virtually impossible to place in a specific genre then it has to be The Doobie Brothers who have been termed country, pop, soul, funk and rock over the course of their forty year history. These latest reissues courtesy of Edsel pair two albums apiece across four double CD sets taking in the bands first eight studio releases from the period 1971 1978. The addition of a good selection of bonus cuts and detailed liner notes ensures that this is a project that has been given due care and attention, serving as both a comprehensive introduction for newcomers and offering value for money for long-term admirers.

The bands eponymous debut album (1971) featured the line up of drummer John Hartman, guitarists and vocalists Pat Simmons and Tom Johnston and the soon to be departed bassist Dave Shogren. Having spent some time touring around California the Doobies had developed a following amongst the Hells Angels chapters and the cover image shows them posing in leather-jacketed attire and looking suitably moody. Like so many debuts the music itself evidences a group that was still developing its sound and style and the overall feel is very loose and laid back with Johnston and Simmons trading acoustic licks on the ballads "Travelin' Man" and "Closer Every Day" . The album also marked the start of a long and successful partnership with producer Ted Templeman who has been at the helm throughout their career. Creedence-esque chugging rhythms are in abundance with lead track "Nobody", "Greenwood Creek" and Randy Newman's "Beehive State" amongst the other highpoints. Unreleased demos and an early version of later hit single "Long Train Running" (entitled "Osborn") increase the total number of songs to a weighty twenty-one.

Commercial success came the way of the Doobies with Toulouse Street (1972) aided by the Billboard #11 chart single, Johnston's "Listen to the Music", that would arguably go on to become their signature song. Expanding to a five-piece Tiran Porter had assumed bass duties and the addition of Michael Hossack began the bands trademark "dual drummers" sound. Toulouse Street is an altogether much heavier record than its predecessor as they shift through the gears on epic blues rock workout "Disciple" and the urgent "Rockin' down the Highway". Marking the differences in approach between himself and Johnston, Simmons two contributions are the reggae flavoured "Mamaloi" and stretched out harmonies of the title track. Elsewhere they diversify even further by adding horns to Sonny Boy Williamson's "Don't Start Me To Talkin" and flirting with gospel on second single "Jesus Is Just Alright". Whilst the debut is certainly appealing in parts Toulouse Street proves to be the more consistent effort ensuring that the band were regarded as one of the most original new artists of the period. This review is just the start of our Doobies reissue coverage and the remaining Edsel releases will be featured here very soon.

Track Listing
The Doobie Brothers
1 Nobody
2 Slippery St. Paul
3 Greenwood Creek
4 It Won't Be Right
5 Travelin' Man
6 Feelin' Down Farther
7 The Master
8 Growin' A Little Each Day
9 The Beehive State
10 Closer Every Day
11 Chicago
12 Nobody [single remix]
13 Daughters Of The Sea [demo]
14 Armadillo Death Chant
15 Osborne (Long Train Running)
16 Four Days Gone
17 Spiel
18 Lovin' My Way Back Home
19 Pat's Song
20 Bluejay
21 Peace In The Valley

Toulouse Street
1 Listen To The Music
2 Rockin' Down The Highway
3 Mamaloi
4 Toulouse Street
5 Cotton Mouth
6 Don't Start Me Talkin'
7 Jesus Is Just Alright
8 White Sun
9 Disciple
10 Snake Man
11 Listen To The Music [single remix]
12 Rockin' Down The Highway [single remix]
13 Listen To The Music [Steve Rodway extended remix]

Added: September 1st 2011
Reviewer: Dean Pedley
Related Link: Demon Music Group
Hits: 2445
Language: english

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