Customer Reviews: The Very Best of The Doobie Brothers
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VINE VOICEon March 18, 2007
The Doobie Brothers started out life as a greasy California biker band and took their name after a fondness for getting high. That ethic led to big riff rockers like "China Grove" and "Long Train Runnin'," but was lacking in the eventual slick sophistication of Michael McDonald's urbane soul. The original 1976 "Best Of The Doobies" included songs up to "Taking It To The Street," which meant that the number one "What A Fool Believes" was after the cut off date. This time The Doobie Brothers recognize the debut album a year before "Toulouse Street" by including one song, the acoustically flavored "Nobody."

Once McDonald joined, the band entered a second era and began to move more towards urban soul and Steely Dan jazz. Tom Johnston split after "Living On The Faultline" over the Doobies' new direction with Jeff Baxter and McDonald, and the resulting "Minute By Minute" bore little resemblance to the mellow hippy-vibes of "Rocking Down The Highway."

What this CD does is successfully chronicle both Johnston's biker bar band and McDonald's more soul dominated period. When the Doobies broke up after "One Step Closer," it put the band on ice until a 1989 Doobie Brothers reunion that yielded "Cycles" and a hit in "The Doctor." The band soldiered on minus McDonald, which meant that Johnston and Patrick Simmons were able to regain the steering wheel and make bar-band riff-rock once more. (Even if - IMHO - "Cycles" was pedestrian and "Brotherhood" worse, but "Sibling Rivalry" is OK.)

For my money, this double CD rates a full star over the 1976 set by virtue of the extra songs post "Taking It To The Streets" and remastered sound. But then again, I totally lost interest in the band when they started churning out factory made classic rock like "The Doctor." You will also get a few essential songs dropped from both single disc sets, like "Eyes Of Silver" and "Another Park Another Sunday" (the original A-Side of "Black Water"), and the two-disc set recognizes once again that "South City Midnight Lady" is one of the band's best. Short of the Rhino box-set, this is a solid representation of the Doobies.
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on April 23, 2008
Beware if you choose to purchase this set. I did without realizing that some of the songs are completely chopped up, namely 'Jesus Is Just Alright.' It sounds nothing like the album version. If the individual albums are remastered, I will burn my own version of the cd with unedited album cuts replacing the butchered songs here. Pretty pathetic and unforgivable when two discs are used to compile the set. The remastering is ok, but there is still not enough low end on the older songs. The Doobie Brothers are like Chicago. You get a recycled greatest hits package every year. Again, beware.
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on July 26, 2007
With a two CD set, there should be no radio edits. In fact, the CD doesn't say so on the back cover. It's only after you start playing the CDs, or load them into I-tunes, that you find out. What a rip off!
There is simply no excuse for not including the full version of the songs listed. None!
This mars what could have been a fantastic collection over two CDs.
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on March 18, 2007
Without saying so, what this 2-CD set includes is every Billboard chart single the Doobie Brothers ever notched - something no other album (except their boxed set) can boast. That means that 'Very Best Of' collects songs like 'Eyes Of Silver' (#52, 1974), 'I Cheat The Hangman' (#60, 1975), and 'Wheels Of Fortune' (#87, 1976) that were never included on similar previous collections. It even picks up 'Wynken Blynken and Nod' (#76, 1981) from the Sesame Street LP 'In Harmony.' And, two key non-hits ('Rockin' Down The Highway' and 'South City Midnight Lady') get tossed in, plus some stuff from the group's latter day albums.

What you don't get are enough of the Doobies' great album tracks like 'Spirit' (1974) or 'Nothin' But A Heartache' (1977). For those, you'll need to upgrade to the boxed set - which nevertheless omits 'Without You,' a perennial favorite previously included on 'Best Of The Doobies' and 'Greatest Hits.' Go figure....
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on February 26, 2007
Are you one of those people who disconnected the turntable and threw out all of your old albums when you started collecting CD's? I bet you regret it now, don't you? After all, `new' music isn't exactly what you expected, and it's painfully expensive to replace all of your old albums with digitized versions. This is especially true when it comes to baby-boomer bands like the Doobie Brothers. Back then, I'd bet that you owned at least four or five of their albums and if you're like me, you never (re) bought a single one on compact disc. Granted, the music did sound a bit dated after a while, but every now and then you'd hear one of their hits on the radio and wish that you could drag out the old vinyl and give it a listen. If you did bother, you'd have to wade through twelve studio albums to find the tracks that interest you, or settle for either of two greatest hits packages, each of which told less than half of the band's story.

Problem solved. In one neat little 2-CD set, "The Best of the Doobie Brothers" compiles virtually all of their best tracks in one package. Best of all, it captures the near schizophrenic nature of the band as they veer from classic rock to blue-eyed soul and then back again. The early Doobie Brothers leaned heavily on the songwriting abilities of Tom Johnston. Hits like "Listen to the Music," "Long Train Runnin'," "China Grove" and "Another Park, Another Sunday" were all written by Johnston, and they represent some of the best pop music from the early seventies. Once Michael McDonald came aboard, though, the band's dynamic shifted dramatically toward west-coast soul, featuring mega-hits such as "What a Fool Believes," "Takin' It to the Streets" and "It Keeps You Runnin'." Throughout the set, permanent member Patrick Simmons provides the occasional gem and a change of pace with songs like "Black Water" and "South City Midnight Lady." All are included here, making this a one-size-fits-all collection for fans who want to hear the hits.

As this collection makes apparent, the Doobie Brothers were always meticulously produced, so hearing these songs without the snap-crackle-pop of old vinyl can be quite revealing. They may not have been the most consistent outfit, but they certainly did have their moments. Rather conveniently, all of those moments are featured on this collection. So you won't have to buy a new cartridge for your turntable after all, because "The Very Best of the Doobie Brothers" compiles all the Doobie Brothers music that you will ever need. B+ Tom Ryan
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on July 5, 2014
For a scruffy California band that went through internal squabbles and numerous shakedowns within its ranks, The Doobie Brothers have emerged like the great survivors they are. Their music spoke to the common man---case in point, the joyful, celebratory "Listen to the Music"---that made them radio-friendly and accessible. "Brothers" they truly are named, because it's more of a family than a band. They explored nearly every corner of musical genres, from soul to rock to R&B to gospel and so on.
Everything's here: From the early rock riffs of "China Grove", "Rockin' Down the Highway" and "Take Me in Your Arms" through the Michael McDonald phase ("Takin' It to the Streets", "It Keeps You Running", "What a Fool Believes") when they reached their zenith with the Grammy-winning "Minute by Minute" album to their break-up, and then a reformation of original members charting the slickly-produced songs "The Doctor" and "Need a Little Taste of Love", sounding better than ever in 1989.
My favorite? "Black Water" is such a beautifully done, sweet love song to New Orleans. But really, there's so much to like here that brings back memories!
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on July 16, 2014
Listening to these songs takes me right back to the summers of the 70's, when I was young and life was an adventure, and there was excitement, fun, and romance to be had. The very soundtrack of summer. Love love love Michael McDonald! "Taking It To The Streets", "Black Water", "Jesus Is Just Alright" - songs that will never die. I don't think every. single. Doobie Brothers. song is included here, but I find this CD is just what I've been craving. I will put the old-fashioned CD in the car CD player and cruise on down the highway, happy as a clam, and for a while relive the feelings of the good old days.
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Definitely one of the very Best genuine Rock Bands of the entire 1970's and into the Eighties (and still successfully touring to this Day!)
But seriously, the Doobie Brothers had an abundance of musical creativity and burning instrumental talent to spare (in terms of both first-rate songwriting ability and awesome live performance).

I recently picked-up this 'Very Best of.......' and was amazed at how vitally timeless many of these songs still seemed. The other very interesting facet is that the Doobie Brothers were almost like two top-notch groups in one, from two separate eras (or at least two distinct musical genres) = the first incarnation with lead vocalist (and songwriter) Tom Johnston (with superlative-assist by Patrick Simmons and John Hartman) initially produced the finest early 1970's mix of Rock-Soul-Country-Blues this side of the 'Allman Brothers Band' = songs that really 'rocked' but with performances & compositions that demonstrated truly 'inspired' and expert musicianship of the highest caliber.

Songs like "Listen to the Music" and "Long-Train Runnin" seem to perfectly capture that flowing and free-spirited time & place (which can almost be re-lived vicariously thru this Music!) And "China Grove" was always one of my favorite Rock songs = perfectly electrified rhythms & riffs befitting J. Hendrix himself (celebrating Asian 'rockers' in Texas no less!) And the underappreciated Song "Another Park, Another Sunday" with its perfect rhythms and melodicism with the interplay of ultra-flowing guitars being near miraculous! (they certainly don't write songs like this, anymore)

Then came the equally top-notch (but quite artistically distinct) Michael McDonald era (less straight-rock and much more Soul/blues, and even jazz oriented) = starting really strong with "Takin' it to the Streets" which was melodically & lyrically super-catchy (and expertly played/produced) the title song itself seeming like a shout-out from deep-within the inner-cities, railing against the insincere slick politicians promising the world but delivering very little (this song has renewed relevance these days, unfortunately). Other great songs from the McDonald era were of course "What A Fool Believes" (a nearly perfect song) and "Minute-by-Minute" "One Step Closer" et al.

This double-CD is a great deal, and the musical diversity and amazingly creative variety in song-styles and performances (but rock-solid consistency in highest-level musicianship) makes "The Very Best of the Doobie Brothers" live-up to its moniker ----> although also calling it the Very Best of the 1970's wouldn't be too far off the mark either! (DB were top-contenders for sure)
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on September 8, 2012
If you like the DB, you're doing yourself an injustice by purchasing a compilation, even a 2 disc compilation. Since I grew up with this band, its hard to realize that a lot of people haven't listened to most of their individual albums. Even some of the fans going back to the seventies only own the original Best of the DBs, which sold over 10 million copies. At the very least you should own a copy of The Captain & Me (a double platinum album), which is considered by many to be their masterpiece. This compilation only draws three songs from The Captain & Me, which is a travesty. Even though they had a ton of hits, the DB were not a singles band, they were an album band.

Remastered copies of their original albums were recently released at a very affordable price (I've been waiting for over 20 years for these re-masters). These remastered albums are double CDs with two albums in each package with nice informative booklets & some bonus tracks on each CD. You can actually get The Captain & Me and Vices together; I bought them all (8 albums) for less than $50 total including shipping. Five of those eight albums are platinum or multi-platinum sellers and two were gold albums. These albums have numerous tracks that are as good or better than the hits, so if you're just listening to the hits, you're really missing out on some of the best music that has ever been produced and you don't even know it. If you like the DB well enough to buy this compilation, think about digging deeper you won't be disappointed.
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on March 16, 2014
If you were alive in the 1970s, many of these song will be familiar, as they were played over and over on FM radio. And for good reason, because a lot of the Doobies Brother's big hits were really cracking good songs. The addition of Michael McDonald to the group dramatically changed their sound but not their popularity, and this is a good compilation of the two contrasting styles this group played in that decade. From the 80s onwards, the creative juices seemed to run dry for the Doobies, and the band effectively didn't last much into that decade. No matter, this "best of" album is worth whatever you pay for it.
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