With their second album the Doobie Brothers have made the big jump into the majors. If there were such a thing as futures in Doobie Bros. T-shirts, I would rush out and pick up a coupla gross. This band is playing up there in the same league as, say, the Allman Brothers. Unlike the original membership of the latter fraternal organization, the Doobies are brothers in name and spirit only. Like the Allmans, they emit mellow yet rocking melodies featuring lacy guitar playing and a contagious back beatyou can't lose it. Theirs is a delicately... Read More
textured sound, even at its most raucous, resting on the tensile interplay of acoustic and electric instruments as well as some flawlessly woven vocal harmonies.
The emergence into the front ranks of the euphoniously titled Doobies should come as no surprise to anyone who has heard their first album, released early last year. One side consisted of variations on a theme, five explorations of the possibilities of acoustical boogie music using the same instrumentation with similar motifs and lyrical imagery. Though their attempts fell short of brilliance, lead guitarist Tom Johnston and rhythm guitarist Pat Simmons were provided with a framework in which to display the flowing symmetry of their blues-tinged runs. The albums' second side delved into electric music with uneven though intriguing results.
The unoriginal hype that they were a Hell's Angels band (does anyone really care?) and the underwhelming response of the critics gave the Doobies a reprieve from the publicity spotlight and time to continue their growth as an extremely danceable dance band in the San Jose area. They replaced their original bassist (the parting seems to have been amicable, since he plays on two cuts of the new record) and added a second drummer to augment their sound with still another element of symmetry.
The Doobies open with an invitation to "Listen to the Music." No RSVP is necessary, as can be attested to by the song's popularity on the singles charts. "Listen to the Music" indicates how far the Doobies have come since their first recorded effort. They used the same opening riff then on a song titled "Feelin' Down Farther," an uninspired rocker full of their standard references to new days abornin' and feelings changing day by day. On "Listen to the Music" they've transferred the riff from muddy electric guitar to crystalline acoustic and, though they still persist in singing an opening line about "growing day by day," they've added a level to their lyrics by relating their universe of rising suns and new days to the soothing powers of the music. They throw in a dash of intelligently used phase distortion (not heard since the early days of psychedelia) to act as a bridge into a verse celebrating the brave new whirl of audible contentment and add an extra sonic dimension as well.
If 1972 has brought little else to Rock, it has revived the travellin' song and, as a corollary, tunes about specifi