Monday, 31 December 2018

The Doobie Brothers - One Step Closer (1980)

Keep this train a-rollin'....


Released October 1980

This was the last album from The Doobie Brothers as such. There were some later "reunion" ones, with slightly different line-ups, that appeared over a decade later, but, to all intents and purposes, this was the end of the line. It is a pretty uninspired album, played with technically brilliant musicianship and easy listening sound quality, it just lacks that certain something that had been present in their previous albums. It was solidly an AOR, late-night, polished soul/rock album. However, it was also, by now, sounding very formulaic. It is all very pleasant and you cannot object to it while listening, but the previous albums all had far more to offer.


1. Dedicate This Heart
2. Real Love
3. No Stoppin' Us Now
4. Thank You Love
5. One Step Closer
6. Keep This Train A-Rollin'
7. Just In Time
8. South Bay Strut
9. One By One                            

Dedicate This Heart is a smooth, soulful opener, while Real Love is a bit of a What A Fool Believes remake, although it features a sumptuous saxophone solo, it has to be said. No Stopping' Us Now has a pretty intoxicating groove to it, full of white funk licks. It is probably the strongest cut on the album. Thank You Love is standard, laid-back, sweet soul with great vocals and rhythm, but you feel they could do this sort of thing in their sleep. It does have a fetching bit of jazzy piano in it, however, and saxophone too. There is also some good percussion near the end.

One Step Closer has some lively saxophone in its intro and an appealing vocal. It is a poppily catchy number. Keep This Train A-Rollin' is very early eighties in its synthesised backing and, although pleasant enough, is nothing special. As on most of the tracks, it is the saxophone which raises it up in places. Just In Time is a short, funky-ish number with some good Latin-influenced percussion.

South Bay Strut is a saxophone-led tuneful instrumental, very much of its time, and One By One closes the album with an infectious, bassy slice of jazzy soul/funk that is one of my favourites on the album.

As I said earlier, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this album and it is an enjoyable listen, but, in comparison with the eight albums that came before, it is not quite as inspired. As a one-off album of late night eighties soul, it is perfectly acceptable.