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Doobie Brothers, The: Livin' On The Fault Line / Minute By Minute (reissue)

This pairing of Livin' On The Fault Line and Minute By Minute marks the final release what is an excellent Doobie Brothers reissue series from Edsel that encompasses the bands first eight studio albums. If Takin' It To The Streets (1976) can be classed as their transitional record then by the following year and Livin' On The Fault Line the Doobies were now fully rejuvenated with no songwriting credits for the departing Tom Johnston. After making a partial contribution to ...Streets Michael McDonald's soulful tones are the principal voice on its follow-up which reached #10 on the Billboard Charts albeit surprisingly included no hit singles. Johnston may have gone but Patrick Simmons remained a key part of the Doobies past and present and his innovative guitar work with Jeff Skunk Baxter is highlighted throughout, notably on the title track and "Echoes of Love". The smooth sound and slick production is a long way removed from the leather jacketed biker image that the band portrayed on debut album Toulouse Street but The Doobie Brothers of 1977 were a very different proposition. McDonald's co-write with Carly Simon, "You Belong To Me" is a wonderful example of well-crafted pop and the tender ballad "There's A Light" features the vocalist at his most mellow. An often overlooked record in a distinguished back catalogue, Livin'... contains some fine moments that are worthy of rediscovery.

And so to 1978 and the chart-topping Minute By Minute, an album that spawned the Doobies biggest hit single in "What A Fool Believes" (which also reached the summit of the charts and rewarded the band with two Grammys). On the songwriting front the split was still roughly 50/50 between McDonald and Simmons aided by a number of outside collaborators (including Kenny Loggins on "What A Fool..."). There is a rich sophistication that runs right through this record from the urgent funk of the opening "Here To Love You" until the closing "How Do The Fools Survive" where Baxter gets a rare opportunity to showcase his talents which are largely marginalised here. The one moment that does jar with the rest is the bluegrass instrumental "Steamer Lane Breakdown" that demonstrates both the bands virtuosity and that they were still prepared to throw in a curve ball from time to time. But overall Minute By Minute was an album for those that had never heard of Punk back in 1978, nestling next to Rumours and Hotel California in record collections on both sides of the Atlantic. The Doobie Brothers journey would continue but this undoubtedly represented their commercial peak. With extensive liner notes to accompany the music Edsel have done a first class job with the Doobies back catalogue check out the link below for details of this collection and their other re-issue projects.

Track Listing
Disc: 1
1. You're Made That Way
2. Echoes Of Love
3. Little Darlin' (I Need You)
4. You Belong To Me
5. Livin' On The Fault Line
6. Nothin' But A Heartache
7. Chinatown
8. There's A Light
9. Need A Lady
10. Larry The Logger Two - Step

Disc: 2
1. Here To Love You
2. What A Fool Believes
3. Minute By Minute
4. Dependin' On You
5. Don't Stop To Watch
6. The Wheels
7. Open Your Eyes
8. Sweet Feelin'
9. Steamer Lane Breakdown
10. You Never Change
11. How Do The Fools Survive?
12. Here To Love You [single remix]
13. What A Fool Believes [12" remix]

Added: October 28th 2011
Reviewer: Dean Pedley
Related Link: Edsel
Hits: 3126
Language: english

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