Sunday, 5 August 2018

The Doobie Brothers - The Captain And Me (1973)


  

Released March 1973

The Doobie Brothers third album was possibly their best, certainly their most successful. It has a successful balance between vibrant piano and guitar-driven rockers and tender, country-style ballads. There were Allman Brothers bluesy rockers mixed with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young/The Byrds style lyrical, relaxing country airs. The Eagles put out albums with a very similar mix during the same period, which was an extremely fertile one for this type of music. This type of music dominated the US airwaves at this time.

TRACK LISTING

1. Natural Thing
2. Long Train Runnin'
3, China Grove
4. Dark Eyed Cajun Woman
5. Clear As The Driven Snow
6. Without You
7. South City Midnight Lady
8. Evil Woman
9. Busted Down Around O'Connelly Corners
10. Ukiah
11. The Captain And Me

"Natural Thing" is a mid-pace, typical freeway AOR rock song, full of harmonised vocals and a potent drum sound. Two big, well-known tracks are next - "Long Train Runnin'" with its addictive funky, guitar-strumming intro, fantastic rhythm and catchy hook and the magnificent, effervescent rock of "China Grove". Both of these are superb tracks and very representative of The Doobie Brothers' sounds at this time. "Dark Eyed Cajun Woman" is a bluesy, Southern-influenced rock song, with hints of both The Eagles and Free in places, the former in the instrumentation and ambience, the latter in the gritty vocals. It has an excellent guitar solo in it too. "Clear As The Driven Snow" is a folky, acoustic song that sounds like some of the acoustic passages on "Led Zeppelin III". It has a powerful rock part at the end, though.

"Without You" is a pounding, copper-bottomed riffy rocker. It is energetic and very catchy, once again. "South City Midnight Lady" is a beautiful Eagles-like country ballad, which still has time for some clever, melodic guitar work in the final third. "Evil Woman" is an intense rocker, with a strangely unclear, muffled sound, which could have done with some better production, to be honest. "Busted Down" is a short acoustic guitar-picking interlude, before the upbeat, lively "Ukiah", with its rustic lyrics. More searingly cutting guitar features here. The title track ends this enjoyable album with its folky, CSNY-style, light, airy melody. There is a lovely, subtle bass line underpins this one. It is quite an adventurous, inventive track. There have been quite a few changes in mood and pace on what is actually quite a short album, making for an enjoyable 41 minutes.

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