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4.3 out of 5 stars
Cycles
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2003
It took the Doobies about a decade to shake off the stigma of Michael McDonald. With "Cycles" they came back with the kind of rock sound that long time fans had been yearning for. The singles, "The Doctor" and "South of the Border" are great and there are several other tracks which make you feel like the boys had never been away, just taking a long break. A worthy addition to any Doobies collection.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2003
The original lineup (well, the Toulouse St. lineup to be fair) of the Doobie Brothers finally got back to together to release an album in the summer of 1989. The result is, in my opinion, their best work. There is really no weakness throughout the album. The Doctor was the huge hit, of course, reaching #9 on the pop charts and #1 on the Rock charts. The followup single was no slackoff itself, as it reached #45 on the pop charts and #3! on the Rock chart. South of the Border also fared well on the rock charts. Musically however, this album flows together so neatly, and each song is so thoughtfully catchy that there are no songs to skip over. Time is Here and Gone is one of the most amazing songs you will ever here - it's message and it's music echo so very true. In fact, lyrically, this album is no doubt the most mature the band ever did. But the music is what makes the Doobs - roaring guitars, sweet acoustics, and their lush, trademark harmonies. This album shows the best of all worlds. So pop it in and be reminded that "Music is the doctor...of my soul".
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2001
I am a die-hard Doobie Brothers fan, and found this CD quite by accident. I'm so glad I did! This CD is absolutely the guys at their very best!! I listen to it several times a week during my commute to and from work. The music puts me in such a great frame of mind, I almost wish my commute was longer! "South of the Border" is my favorite track - wow, if THAT doesn't get your hormones working, someone has already plugged your plug!! My other favorite tracks are "Need a little taste of love", "Tonight I'm coming through (The Border)" and "Time is here and gone". I think baby-boomers will especially like this CD. As I listen to the music, I'm reminded of my life in the 70's, but it also makes you feel great about your life now. This CD was very difficult to find, but well, well worth the effort it took!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2004
The Doobie Brothers' 1989 album "Cycles" marked an official comeback for the group. For the first time since the 1982 "Farewell" Tour, the Doobie Brothers would be reunited and produce a new studio album. This comeback album would be minus two core members of the Doobies: Vocalist and Keyboardist Michael McDonald and drummer Keith Knudsen. However, this comeback would be significant because it would mark the return of guitarist and lead vocalist Tom Johnston. McDonald had originally been brought in to replace Johnston when Johnston was unable to tour. Eventually Johnston would leave the group and McDonald would become a regular. As most people know, the Doobies started out out as a Southern Style Rock band. The Doobie Brothers have always shown a great ability to integrate country, folk, blues, jazz, and even gospel style into their music (especially with the addition of McDonald which saw a trend more toward R&B and Jazz). With Johnston back and McDonald gone, "Cycles" continues this integration - although now with Johnston playing guitars with vocalist/guitarist Patrick Simmons, there are times when the old Southern Style guitars continue to surface. There are also times when the R&B style is in the forefront. Also, McDonald and Knudsen might not be musicians on the album - but there are still some pieces that were co-written by each of them included on this collection. "Cycles" wasn't a lame comeback by any means. The Doobies put together one solid comeback album.

The title of the album is called "Cycles". The name comes from the Doobies love of motorcycling - and in particular Patrick Simmons love of it. But perhaps the title talks about how the Doobies go the "full cycle" in their music. Songs such as "The Doctor" and "South of the Border" show that they still haven't abandoned their Rock and Roll roots. While other songs like "One Chain (Don't Make No Prison)" and "Take Me to the Highway" show they can still integrate R&B into their music.

The best song on the album is the opening song "The Doctor". This was the first and the most successful single released from "Cycles". This was a song that should have garnered some consideration for Record of the Year and it didn't. It is one of the best songs I've heard the Doobies do. The opening guitar and keyboard sequence is as good as I've heard in any song. This song was co-written by Tom Johnston and it shows that Johnston can still be a contributing force to the band. The other thing that I find amazing about this song is that it appears to be a semi-autobiographical song about the Doobies themselves. Lines such as "Music is the Doctor" and "When I'm out there on the Road - The Freedom I Need is the Freedom I Leave" really sum up the Doobies and their philosophy on life.

The second single released shows the Doobies can still tap into their R&B roots, but do things - Doobie Brothers style. This single "Need a Little Taste of Love" takes an Isley Brothers tune and the Doobies put a nice Southern Rock spin on it. The rendition comes off beautifully. Johnston and Simmons are on their "A" game on guitars. At times, the guitart chords of this song remind me of an older Doobie Brothers classic "Listen to the Music".

The third single from "Cycles" continues to showcase the Southern Rock flare - this song "South of the Border". While I think it's the collection's weakest track, I do like how the Doobies incorporate some R&B style background vocals - particularly as they sing "oooh South of the Border". It is the guitar work of Johnston and Simmons that will give this song an outstanding Rock and Roll edge.

One thing that is terrific about "Cycles" is that there are other songs that weren't released as singles that are outstanding. The second song "One Chain (Don't Make No Prison)". This song has much more of an R&B feel to it. Like in "South of the Border", the Rock edge isn't lost. In fact, some of the opening chords remind me a bit of Ted Nugent's "Catch Scratch Fever". The song "Tonight I'm Coming Through (The Border)" is a song co-written by Michael McDonald. This has much more of an R&B feel to it - including some saxaphone. I also think the McDonald-less Doobies pull the song off very well. However, the Doobies prove they don't need Michael McDonald to pen a good R&B style tune - the song "I Can Read Your Mind" has a solid R&B feel with some good guitar work. This might be one of the most underrated tracks on the collection.

R&B is not limited to what dimensions the Doobies can do. "Too High a Price" is the perfect song to close the album. This song showcases the Rock side - and in this song it slightly leans toward an "Arena Rock" sound. On "Take Me to the Highway", there is another great blend of fusion. The vocals start out almost Dan Fogelberg-like and then song moves toward a sound that almost reminds me a bit of the rock band Journey. "Wrong Number" is a Tom Johnston written song that has more of a Rock edge to it. Finally, "Time is Here and Gone" (the Keith Knudsen co-written song) is another song that has the Southern Rock style. Terrific harmonies with all of the vocalists really make this song something special.

This comeback album proves one thing - The Doobies were back. In the late 70s and into the early 80s, there weren't many bands out there that could produce a good fusion of music. Despite some band member changes and time passing, the Doobies still prove they can do this - and do it well. This album is highly recommended for the Doobie Brothers fan or the fan looking to explore the music of the Doobies.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2012
The All-Music Guide gives this album one star, even lower than the rating they give the much-maligned ONE STEP CLOSER. Why? OK, I know this isn't at the level of THE CAPTAIN AND ME, but nothing that follows it is either.

CYCLES is among what you could call "comeback" albums - i.e., releases by reunited members of previously broken-up bands. One difference is that the Doobies have stayed together (in one form or another) ever since. Another is that, unlike most such albums, CYCLES is actually pretty good. Sure, it has its minor weak spots ("Wrong Number," a predictably selective anti-drug song that wants to be tougher than it is, comes to mind), but most of its songs are average Doobies or better. "Need A Little Taste Of Love," in particular, could pass for a classic-era Doobies track.

The most interesting aspect of the album is the emergence of percussionist Bobby LaKind as a prolific (if highly collaborative) songwriter. He was responsible (with ex-Doobie Michael McDonald) for my favorite track on CYCLES, "Tonight I'm Coming Through (The Border)." (Note the unmistakable McDonald keyboard chords on the bridge - being played on guitar!)

There are many albums whose AMG ratings you can disregard. This one is high on the list.

P.S.: Don't bother with the remastered version with the bonus tracks unless you're prepared to either spend a lot of money or hunt hard for a bargain. If a seller happens to list it at a reasonable price, it's almost certainly actually the easy-to-find original version. Better to get the 10-track original cheaply, possibly hunt down the CD single of "The Doctor" that includes "Anything For Love," the first bonus track on the remaster, and not worry about the second bonus track (the cheesy remix of "Need A Little Taste of Love").
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2009
I loved this album when it came out and I still do. "Cycles" came out at a time when a lot of older band - "Little Feat" among them - were finding their footing again and people were realizing these bands still had some great music in them. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2007
Now, don't get me wrong, most Doobies purists will cite "Toulouse Street" or "What Were Once Vices" or "The Captain and Me" as THE essential offerings from these American music legends. "Cycles", the first Tom Johnston album since 1975's "Stampede". Johnston left in '76 for "health" reasons. It was later revealed that TJ may have had a substance abuse problem of sorts. He made a minor contribution to "Takin' It To The Streets", but was abruptly upstaged by former Steely Dan session-man Michael McDonald. McDonald's unusual baritone? made for a day-night takeover of the once southern propelled boogie of the Johnston era. Original Doobie Pat Simmons seemed quite isolated by the McDonald takeover. His impact was almost non existent during MM's reign. But what happened was a bit of music history. "Minute By Minute" made the Doobies millions of dollars and earned them album of the year and a few grammies in the process. But Doobie purists were appauled by the change in direction and the loss of one of rock's most recognizable voices in Tom Johnston.

Cycles restores all that was lost and does more. The band ends up making a seemless collection of well honed Doobie material with Johnston making an amazing comeback. "The Doctor" may be nothing more than a recycled "China Grove", but man that's some good recycling! And if the record company (Capitol) was hungry for a "single", they got a beauty. But this album is so much more. "One Chain" immediately refocuses the old fans on the legendary DB harmonies and the band-ly brotherhood that went south during the McDonald era. What's nice is whether its Simmons or Johnston, the philosophy is similar; acoustic guitars, layered electrics and a fierce backing vocal brigade. "Take The Highway" is a great example of this. But it continues on "South of The Border" and the Isley remake of "Need A Little Taste of Love". There's richness to this music that recalls the band's past while moving them forward. Rodney Mills does a nice job maintaining the Doobie sound while updating the production values all at the same time. Gone is rawness of their earlier work. The result is a lean to an R&B sound that works wonders with these mostly TJ compositions. I challange any Doobie fan to find a DB album that is this good from start to finish. The one that comes closest is 1991's "Dangerous". Another forgotten gem produced by Rodney Mills and featuring the biker anthem title track. Get these two in tandem and enjoy a great musical comeback by America's best band, according to me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2010
Let me preface this by saying I'm not fan of the Micheal McDonld era Doobie Brothers. The only Doobie Brothers albums worth having are those with Tom Johnston in the band. But those albums include 1970s classics like Toulouse Street, Captain and Me, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits and Stampede, all of which could be included in a list of the 1970s best albums and all which have stood the test of time.

If you liked those classic early 1970s Doobie Brothers albums with Tom Johnston fronting the band, you'll like this one. The early 1970s Doobie Brothers have returned and they're as great as they were back then.

This is an excellent album throughout.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2012
While this album was roundly panned by some of the so-called "music critics", I must disagree with them adamently on this one. I really liked this album, and it may well be one of the Doobie Brothers best efforts. I'm one of those fans who like the original Doobies sound (that is....pre-Michael McDonald), and that takes NOTHING away from Michael McDonald (he is a fantastic artist in his own right). This album just sounds like the Doobies efforts of the 1970's and Tom Johnston's lead vocals could not be any better. A fantasic, satisfying effort from arguably the best rock band of the 1970's. If you are a Doobie Bros. fan......you will love it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2000
If you enjoy the Doobie Brothers as much as I do, this CD is a MUST for your collection. CYCLES, in my opinion, is placed in the same category as "The Capitan and Me" and "What Were Vices . . " It's songs are upbeat as well as soul-searching with that familiar voice of Tom Johnson. It is one that I listen to over and over because ALL the songs are good, not just a few. I already had CYCLES on cassette when it first came out, but from so much use it is getting very worn/damaged. I am ordering it on CD just to ensure I have this in my collection. Try it - I don't think you will be disappointed.
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