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"...No More Loneliness...No More Emptiness...."
on 13 October 2011
UK released Monday 26 September 2011 as a 2CD set (4 Oct 2011 in the USA) - Edsel EDSD 2107 breaks down as follows...
Disc 1 (35:12 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 7th studio album "Livin' On The Fault Line" (and 2nd with Michael McDonald in the line-up). It was released September 1977 on Warner Brothers K 56383 in the UK - Warner Brothers BS 3045 in the USA
Disc 2 (45:52 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 8th studio album "Minute By Minute" - a Number 1 record in the USA and a Grammy Winner in several categories. It was released December 1978 on Warner Brothers K 56486 in the UK - Warner Brothers BS 3193 in the USA
Tracks 11 and 12 are bonus tracks - "Here To Love You" (Single Remix) and "What A Fool Believes" (12" Remix)
The booklet is a great deal more substantial than what's gone before - 24-pages of original album artwork (including inner sleeves), UK and European labels pictured, the lyrics, musician credits and an informative 6-page history by ALAN ROBINSON on both albums and their impact. It's superbly done. But the really big news is the fabulous new SOUND...
I've had all of the 2006 Japanese Remasters (in 5" card repro sleeves) to have the music - but here the remaster by PHIL KINRADE at ALCHEMY in London is stunning and far better. The clarity is amazing. It helps of course that the original production on each album by Ted Templeman was so razor sharp in the first place (he's long been associated with the band and more famously with Van Halen).
Music - when the Doobies made their tentative steps into change with "Takin' It To The Streets" in 1976 - the old Tom Johnston riffage-crowd were appalled (some even riled against the new hybrid Soul/Rock sound with derogatory tee-shirts telling the band where to get off). But by the time the new line-up got to 1977 and their second album with Michael McDonald as lead vocalist (Johnston was gone by then) - the transition was complete and a different chapter truly begun.
While its Number 1 follow-up "Minute By Minute" always gets the lion's share of critical plaudits (and rightly so), I've always felt that "Livin' On The Fault Line" is a bit of a lost gem frankly - a genuinely classy Rock album with a Soulful heart. It also began the great complimentary template that made "Minute by Minute" such an satisfying listen 'overall' - Michael McDonald melodies sitting sweetly alongside Patrick Simmons and Tiran Porter songs with a bit of Keith Knudsen and Jeff Baxter thrown in for good measure too.
Once again produced by Ted Templeman and featuring string and horn arrangements by David Paich of TOTO, "Livin'..." opens with the gorgeous melody of "You're Made That Way" and follows it with a chipper "Echoes Of Love". The lovely "You Belong To Me" is one of 3 McDonald songs (this one co-written with Carly Simon) - "Nothin' But A Heartache" and the beautifully mellow "There's A Light" are the other two. The jazzy Patrick Simmons title track "Livin' On The Fault Line" features the Vibes of Steely Dan sessionman Victor Feldman in a very "Aja" kind-of-way and sounds incredible. The LP ends with an acoustic instrumental called "Larry The Logger Two-Step" in crystal clear audio.
Then comes the "Rumours" of 1978 - "Minute By Minute". Even now the opening Michael McDonald track "Here To Love You" sends chills up my arms - fantastically musical (lyrics above). The Grammy-winning "What A Fool Believes" (a co-write with Kenny Loggins) sounds huge and "Dependin' On You" is a brilliant hybrid of the old sound meeting the new. It's an album that still stands up and is an embarrassment of riches really. The 7" remix of "Here To Love You" (tagged on a bonus track) was originally on the "Long Train Runnin': 1970-2000" 4CD Box Set by Rhino in 1999 - while the 12" Remix of "What A Fool Believes" is a travesty best left alone.
There's no sign at this stage of 1980's "One Step Closer" (their last studio album before disbanding) or the 1983 live double "Farewell Tour" which had the exclusive "Olana" on it - maybe at a latter date.
So there you have it. Doobie Brothers fans have waited decades to see their band's back catalogue on Warner Brothers be given the right reissue treatment - and England's Edsel label (who have struck a licensing deal with WEA) has done them proud.
To sum up - great music, superb remaster, really good presentation and a dirt-cheap price. Buy the lot in confidence.
PS: there are 4 releases in this series to date (all with bonus tracks):
1. The Doobie Brothers (1971) / Toulouse Street (1972) on Edsel EDSD 2104
2. The Captain And Me (1973) / What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits (1974) on Edsel EDSD 2105
3. Stampede (1975) / Takin' It To The Streets (1976) on Edsel EDSD 2106
4. Livin' On The Fault Line (1977) / Minute By Minute (1978) on Edsel EDSD 2107
PPS: Edsel have also re-issued most of the Todd Rundgren catalogue is this series of 2011 2CD sets (also with bonus tracks and extended booklets). And on the strength of these excellent remasters - hopefully Edsel will be able to fill in massive untouched holes in the catalogues of giants like Little Feat, Ry Cooder, James Taylor, Rickie Lee Jones, Prince, Tom Waits etc. We live in hope with the credit card at the ready...