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Doobie Brothers, The: Stampede / Takin' It To The Streets (reissue)

The latest pairing of reissued albums from the Doobie Brothers sees 1975's Stampede coupled with the transitional Takin' It To The Streets from the following year. The latter marked the arrival of Michael McDonald and the most obvious shift in the bands style. For Stampede, however, Tom Johnston was still at the helm with the line-up of Johnston, Simmons, Porter and Hartman joined by new drummer Keith Knudsen and also Jeff "Skunk" Baxter was elevated to full time member status. The album climbed as high as #4 on Billboard albeit the most successful single, a groovy cover of Motown's "Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)" peaked outside the Top 10 at #11. Simmons earnest, Civil War-inspired, "I Cheat The Hangman" is far and away the most ambitious track with its orchestrated coda showing how far the band and producer Ted Templeman were prepared to go in developing their sound. Elsewhere the laid back country blues of "Rainy Day Crossroad Blues" nestles comfortably alongside the gritty roots rock of "I Been Workin' On You" and bouncy opener "Sweet Maxine". It may not be as fondly remembered as its predecessors but Stampede is an album worthy of rediscovery, bursting with musical creativity and as the last to be dominated by the songs of Johnston and Simmons it also represents the end of an era. For this version Edsel have dug out some bonus mixes and demos to extend the running order to sixteen.

Ill health prevented Johnston from playing a full part on the Stampede tour and at the recommendation of Baxter, fellow Steel Dan alumnus Michael McDonald was drafted in on keyboards, vocals and to provide additional songwriting skills for Takin' It To The Streets. The extended and jazzed up opener "Wheels of Fortune" laid down the marker for what was to follow with Baxter's guitar dovetailing with the Memphis Horns. This is immediately followed by McDonald's sophisticated vocal debut on the title track, serving as the introduction to his blend of mellow laid back funk with which this incarnation of the Doobies would become renowned for. Johnston wasn't entirely absent although his sole songwriting credit, "Turn It Loose" is effectively a farewell to the Doobies of the past, sandwiched between McDonald's heartfelt "It Keeps You Runnin'" and soulful "Carry Me Away". The record buying public of 1976 welcomed this new look Doobies as the album reached #8 and the title track #13. For the Doobies this was evidence that the band had a future without Johnston and this radically different approach would propel them forward to even greater success.

Track Listing
CD 1: Stampede
1.Sweet Maxine
2.Neal's Fandango
3.Texas Lullaby 4.Music Man
5.Slat Key Soquel Rag
6.Take Me In Your Arms
7.I Cheat The Hangman
9.Rainy Day Crossroad Blues
10.I Been Workin' On You
11.Double Dealin' Four Flusher
12.Sweet Maxine [single remix]
13.Mambo Waltz
14.Outside Of Barstow
15.Argentine Grape (Sweet Maxine)
16.Shuffle (Double Dealin' Four Flusher)

CD 2: Takin' It to the Streets
1.Wheels Of Fortune
2.Takin' It To The Streets
3.8th Avenue Shuffle
4.Losin' End
6.For Someone Special
7.It Keeps You Runnin'
8.Turn It Loose
9.Carry Me Away
10.Takin' It To The Streets [demo]
11.We Would Sail Away (Saint Paul)

Added: October 1st 2011
Reviewer: Dean Pedley
Related Link: Demon Music Group
Hits: 1943
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Doobie Brothers, The: Stampede / Takin' It To The Streets (reissue)
Posted by ??? on 2011-10-03 14:10:08
My Score:

If you want the ultimate version of Takin' It To The Streets you need to purchase the MoFi sacd that was issued about a year or so ago. It is definitive.

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