The Doobie Brothers / Toulouse Street
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Digitally remastered and expanded two CD set containing a pair of albums from the California rockers: The Doobie Brothers (1971) and Toulouse Street (1972). The Doobie Brothers were one of the most commercially successful bands of the 1970s, charting albums and singles around the world, with songs that are radio staples to this day. With principal songwriters Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons, the band incorporated an amazing array of musical styles, from Rock to R&B, via Country and Folk. The 10 bonus tracks on Disc One of this package includes early versions of hits along with many songs that were never re-recorded. Toulouse Street includes the huge hit 'Listen to the Music', as well as Steve Rodway's hit extended remix from 1994. Edsel Records.
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Now much time has gone by and well...it is time for me to eat my words. This is not one of those droney messages by a snooty listener, FYI. At first, I loved these British remasters...sounded great on the car stereo and anywhere I could mess with the bass and treble knobs. I was overly excited that somebody finally remastered some Doobies albums. I thought the separation and crispness were so great...it was the best version I'd heard until now. Not so, unfortunately. If you listen to these new remasters on nicer equipment, such as my Woo 6 tube headphone amp, all the details and shortcomings of the sound become apparent. Yes, the detail is there, and the separation is there...but the bass and midbass bands seem to be sucked out of the sound. There is no visceral support from the bottom. So Michael McDonalds vocals no longer have the same weight as the original master, and the drums sound thin. The bass is perched somewhere in the low-mids to mid-bass area. There is no thump or heart to the sound now. Some audio nuts prefer the soundstage and crispness over all else...these folks will be fine with this remaster. Those who like a more full sound along with the detail will not find it here.
As for me, I'm going back to the Mobile Fidelity versions, which at least were recorded from the original tape and not a worn-out clone. And please, won't somebody remaster the Doobies albums and give them some guts?!
UK released 29 August 2011 (6 September 2011 in the USA) – "The Doobie Brothers/Toulouse Street" by THE DOOBIE BROTHERS on Edsel/Rhino EDSD 2104 (Barcode 740155210434) offers 2LPs onto 2CDs with Bonus Tracks and breaks down as follows...
Disc 1 (71:41 minutes):
2. Slippery St. Paul
3. Greenwood Creek
4. It Won't Be Right
5. Travelin' Man
6. Feelin' Down Farther [Side 2]
7. The Master
8. Growin' A Little Each Day
9. Beehive State
10. Closer Every Day
Tracks 1 to 11 are their debut studio album "The Doobie Brothers" - released April 1971 on Warner Brothers BS 1919 in the USA and on Warner Brothers K 46090 in the UK
12. Nobody (Single Remix) – US debut 7" single released April 1971 on Warner Brothers WB 7495
13. Daughters Of The Sea (Demo)
14. Armadillo Death Chant
15. Osbourne (Long Train Running)
16. Four Days Gone
18. Lovin' My Way Back Home
19. Pat's Song
21. Peace In The Valley
Tracks 12 to 21 first appeared on the 1999 4CD Rhino Box Set "Long Train Runnin': 1970-2000". Tracks 13 to 16 and 17 to 21 are studio outtakes from the first album recorded 9 July 1971 and 6 October 1971 respectively
Disc 2 (48:16 minutes):
1. Listen To The Music
2. Rockin' Down The Highway
4. Toulouse Street
5. Cotton Mouth
6. Don't Start Me Talkin' [Side 2]
7. Jesus Is Just Alright
8. White Sun
10. Snake Man
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 2nd studio album "Toulouse Street" - released July 1972 on Warner Brothers BS 2634 in the USA and Warner Brothers K 46183 in the UK (reached number 21 on the US album charts)
11. Listen To The Music (Single Remix) - US 7" Single released August 1972 on Warner Brothers WB 7619
12. Rockin’ Down The Highway (Single Remix) - US 7" single released December 1972 on Warner Brothers WB 7661 (B-side of "Jesus Is Just Alright")
13. Listen To The Music (Steve Rodway Extended Remix) - released April 1994 in the UK on Warner Brothers W0228T (12”) and W0228CD (CD single)
The booklet apes the others in this series (a great deal more substantial than what's gone before) - 24-pages feature original album artwork (including the inner gatefold sleeve of "Toulouse Street"), 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 both albums were originally on the 'Tan' Warner Brothers label in both countries - they've pictured the late Seventies cream label for "The Doobie Brothers" and the 'Burbank' label for "Toulouse Street" (which is a mid-Seventies). But aside from these niggles, 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. The first LP is a little hissy in places fro sure, but by the time you get to “Toulouse Street” Ted Templeman’s production values are amazing and fully realized in the transfer. His name has long been associated with the band (and later on with Van Halen).
Their debut album is a mixture of the ordinary and the inspired – a band launching itself – a group getting there. Their debut US 7" single "Nobody" is a great starting point for any career and set up their "Doobie' sound for the first half of the Seventies. The wonderfully slinky acoustics of "Slippery St. Paul" is another firm fan favourite. Their cover of Randy Newman's "Beehive State" hints at the Rock of the 1973 album masterpiece "The Captain And Me", but better is the two finishers by Patrick Simmons – "Closer Every Day" and "Chicago". The extras were all on the 4CD Rhino box of 1999 so if you couldn’t afford that – they are a clever addition here. "Daughters Of The Sea" finally surfaced on their 4th album "What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits" in 1974 while "Osborne" is an early version of their most famous song – "Long Train Runnin'" that would eventually turn on their 3rd album "The Captain And Me".
If their debut promised much then "Toulouse Street" delivered. It was rewarded with an album chart placing of 21 on the strength of two hugely commercial singles - "Listen To The Music" (lyrics above) and "Jesus Is Just Alright" (a 1966 gospel song written by Albert Reid Reynolds that was a minor single for The Byrds in 1969). These incredibly catchy songs charted at 11 and 35 respectively and established the Doobies as Adult Rock Radio staples. Their cover of the Seals and Crofts song "Cotton Mouth" is excellent while they just about pull off a version of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Don’t Start Me Talking". Better still is the lovely Jamaica shuffle of "Mamaloi" and the truly excellent "Toulouse Street" (both Patrick Simmons songs). The title track has graced many a 70’s Fest CD I’ve made. The acoustic blues feel of "Snake Man" finishes the album in style – and sounds incredible. The two 'Single Remixes' are helpful inclusions, but the truly awful 90's Remix of "Listen To The Music" may evoke murderous tendencies in even the most pacifistic of fans – a travesty best forgotten. The "Jesus Is Just Alright" 7" single was a shorter edit than the full album version – and that would have been a more appropriate last track.
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 – albums that deserves a second chance, superb remastering, genuine bonuses, tasteful presentation and all topped off with 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
10 original Doobie tunes from the 1st album that I've NEVER heard before, and most of them are really quite good, especially the demo version of Long Train Runnin' titled "Osbourne".
Otherwise much improved sound & dynamics that isn't a loud wall of sound, rather as smooth as the vinyl.
Awesome, really awesome and thank you Edsel Records!