Monday, 17 October 2011

"The Doobie Brothers/Toulouse Street" by THE DOOBIE BROTHERS (2011 Edsel 2CD Reissue and Remasters with Bonus Tracks) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…We Got To Let The Music Play…"

Bit of a bargain this one to say the bleeding least. Two forgotten but brilliant Doobie Brothers 70ts albums featuring their ace Lead Guitarist – Tom Johnston – and both bolstered up with cool Bonus Tracks and utterly Amazing Audio/presentation. What’s not to love - here are the ‘Listen To The Music’ details...

UK released 29 August 2011 (6 September 2011 in the USA) – "The Doobie Brothers/Toulouse Street" by THE DOOBIE BROTHERS on Edsel/Rhino EDSD 2104 (Barcode 740155210434) offers 2LPs onto 2CDs with Bonus Tracks and breaks down as follows...

Disc 1 (71:41 minutes):
1. Nobody
2. Slippery St. Paul
3. Greenwood Creek
4. It Won’t Be Right
5. Travelin’ Man
6. Feelin’ Down Farther [Side 2]
7. The Master
8. Growin’ A Little Each Day
9. Beehive State
10. Closer Every Day
11. Chicago
Tracks 1 to 11 are their debut studio album "The Doobie Brothers" - released April 1971 on Warner Brothers BS 1919 in the USA and on Warner Brothers K 46090 in the UK

12. Nobody (Single Remix)
13. Daughters Of The Sea (Demo)
14. Armadillo Death Chant
15. Osbourne (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
Tracks 12 to 21 first appeared on the 1999 4CD Rhino Box Set "Long Train Runnin': 1970-2000".
Track 12 is their April 1971 debut US 45 "Nobody" on Warner Brothers WB 7495. Tracks 13 to 16 and 17 to 21 are studio outtakes from the first album recorded 9 July 1971 and 6 October 1971 respectively

Disc 2 (48:16 minutes):
1. Listen To The Music
2. Rockin’ Down The Highway
3. Mamaloi
4. Toulouse Street
5. Cotton Mouth
6. Don’t Start Me Talkin’ [Side 2]
7. Jesus Is Just Alright
8. White Sun
9. Disciple
10. Snake Man
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 2nd studio album "Toulouse Street" - released July 1972 on Warner Brothers BS 2634 in the USA and Warner Brothers K 46183 in the UK (reached number 21 on the US album charts)

11. Listen To The Music (Single Remix)
12. Rockin’ Down The Highway (Single Remix)
13. Listen To The Music (Steve Rodway Extended Remix)
The US 45s for "Listen To The Music" released August 1972 on Warner Brothers WB 7619 and "Rockin' Down The Highway" released December 1972 on Warner Brothers WB 7661 (B-side of "Jesus Is Just Alright").
Track 13 is "Listen To The Music (Steve Rodway Extended Remix)" released April 1994 in the UK on Warner Brothers W0228T (12”) and W0228CD (CD single)  

The booklet apes the others in this series (a great deal more substantial than what's gone before) - 24-pages feature original album artwork (including the inner gatefold sleeve of "Toulouse Street"), the lyrics (a first for both LPs), musician credits and an informative 6-page history by ALAN ROBINSON on both albums and their impact. It's superbly done. A small mistake is that both albums were originally on the 'Tan' Warner Brothers label in both countries - they've pictured the late Seventies cream label for "The Doobie Brothers" and the 'Burbank' label for "Toulouse Street" (which is a mid-Seventies). But aside from these niggles, the really big news is the fabulous new SOUND...

I've had all of the 2006 Japanese Remasters (in 5" card repro sleeves) to have the music - but here the remaster by PHIL KINRADE at ALCHEMY in London is stunning and far better. The clarity is amazing. The first LP is a little hissy in places fro sure, but by the time you get to “Toulouse Street” Ted Templeman’s production values are amazing and fully realized in the transfer. His name has long been associated with the band (and later on with Van Halen).

Their debut album is a mixture of the ordinary and the inspired – a band launching itself – a group getting there. Their debut US 7" single "Nobody" is a great starting point for any career and set up their "Doobie' sound for the first half of the Seventies. The wonderfully slinky acoustics of "Slippery St. Paul" is another firm fan favourite. Their cover of Randy Newman's "Beehive State" hints at the Rock of the 1973 album masterpiece "The Captain And Me", but better is the two finishers by Patrick Simmons – "Closer Every Day" and "Chicago". The extras were all on the 4CD Rhino box of 1999 so if you couldn’t afford that – they are a clever addition here. "Daughters Of The Sea" finally surfaced on their 4th album "What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits" in 1974 while "Osborne" is an early version of their most famous song – "Long Train Runnin'" that would eventually turn on their 3rd album "The Captain And Me".

If their debut promised much then "Toulouse Street" delivered. It was rewarded with an album chart placing of 21 on the strength of two hugely commercial singles - "Listen To The Music" (lyrics above) and "Jesus Is Just Alright" (a 1966 gospel song written by Albert Reid Reynolds that was a minor single for The Byrds in 1969). These incredibly catchy songs charted at 11 and 35 respectively and established the Doobies as Adult Rock Radio staples. Their cover of the Seals and Crofts song "Cotton Mouth" is excellent while they just about pull off a version of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Don’t Start Me Talking". Better still is the lovely Jamaica shuffle of "Mamaloi" and the truly excellent "Toulouse Street" (both Patrick Simmons songs). The title track has graced many a 70’s Fest CD I’ve made. The acoustic blues feel of "Snake Man" finishes the album in style – and sounds incredible. The two 'Single Remixes' are helpful inclusions, but the truly awful 90's Remix of "Listen To The Music" may evoke murderous tendencies in even the most pacifistic of fans – a travesty best forgotten. The "Jesus Is Just Alright" 7" single was a shorter edit than the full album version – and that would have been a more appropriate last track.

So there you have it. Doobie Brothers fans have waited decades to see their band's back catalogue on Warner Brothers be given the right reissue treatment - and England's Edsel label (who have struck a licensing deal with WEA) has done them proud.

To sum up – albums that deserves a second chance, superb remastering, genuine bonuses, tasteful presentation and all topped off with a dirt-cheap price. Buy the lot in confidence.

PS: there are 4 releases in this series to date (all with bonus tracks):
1. The Doobie Brothers (1971) / Toulouse Street (1972) on Edsel EDSD 2104
2. The Captain And Me (1973) / What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits (1974) on Edsel EDSD 2105
3. Stampede (1975) / Takin' It To The Streets (1976) on Edsel EDSD 2106
4. Livin' On The Fault Line (1977) / Minute By Minute (1978) on Edsel EDSD 2107

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