Two absolute Seventies nuggets on offer here - both albums sounding spiffing and raring to go. Here are the Abraham Lincoln hats, half-cut bridges and teams of wild horses...
UK released 31 August 2011 as a 2CD set (6 September 2011 in the USA) - Edsel EDSD 2105 (Barcode 740155210533) breaks down as follows...
Disc 1 (66:24 minutes):
1. Natural Thing
2. Long Train Runnin'
3. China Grove
4. Dark-Eyed Cajun Woman
5. Clear As The Driven Snow
6. Without You (Side 2)
7. South City Midnight Lady
8. Evil Woman
9. Busted Down Around O'Connelly Corners
11. The Captain And Me
Tracks 1 to 11 are their 3rd studio album "The Captain And Me" - released March 1973 on Warner Brothers K 46217 in the UK and Warner Brothers BS 2694 in the USA (reached number 7 on the US charts)
Tracks 12 to 14 are 3 remixes of "Long Train Runnin'" which was reissued November 1993 on a 12" single (W0217T) and CD single (W0217CD) in the UK to promote the Warners "Long Train Runnin' - Very Best Of" compilation of May 1993. It reached Number 7 on the UK singles chart. The three remixes are (Sure Is Pure Mix), (Full Guitar Mix) and (Done On A Shoestring Mix)
Disc 2 (44:45 minutes):
1. Song To See You Through
3. Pursuit on 53rd St.
4. Black water
5. Eyes Of Silver
6. Road Angel
7. You Just Can't Stop It [Side 2]
8. Tell Me What You Want (And I'll Give You What You Need)
9. Down In The Track
10. Another Park, Another Sunday
11. Daughters Of The Sea
12. Flying Cloud
Tracks 1 to 12 are their 4th studio album "What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits" - released March 1974 on Warner Brothers K 56026 in the UK and Warner Brothers BS 2750 in the USA (reached number 4 on the US charts)
The booklet is a great deal more substantial than what's gone before. The 24-pages feature original album artwork (including the inner gatefold sleeve of "Captain" and the poster that accompanied "Vices"), the lyrics (a first for both LPs), musician credits and an informative 6-page history by ALAN ROBINSON on both albums and their impact. It's superbly done. A small mistake is that "Captain" was originally on a 'Tan' Warner Brothers label in both countries - they've pictured the 'Burbank' label which is a mid-Seventies pressing ("Vices" was on Burbank originally). 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).
Bubbling under with "The Doobie Brothers" (1971) and "Toulouse Street" (1972) - the stunning "Captain And Me" changed everything for them - and is probably their most beloved album (outside of "Minute By Minute" from 1978) in their entire catalogue. It's one of those Seventies albums where it's 'all' good. Staples like "China Grove", "Long Train Runnin'", the lovely "South City Midnight Lady" and the riffage of "Without You" still raise a tear in the eye of any Doobie fan. But then there are the unsung gems - the almost Montrose rock of "Evil Woman", the chipper "Ukiah" and the brilliantly constructed Patrick Simmons masterpiece "Clear As The Driven Snow" that finishes Side 1 - fantastic stuff. The sound quality here is truly gorgeous too - the 48-second acoustic instrumental of "Busted Down Around O'Connelly Corners" on Side 2 will rattle around your speakers in an impressively clear audiophile manner.
After the sheer brilliance and song-assault of "Captain" - I recall that some perceived "Vices" as something of a disappointment. Personally I loved it to bits at the time - and more importantly, it absolutely deserves reappraisal now as one of the Doobie greats. A far funkier element crept into their songs - so very Little Feat in ways. To this day I play "You Just Can't Stop It" all the time. And you can hear why "Black Water" was a Number 1 single in the USA. "Daughters Of The Sea" is a cracker too as is the acoustic cleverness of "Spirit". "Another Park, Another Sunday" and "Tell Me What You Want" (lyrics above) are as lovely as anything they ever produced. Mightily impressive stuff really...and all of it sounding just spiffing.
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
on 22 December 2011
Im sure there are people that love all the Doobies output but you can split them into two distinct eras, the Tom Johnston era and the Michael McDonald era.
Johnston quit after the fifth album Stampede up to which point they had essentially been an extremely classey Rock band with the hard edged guitars of Johnston and the more folk influenced guitar stylings of Pat Simmons creating a style of music that should have appealed to any discerning rocker. Unfortunately after Johnston quit they seemed to have become a vehicle for the faux white boy soul stylings of McDonald during which time they became more widely known and it's this era that a lot of people remember them for, okay McDonald is a good singer but it's not what i want the Doobies for, gone were the guitars, in came the cheesy keyboard sound, losing the rock audience and confusing people who might have just heard What a fool believes or Minute by minute when i try telling them that the Doobies were a great rock band.
If you enjoy eclectic guitar inspired music i would recommend the first five Doobies albums and as usual Edsel have done a great job with these reissues even if they have printed the wrong era Warners labels in the booklets and at the moment Amazon are giving them away for just a fiver.The wheels came off in 1982 but seven years later they were back with Tom Johnston, rediscovering their 'rock mojo' and making two good albums 'Cycles' in 89 and 'Brotherhood' in 91 both just reissued by BGO as a great value twofer.
There is also a cd available that contains 46 minutes of pre - first album songs only one of which 'Bluejay' appears on the 'Long Train Running box set' [as a rare track] and that version is different to the one on this cd. Mine is on the Life time label and is called excitment it doesn't contain any information and carries a wrong era picture but it is also well worth a listen.
Edsel appear to be useing the rare tracks from the Long Train Running box set on these reissues.