Sunday, 30 December 2018

The Doobie Brothers - Takin' It To The Streets (1976)


  

Released March 1976

The Doobie Brothers changed direction with this album, leaving behind the Eagles-influenced, riffy country rock and developing a slicker, AOR, semi-funky sound. They bought in the instantly recognisable voice of Michael McDonald too, which would dominate "Doobie Brothers phase two".  Guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, of Steely Dan fame, brought in for the previous album, is still there too, and would be for several more albums.

TRACK LISTING

1. Wheels Of Fortune
2. Takin' It To The Streets
3. 8th Avenue Shuffle
4. Losin' End
5. Rio
6. For Someone Special
7. It Keeps You Runnin'
8. Turn It Loose
9. Carry Me Away                                  

"Wheels Of Fortune" is upbeat, funky and full of catchy guitar parts. It is quite infectious and appealing, with sublime horn breaks in places too and a great rubbery bass. The title track has a typical McDonald soulful vocal, something that completely changed the vibe of The Doobies' material. The track is rhythmic, with sumptuous percussion and a general soul groove to it. In many ways, this sort of material infuriated the freeway rock fans of albums like "The Captain And Me". "8th Avenue Shuffle" is a slightly latin-influenced Steely Dan-esque catchy number. "Losin' End" is a laid-back soully track, while "Rio" is full of percussive rhythm and samba-influenced jazzy sounds. This is an absolute sea change from their earlier albums.


"For Someone Special" is a soul classic worthy of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes but with some most evocative bluesy, jazzy stylings with more airs of Steely Dan or Al Stewart. The musicianship on this is excellent. This really is a quite impressive, adventurous album. "It Keeps You Runnin'" is a very Steely Dan influenced track, again it is packed full of polished soulful ambience. "Turn It Loose" is the one concession to past riffage with a guitar-driven country-ish rocker. It is the only number that brings to mind anything from the first five Doobies albums. "Carry Me Away" is a precursor to "What A Fool Believes", with a pounding piano backing and McDonald's unique voice soaring above the impressive instrumentation.

As with all The Doobie Brothers' albums, from whatever phase, there is considerable pleasure to be derived from this album. Good stuff. The sound quality is excellent too.

B

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