The Captain And Me (Remastered) Doobie Brothers
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- 1Natural Thing03:19
- 2Long Train Runnin'03:27
- 3China Grove03:17
- 4Dark Eyed Cajun Woman04:13
- 5Clear As The Driven Snow05:18
- 6Without You05:01
- 7South City Midnight Lady05:29
- 8Evil Woman03:19
- 9Busted Down Around O'Connelly Corners00:48
- 11The Captain And Me04:48
Info for The Captain And Me (Remastered)
Building on the success of the previous record, 'The Captain And Me' saw the Doobie Brothers 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.
The Doobie Brothers are a mainstream rock band with a few crucial limitations and a knack of making good records despite their flaws. Their big hit of a few months ago, 'Listen to the Music,' displayed both: Leader Tom Johnston has a full catalog of compelling electric and acoustic guitar riffs, and in the single he puts a bunch of these to use, most importantly in his intro, a modified version of the beginning of Stevie Wonder's 'For Once in My Life;' the instrumental arrangement, spirited but buoyant, is practically irresistible, and the Doobies put it together with precision. What makes the song so irritating after repeated listenings (I've never seen a volume-raiser become a station switcher so quickly) are the affectedly funky singing by Johnston and backup and the shallowness of the song itself. 'Ohohoh, listen to the music,' and the rest of the things-are-getting-better-day-by-day lyric would wear down even the most optimistic AMer after two or three weeks of hourly exposure, and, once you get past the nice guitar chording and double drumming, there isn't much music to explore. Like all the music of the Doobie Brothers, it has its attractions, but you shouldn't ask too much of it.
The Captain and Me is the best of the group's three albums; it's greatly superior to the last, the overdone Toulouse Street, from which the single was taken, and it's better played, arranged and produced than the first record, The Doobie Brothers, which had the best material. The Doobies have become an unusually polished recording group with an identifiable style: paired acoustic and electric rhythm work by Johnston and Pat Simmons, with Johnston adding well-placed lead lines for tension-building, a dense but never ponderous rhythmic punch provided by drummers John Hartman and Michael Hossack and bass player Tiran Porter, and, above all, the chugging rhythm, the slick, trebly Johnston lead vocals and group harmonies.
The first two tracks are variations on 'Listen to the Music,' with those syncopated lines and dumb lyrics ('We all got to be loved...' and 'Without love/Where would you be now?'), and there's a third variation later on. There are a couple of quieter tunes by Simmons: one, 'South City Midnight Lady,' a rather pretty whore-with-a-heart-of-gold song in country-rock dress, the other, 'Clear As the Driven Snow,' in which the group adds wind sound effects and jingle bells in an attempt to evoke a mood that's already amply provided by a lovely Johnston guitar solo. There's also an ugly high-energy track complete with shrieking, echoed harmonies, a Redbone-'Witchy Woman' takeoff (this may be a new genre), and the title song, a more lyrical version of the standard Doobie rhythm number.
In the two best tracks here, 'China Grove' and 'Without You,' the band changes things around by using full, ringing electric chordings instead of the usual acoustic and low-volume electric rhythm, and by keeping the lead singing rough and spontaneous-sounding. The sound on each track is so explosive that it won't occur to you to find out what the song is about, and de-emphasizing their basic material is something the Doobies should do more often (as it happens, 'China Grove' turns out to have the strongest lyric on the album, once you've dug it out of the crunching chords).
Neither Johnston (who writes most of the songs) nor Simmons is more than adequate as a songwriter, and Johnston's whiny and emotionally thin singing doesn't do much to improve the material. But the Doobie Brothers have plenty of style, and that style turns what would otherwise be a throwaway into an entertaining album. (Bud Scoppa, Rolling Stone, 1973)
The Doobie Brothers:
Tom Johnston, guitars, harmonica, vocals
Pat Simmons, guitars, arp, vocals
John Hartman, drums, percussion, vocals
Tiran Porter, bass guitar, vocals
Michael Hossack, drums, congas, timbales
Bill Payne, piano, organ
Jeffrey Baxter, pedal steel guitar
Nick DeCaro, string arrangements
Malcom Cecil and Robert Margouleff, ARP synthesizer programming
Produced by Ted Templeman
Engineered by Don Landee
Recorded at Warner Bros. Recording Studios (North Hollywood)
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