Sunday, 30 December 2018

The Doobie Brothers - Livin' On The Fault Line (1977)

Nothin' but a heartache....


Released August 1977

This is a very laid-back, easy-going AOR-oriented album. Released at the height of punk, it was about as far from punk as could be. A lot of the Eagles-style barnstorming country rock has disappeared from The Doobies' sound by now, replaced by a cool, sophisticated, polished sound. They had definitely set out their stall now to produce a slicker, more commercial, adult radio sound.


1. You're Made That Way
2. Echoes Of Love
3. Little Darling (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                      

"You're Made That Way" is a jazzy, rhythmic Steely Dan ("Aja -era) style number, with a real easy listening soulful groove to it. The AOR feel continues with the breezy, harmonious, West Coast-ish "Echoes Of Love". "Little Darling ( I Need You)" is a lively, catchy, toe-tapping singalong rocker. It is a cover of a Marvin Gaye song from the sixties. "You Belong To Me" is a slow-tempo keyboard-powered piece of soulful balladry with more Steely Dan/Donald Fagen vibes blowing around. It is a classic late night number. "Livin' On The Fault Line" is a samba-influenced offering with a gentle rhythm and vocal to it. It features some sumptuous jazz guitar as well and some jazzy "vibes" sounds.

"Nothin' But A Heartache" explores the laid-back furrow once again, with a sweet, deep soul vocal from Michael McDonald. "Chinatown" is an atmospheric, shuffling jazzy, slightly funky number. The instrumentation on this, and indeed on all the album is top notch. It is one of the group's instrumentally finest offerings.

"There's A Light" continues the smoochy, soully feel with some fetching harmonica in the middle. "Need A Lady" is a funky grinder with bags of atmosphere. The album closes with a short piece of finger picking guitar in "Larry The Logger Two-Step". Overall, this is a pleasant album for a listen of an evening.


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