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Doobie Brothers, The: The Captain And Me / What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits (reissue)

The second in the current series of Doobie Brothers reissues from Edsel pairs together The Captain And Me, first released in 1973 and What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits from the following year. Issued just nine months after Toulouse Street, The Captain And Me retained the core line-up of Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, John Hartman, Tiran Porter and Michael Hossack, whilst also featuring contributions from Steely Dan's Jeff "Skunk" Baxter on pedal steel and Little Feat's Bill Payne on keyboards.

Building on the success of the previous record, The Captain And Me saw the Doobies breach the Billboard Top 10 for the first time, hitting a peak of # 7. Both singles would also enjoy considerable chart success, "China Grove" reaching # 15 and "Long Train Runnin'" climbing to # 7 and in the process becoming two of the defining songs from the first phase of their career. The latter began life as the improvised instrumental "Osborn" before being re-worked at the insistence of producer Ted Templeman and remains a staple of heritage FM airwaves. The original eleven songs are a consistent and balanced selection between the trademark driving county-rock anthems and mellow, laid-back acoustic pieces that really encapsulates the Doobies in all of their pre-Michael McDonald glory. After the opening three numbers provide a busy start Johnston gets soulful and smouldering on the glorious "Dark Eyed Cajun Woman" to which Simmons later offers his own twisted response with "South City Midnight Lady". An essential part of any classic album collection, The Captain And Me closes with the anthemic title track that builds to a soaring crescendo. Three further mixes of "Long Train Runnin'" are added as bonus tracks.

The concert photo on the cover suggests that What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits contains a live album as opposed to what in fact was studio album number four. Michael Hossack departed during the recording process and the Doobies were back down to a core quartet but with added contributions from Payne, Baxter and The Memphis Horns. The album peaked at #4 and whilst "Another Park, Another Sunday" and "Eyes of Silver" were only moderate hits, "Black Water" went all the way to the summit of the Billboard charts and selling over a million copies in the process. A Pat Simmons composition (and the first of his songs to be chosen as a single), "Black Water" is the Doobies at their aching swamp-rock best with the viola solo giving providing that additional quirk. Conversely, the horn section is very much at the forefront on funky opener "Song to See you Through", the urgent "Eyes of Silver" and the extended jamming of "You Just Can't Stop It". It may not be as fondly remembered as its predecessor but What Were Once Vices is still a fine album and this pairing makes for the perfect opportunity to rediscover some of the finest musical moments of the 1970's.

Track Listing
The Captain and Me
1.Natural Thing
2.Long Train Runnin'
3.China Grove
4.Dark Eyed Cajun Woman
5.Clear As The Driven Snow
6.Without You
7.South City Midnight Lady
8.Evil Woman
9.Busted Down Around O ' Connelly Corners
11.The Captain And Me
12.Long Train Runnin' (Sure Is Pure mix)
13.Long Train Runnin' (Full Guitar mix)
14.Long Train Runnin' (Done On A Shoestring mix)

What Once Were Vices Are Now Habits
1.Song To See You Through
3.Pursuit On 53rd Street
4.Black Water
5.Eyes Of Silver
6.Road Angel
7.You Just Can't Stop It
8.Tell Me What You Want (And I'll Give You What You Need)
9.Down In The Track
10.Another Park, Another Sunday
11.Daughters Of The Sea
12.Flying Cloud

Added: September 11th 2011
Reviewer: Dean Pedley
Related Link: Demon Music Group
Hits: 2863
Language: english

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